By: Rosa Mendoza
Since 1987, Women’s History Month has been observed annually in the United States. Each March, women’s contributions to society, history and culture are highlighted and celebrated –and rightfully so. Women have made immense contributions to our country, and our economic sector has certainly been a beneficiary of those contributions. That’s why this month, the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) is proud to applaud and highlight the contributions of Hispanic women, the Latina entrepreneurs who continuously contribute to the economic well-being of our families, communities and nation.
As one of the fastest-growing groups of small business owners, Latina entrepreneurship is growing at a rate six times the national average. Latinas’ impact on Latino-owned firms has resulted in at least 36% ownership, 20% of employment and 16% contribution to the revenue generated in these business ventures.
One example is Nina G. Vaca. Wise entrepreneurs like Vaca play an important role in our society. Vaca is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Technical Resources, Inc., an information technology services provider to Fortune 500 companies. Under Vaca’s management, the company has experienced unprecedented growth, bringing in revenues close to $600 million. Vaca is a key contributor to the strength of the American economy.
While HTTP proudly celebrates the successes and contributions of Latinas like Vaca, the flip side is that Latinas continue to be at a disadvantage in business participation. Factors such as lack of access to capital, inadequate financial literacy training, and barriers to business grants and loans can make the goal of owning a business difficult to obtain for Latinas. In the tech sector, Latinas are completely overlooked; they continue to be underrepresented in positions of power, in the boardrooms and in the overall work force. In addition, like all women, Latinas are the most vulnerable segment of the population as it relates to the gender wage gap.
Latina-owned businesses create jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to the prosperity of America’s economy. The diversity of perspective can generate better ideas and contribute to the success of any company, and thus it is crucial to provide Latinas, and all women, with the opportunities they have earned and deserve. As we wrap up Women’s History Month, let us always remember, not just in March, that as goes the success of our women entrepreneurs, so too goes the success of America.