On Monday, July 31, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined officials from the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (MHCC) along with funders and state and local officials to officially kick off the Chamber’s new Adelante MI initiative. The kick off was held at the recently opened Rancho Alegre Mexican Restaurant located at 1436 Fort St. in Lincoln Park. Restaurant owner Adriana Vazquez Lopez enthusiastically greeted the Chamber’s guests and catered the afternoon event.
The new program, funded by a $100,000 grant from the New Economy Initiative, is designed to provide technical support services to help Hispanic-owned small businesses in Lincoln Park, MI. According to MHCC Executive Director Mark Moreno, additional funding will be sought to expand the program to other communities across Michigan with significant Hispanic populations.
Adelante MI will deliver services to close the entrepreneurial gaps, focuses on direct outreach to communities where English is a second language, and target specific sectors of the underrepresented Hispano/Latino entrepreneurial community. It provides the same access and opportunity to education, networks, technical assistance training, capital, and entrepreneurial skills/competencies resources as other non-Latino communities.
The importance of this initiative at this time cannot be understated. Moreno highlighted the significant role that Hispanic entrepreneurs are playing in the U.S. economy. “Latinos create businesses three times faster than any other group in the United States,” he reported. “And Latinas create businesses six times faster than any other group in the United States! Latinos start more businesses per capita than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States,” Moreno concluded.
Gov. Whitmer emphasized the importance of the Hispanic business community in our state. “In Michigan, the Hispanic population has been growing steadily. Between 2010 and 2020, the Hispanic population in Michigan increased by 18 percent, outpacing the overall population growth rate of 2 percent.” The governor continued, “While the total Michigan Hispanic population is just 6 percent, this growing demographic is contributing significantly to the state’s economy and is reshaping the cultural landscape.”
Finally, Moreno stressed that in the past, Hispanic self-employment has lagged behind Michigan non-Hispanic and U.S. Hispanic, however he noted, “The growth rate over the past five years … of Hispanic self-employment in Michigan is 43 percent vs. Michigan non-Hispanic at 8 percent and U.S. Hispanic at 6 percent. This growth is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and resilience of the Hispanic community.”
For more information about the MHCC’s Adelante MI initiative, contact Laura Geftos at Lgeftos@mhcc.org