Highlighting COVID’s Impact on Hispanic Entrepreneurs

Portrait shot of store business owner putting a temporarily closed sign at entrance door, during Covid 19 pandemic Kanawa_Studio/E+/Getty Images

COVID took a wrecking ball to a big part of the Houston economy: Hispanic entrepreneurs. With street after street of boarded up business and “for lease” sign, the pandemic reminded the city just how much its economy is tied to Hispanic businesses. Hispanics make up 38% of small business owners in Houston. These numerous businesses employ thousands of people. And they’re still dazed from the blow of the pandemic.

Front view of an abandoned store with boarded windows and fence to keep trespassers out. Dansin/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

A study by the Hobby School of Public Affairs, in collaboration with the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, assessed how Hispanic entrepreneurs have fared during the pandemic.

The study reflected that over half of all Hispanic business suffered sales losses during the height of the pandemic. Over one-third of respondents reported that their businesses had furloughed or laid off more than 80% of their workforce.

"The spread of COVID-19, the local, state and federal governments’ mandates and guidelines to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic, and individuals’ responses to the pandemic have had a negative impact on economic activity in the Houston area," said Pablo Pinto, one of the principal investigators of the study.

"Hispanics are the largest ethnic group in the region, making up almost 44% of the Harris County population. Small and medium-sized businesses were particularly hit by the ensuing economic downturn. About 38% of small business owners in the metropolitan area are Hispanic," he continued.

The research performed in this study can help Houston city officials make important decisions as to what economic path they should embark on.

"Documenting the COVID-19 experience among Hispanic entrepreneurs provides relevant information about the needs of small business in Houston and helps inform the efforts by business associations, like the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce who partnered with the Hobby School in this study, local and state governments to address important public policy problems faced by our community," Pinto expressed when asked about how the research helps the city.

Category: Local Economy

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