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Capturing the American Dream: Central Texas Haven for Latino Business Owners

By Moses Leos III
Published by Haysfreepress

Frank Reyes, owner of Meteor Creation, applies the new Buda Area Chamber of Commerce logo, which he created, on the front window of the chamber’s location on Main Street. (courtesy photo)

Frank Reyes, owner of Meteor Creation, applies the new Buda Area Chamber of Commerce logo, which he created, on the front window of the chamber’s location on Main Street. (courtesy photo)

What started as a desire to design his own clothing roughly 15 years ago branched off into a full-fledged business venture for current Kyle resident Frank Reyes.

Helping design logos for friends led Reyes to start up his digital artwork and apparel printing company, Meteor Creation, out of his own home in 2013.

For Reyes, who is one of many Latino entrepreneurs in the country, the Buda and Kyle market is an attractive area for minorities.

“One of the things I’ve noticed about Buda and Kyle, is everyone is treated equally,” Reyes said. “If you have a good product and price, that’s all that matters.”

According to a study conducted by WalletHub.com, San Antonio and Austin were ranked in the top 50 of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs.

According to a report by the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Central Texas area will have over 51,000 Hispanic-owned businesses by 2020.

In addition, more than 48,000 people were employed in 2013 by a Hispanic-owned business, with the numbers projected to grow to 127,000 in 2020.

Buda Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director J.R. Gonzales said Central Texas is an “optimal” location for Hispanic-owned businesses. He said Hays County, one of the fastest growing counties in the country, is a fast growing market for all business owners to thrive in.

In addition, he said Latino women-owned businesses have grown three times faster across the country.
Gonzales said one reason for the growing trend is that Latino women and other minorities have “hit the glass ceiling in other businesses.”

“They have the talent and the skills sets, but many are starting their own businesses,” Gonzales said. According to Reyes, the Buda and Kyle markets are welcoming, and that “everyone is interested.”

In addition, working with groups such as the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC), along with the BACC and the Kyle Chamber of Commerce has helped him and others along.

But there are challenges Latino business owners face when starting up a business. Gonzales said potential challenges for Latino business owners include accessing capital to start a business, along with having a good business plan.

In addition, Gonzales said some entrepreneurs who may have certain skill sets may not be ready to take on the rigors of starting and managing a business.

“When some people start a business, they know the product and service aspect, they can go out and do it well,” Gonzales said. “But once you hire employees and start on bookkeeping, it adds a whole new skill set. There’s a lot of difficulty in keeping a business open and staying open.”

Rebeca Ojeda, owner of Salon One Twelve in Buda, works on a customer’s hair in her salon on Main Street. According to a study by the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Central Texas area will have over 51,000 Hispanic-owned businesses.

Rebeca Ojeda, owner of Salon One Twelve in Buda, works on a customer’s hair in her salon on Main Street. According to a study by the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Central Texas area will have over 51,000 Hispanic-owned businesses.

Gonzales said the Buda Chamber helps all perspective business owners by providing workshops on adding certain skill sets, such as using social media. In addition, the chamber also helps connect business owners with the Small Business Administration for assistance.

According to Gonzales, the growth of Latino business owners in the U.S. is “inevitable.” He said growing population numbers drive that focus.

In addition, he said Hispanics are “very entrepreneurial” and can run a successful business. In addition, he said Latinos are branching into a diverse array of industries, from information technology to motivational speakers and attorneys.

“With a growing population and higher level of education and entrepreneurship, Hispanics are being integrated into every facet of business,” Gonzales said.

Reyes said he’s witnessed the growth of Latino business owners. Reyes estimated 7 out of 10 people he works with for new company logos are Latino.

The drive to “make it” also spurs Latino entrepreneurs, Reyes said.

“There’s a very strong desire and drive to do something better, to capture a piece of the American Dream,” Reyes said. “To have the house, to have the boat. There’s a desire to be a part of the American Dream.”

Did you know….

  • Hispanic-owned businesses could top 51,000 in number and contribute over $12.8 billion in revenues to the Central Texas economy by 2020.
  • According to the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC) study, over 48,000 people were employed in 2013 by Hispanic-owned businesses in the area, and those numbers are projected to grow to over 127,000 in 2020
  • Latino businesses are small in size, employing about 4 people per business. A little under half (47 percent) generated between $100,000 and $499,000, and about 42 percent make $100,000 or less
  • Total employment by Hispanic-owned businesses in Central Texas is projected to grow from 48,793 in 2013 to 127,500 in 2020.
  • 65% of Hispanic businesses surveyed reported having an undergraduate degree or higher.