Aspiring Hispanic Entrepreneurs Find Opportunity

The face of the nation is changing. The Census Bureau announced last week that Hispanics have surpassed blacks as the largest minority group. And in about 30 years, Hispanics will be the majority in Ttexas.

Many cities are now looking forward-- helping out Hispanics today who want to build successful businesses for tomorrow.

"I see more and more hispanic people every day." says Maricela Aguilera.  They come right into her store, Gonzalez' Grocery on Vine Street in Tyler.  "And you know we have to spend our money."

It's a modest store, and it's been her life for eight years. Life was tough in the beginning.

"I was like having some really hard times moneywise." That is, until 1997, when she qualified for a small business loan. She asked, and she received.

"Oh it was very important because if it were not [for the Tyler Chamber of Commerce], I would not be here right now. They showed me a lot of ways I could turn this little bitty convenience store around," she says.

The loan served up a kitchen and a new air conditioner.

As business continues to improve, the Tyler Chamber of Commerce has many other aspiring entrepreneurs, and they're helping as many as they can.

"A lot of people start out, they don't have the capital," says the Chamber's Tom Mullins.  "They may be buying a business that hasn't been doing well."

Mullins sees more and more people in the Hispanic community who want the American Dream. Maricela says it's possible for everyone, but most will need a little help.

"If you're going to open your own business, do not try it alone."

For more on the Chamber's iniatives for growing Hispanic business, click on the "Hispanic Business Center" link above.