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Challenges that Hispanic Women Face When Starting Up, and How to Overcome Them
by Conchie Fernández
May 24, 2022
young hispanic woman standing in front of food truck with a tray of tacos

Advice for Hispanic, Women-Owned Businesses

At the height of the pandemic, Hispanic women-owned businesses experienced closures twice as much as those that are Hispanic men-owned, at a rate of 30% vs. 16%. Labor shortages and restrictions affected the major industries for Hispanic entrepreneurship – restaurants, food service, and hospitality. Women are leaving the workplace and starting businesses at an exponential rate due to life changes, out-of-date workplace policies, and passion projects among other reasons. While dozens of headlines discuss the alarming rate Hispanic women are leaving the workforce, SCORE sees this as a rising opportunity for startups.

Nationwide and globally, traditionally hourly employers are shifting to contingency workers and consolidating roles. Almost 60% of companies in construction, retail and wholesale trade, utilities, services, transportation, and communications will rely on contingent labor this year. One way to combat workplace changes is to consider becoming an independent contractor or supplier to your former employer. And secondly, consider how your service or product translates into a startup for top-trending industries. 

Whether you’re starting a larger company that services other businesses (B2B) or you’re a solopreneur who provides services directly to consumers (B2C), as a woman business owner you may also want to look at underserved industries and trades.  These underserved industries like trucking, waste management, and home repairs need an injection of labor and service provision– which few women consider. Thinking creatively, you could fulfill labor opportunities by taking on the work yourself as an independent contractor, by starting a staffing company and outsourcing the work, or hiring the labor and taking on the projects as a direct provider.

Differentiation is also critical for startups, especially those that are Hispanic women-owned. Becoming certified woman- or Hispanic-owned are key differentiators when you compete for a bid or project. Professional certifications can be especially important when going into high-demand new trades or industries that aren’t typically served by women, such as environmental health and safety, construction, or mechanical engineering.  Certification adds a level of visibility and trust in your service.

As you start up or scale, what things can you do to better showcase your Hispanic woman-owned company and get more business?

Many government agencies and corporations have budgets and projects exclusively earmarked for certified women-owned companies. In fact, the U.S. government is one of the nation’s largest buyers of goods and services. In June, President Biden directed federal agencies to increase contracting spending on small, disadvantaged businesses by 50% over the next five years. To capitalize on this shift, it’s important that you have the documents and structure you need to service them.  Did you know that SCORE’s volunteer business mentors can help you identify your NAICS or service category codes, and register your company on, two of the basic steps you need to sell to the government?

SCORE mentors can also help you plan and build out your business structure and your go-to-market strategies so you can tackle larger clients and grow as a supplier for government and private sector organizations.  What’s best, SCORE has amazing Spanish-speaking mentors like Lorraine Wardy and Zoila Sanguinetti who as former business owners and leaders know, firsthand, the challenges that other Hispanic women face as they run their businesses. They overcame these challenges and turned around to pay it forward to the next entrepreneur: You. 

As a Hispanic woman business owner, you’re already part of a leading entrepreneurial generation. It’s time to streamline, scale, grow and claim a larger part of a growing economy, with SCORE.

About the author
Conchie Fernandez Headshot
Conchie Fernández
Conchie Fernández is the founder of CF Creative, a business development, communications and tech enablement consulting firm based in South Florida that helps small and minority-owned companies to scale and expand their service footprints in public and private sector supply chains
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