Small Business

#SolutionsHUB Spotlight: How El Paso Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce Is Ensuring Capital Readiness For Rural Hispanic Entrepreneurs


The EPHCC is the pre-eminent resource for business and the leading advocate in supporting the growth of the El Paso Border Metroplex. Its Capital Navigators Pilot Program is making it possible for Hispanic and immigrant rural entrepreneurs to get access to capital resources to grow via the development of culturally sensitive technical assistance; technology-driven, grassroots outreach efforts to business owners; and strong partnerships with federal government agencies.

Latino-owned businesses (LOBs) are the fastest growing segment of the US business population and, with continued efforts of capital infusion, are becoming a major economic engine for many communities. Between 2007 and 2019, for example, the number of LOBs grew by 34% while White-owned businesses (WOBs) experienced a 7% drop. In this same time period, the combined annual payroll of LOBs grew over twice as fast as that of WOBs. More recently, the percentage of LOBs reporting business-to-business sales almost doubled from 20% in 2020 to 38% in 2022.

To maintain the rate of growth for LOBs, access to financing is critical. One NCRC member organization that is championing access to capital models that make it easier for businesses to find and acquire growth capital is the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (EPHCC).

Financing “Hub and Spoke” Capital Navigation Models in Rural Markets

Guided by its core pillars of data, engagement and relationship building, EPHCC serves as the pre-eminent resource for business and the leading advocate in supporting the growth of the El Paso Border Metroplex. The organization helps to address capital and education challenges for Latino and Latino-immigrant entrepreneurs who experience the greatest disparities in wealth and therefore are among the communities who can least afford to be hindered from the promise of wealth-building through entrepreneurship.

Central to EPHCC’s service offerings is its Capital Navigation PIlot Program (CNPP) which deploys a “hub and spoke” model to connect businesses to the capital resources they need to thrive. EPHCC serves as one of the five “spokes” tied to the United States Hispanic Chamber (USHC) “hub,” thereby benefiting from a $5 million investment awarded by USHC. Hub-and-spoke networks combine the business development expertise of the central hub organization with the community credibility of the partner spoke organizations to better connect business owners in targeted communities with critical services and assistance programs.

Building Culturally Sensitive Capital Readiness Programs

With limited and often under-resourced rural infrastructure to respond to the needs of Latino entrepreneurs, EPHCC’s CNPP is making it possible to build off existing work. EPHCC seek in particular to develop culturally-sensitive technical assistance and outreach offerings to entrepreneurs in the region, and to use technology to expand and refine their outreach methods.

The Hispanic Chamber serves a community of entrepreneurs with limited knowledge and understanding of resources available to them. EPHCC helps to mitigate these barriers through its Entrepreneur Resource Hub and a dynamic “boots on the ground” grassroots engagement strategy to understand the issues of entrepreneurs and connect them with the right resources. Their engagement strategy is staffed by bilingual advisors who engage in door knocking and community outreach efforts outside of its main and satellite office. It is also able to provide a suite of services and resources supporting these entrepreneurs with a host of small business development specialists on staff, an inhouse service unique to the Chamber of Commerce model.

To accommodate businesses challenged in navigating the pandemic, the Hispanic Chamber has brokered partnerships with local and regional technology companies such as AT&T to extend outreach technology services to businesses in deep rural areas of the region. These partnerships are providing necessary technology training and products to businesses as they navigate e-commerce. The Hispanic Chamber hopes to also utilize their headquarters location as a digital training hub, easily accessible to Latino entrepreneurs seeking flexibility in business education.

Achieving Greater Impact

EPHCC’s Navigator Pilot Program has supported 2,058 businesses in capital readiness, grant and business development education, reporting more than 12,406 counseling hours in the past 2 years. It has provided training to almost 8,000 small, minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses. The Navigator staff has helped businesses submit more than $78 million in total financing requests.

Since 2003, the Hispanic Chamber has engaged and served 82,818 clients with business advisory and education and training services. It has helped connect clients to more than $1.8 billion in financing and more than $3.4 billion in contracting opportunities. It has served 42,210 start-up businesses which have created or retained more than 130,900 jobs in their community through direct technical assistance.

Visit www.ephcc.org for more information about their capital readiness programs.

Photo: ©Vittaya_25– stock.adobe.com

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