Board of ContributorsOur state currently enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the country. This standard exists due to our long-term economic growth, which creates jobs and provides new opportunities for residents. The engine of this economic growth has been, and will continue to be, entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs create the companies that enable us to enjoy a high standard of living, and we must ensure that New Jersey becomes the location of choice for current and future entrepreneurs.
To make this happen, we need to answer two questions: Who comprises the entrepreneurial community, and what must we do to attract them to New Jersey?
Entrepreneurs are a diverse group and donÂt conform to a single profile. They vary based on education, life experience, motivation and goals. Among the largest and fastest-growing entrepreneurial groups are Hispanics. They are launching new businesses at more than twice the rate of the overall population and will soon control more than 2 million businesses across the country.
Why do Hispanics demonstrate a high rate of entrepreneurship as compared with other groups? There are several key reasons:
Heritage Entrepreneurship is second nature to many Hispanics due to their experience in Latin America, where economic opportunities are very limited apart from entrepreneurship.
Practical reality Hispanics raised and educated outside the U.S. may find that assimilating into corporate culture here is very challenging. Launching a new company is an effective way to achieve economic independence while avoiding the real and perceived barriers to joining large companies.
Risk tolerance Over 40% of Hispanics in the U.S. were born outside the country and emigrated here. Leaving your native land in search of opportunities abroad prepares one for taking risks. In relative terms, starting a business is far less risky then adopting a new country.
With an understanding of who the entrepreneurs are and what motivates them, all members of the New Jersey community can help attract them to the state. Large, established businesses can give new and small businesses the chance to serve as suppliers. Providing managers with incentives to procure from small businesses is an excellent way to start. Consumers can make an effort to try the goods and services of local entrepreneurs. The financial community can develop products that target startup ventures and small businesses.
Hispanics regard gaining access to capital as one of the main hurdles to starting a new venture in New Jersey. State and local governments can help by reducing the financial barriers to entry. Key steps include streamlining paperwork, clarifying regulatory requirements and providing tax incentives.
Hispanic entrepreneurs will start businesses in the communities that provide the most attractive package of incentives and opportunities. LetÂs make New Jersey the community of choice for entrepreneurs so we can continue to reap the economic benefits of their presence.
Daniel H. Jara is president and CEO of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.