How Hispanic Small Businesses Support Social Change Through Commerce

How Hispanic Small Businesses Support Social Change Through Commerce

by Patricia Guadalupe, December 2019

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Hispanic-owned small businesses are supporting social change and improving their communities while building their businesses at the same time.

How Hispanic Small Businesses Support Social Change through Commerce

Here's a look at how you can use the power of commerce as a small business owner to create positive social change in your community and beyond. You'll find out that doing what you love and being aware of how that can help the community is also good for your business.

Make It Your Mission Statement

Ingrid and Catherine Pino Durán, the same-sex couple who co-founded the consulting firm D&P Strategies in Washington, D.C., made "Consulting with a social conscience" their mission statement.

They believe businesses have the power of changing "hearts and minds," and their business has had a positive effect on the community. "People said we were crazy to come out as a couple and start the business, but we've seen the positive results of engaging in good business practices," says Ingrid Pino Durán. Both partners are also deeply engaged in philanthropic activities and volunteerism, as are the rest of the members of the firm, which is true for most socially conscious companies.

Understand Why It's Good for Business

Juan Pablo Sagastume, founder of a chain of waterless car washes in Florida called Green Shine, believes in the old adage that says that you'll never work a day in your life if you do what you love. His own eco-friendly business has grown to several locations in the United States and overseas, including Dubai, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, and he plans to continue expanding to states where water is particularly scarce, such as Arizona and Southern California.

Sagastume has focused on doing what he loves, and this, in turn, has proven to be good for business. Socially conscious companies such as Green Shine are successful because, these days, consumers flock to businesses that can create positive changes in the community. "To put it simply—it just makes good business sense," says Jesús Linares, chairman of the New York-based National Hispanic Business Group (NHBG), which consists of Latino entrepreneurs who advocate for community empowerment and positive social change while pursuing business opportunities.

It's possible to do both, and do both successfully, says Linares. "Your business is in the community, and you are surrounded by diversity and inclusion." Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States are on track to surpass the number of non-Hispanic businesses—growing 43 percent since 2007—so it makes sense to support them, adds Linares. "You spread the wealth and give people opportunities. It opens a lot of doors for you and for the community. It's about camaraderie and sharing."

Pay It Forward

"An average car wash uses 50 gallons of water per car, so imagine all the water you use over time. I love cars, and I also love the environment," says Sagastume, who wanted to make a positive impact ever since he started out. He adds that people were skeptical of waterless car washes at first, but once they see the result, they can also feel good about what they're doing to help the environment.

One key component of socially conscious companies such as Sagastume's is "going above and beyond." Portions of his company's earnings go to help fund education programs and new school buildings in Guatemala. "And one of my goals for 2020 is to help communities around the world [so they can] have access to clean drinking water."

This concept of "paying it forward" is also true for NHBG, which awards college scholarships to Latino and Latina students in the New York City metropolitan area every year. "We exist to give opportunities," says Linares.