Hispanic Heritage Month Highlights the Contributions of Hispanic Americans to the U.S. Economy and Beyond
There are more than 60 million Hispanics in the U.S. today. In addition to increasing the country’s cultural diversity, this community is also very entrepreneurial and contributes significantly to the U.S. economy. According to a study by Oxford Economics and the International Franchise Association (IFA), Hispanic-owned franchise businesses generate 1.6 times more sales and employ 1.5 times more people per location than their independent counterparts. Through franchising, Hispanic business owners can create intergenerational wealth and improve communities.
The contributions of Hispanic Americans are celebrated every Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 during Hispanic Heritage Month. What is the history of Hispanic Heritage Month, and when did it begin?
What is Hispanic Heritage Month?
Hispanic Heritage Month dates back to June 1968 when it was introduced by California Congressman George Brown. He introduced it to increase awareness of multicultural identities and the contributions of the Hispanic community, which gained momentum during the 1960s.
According to History.com, on Sept. 17, 1968, Congress passed Public Law 90-48, which requested and authorized President Lyndon Johnson to recognize September 15 and 16 as the start to National Hispanic Heritage Week. The president issued the first-ever Hispanic Heritage Week proclamation that same day. Hispanic Heritage Month was enacted into U.S. federal law on Aug. 17, 1988.
With the recognition of the contributions of the Hispanic community, they’ve seen more representation in the culture and business world. But how do Hispanics fare in franchising, and what is being done to increase Hispanic franchise ownership?
Hispanics and Franchising
To increase diversity in franchising and bring Hispanic perspectives to franchisors and franchise owners, the IFA and IFA Foundation formed the Hispanic Latino Franchise Leadership Council. This council serves as a vehicle for Hispanics to network within the franchising industry and is a component in the IFA Foundation’s Diversity Institute.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also celebrates and recognizes the contributions that Hispanic entrepreneurs have made to the economy. According to the Joint Economic Committee Hispanic Entrepreneurship and Business Brief, nearly a quarter of new businesses are Hispanic-owned. Additionally, these businesses contribute over $800 billion to the U.S. economy. An example of a Hispanic franchisor is ATAX, a full-service tax preparation and business services brand. The franchisor services customers in English and Spanish.
How Franchisors and Franchisees can Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
Both franchisors and franchisees can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by holding events, spotlighting employees and more. Here are five ways to participate in this national holiday.
1. Spotlight Hispanic Employees
One way both franchisors and franchisees can celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month is by spotlighting employees in their organization. A great way to do this is through social media. By highlighting these employees on social media, they could feel more connected to the company.
2. Host Webinars
Franchisors can also provide diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) updates to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. If your brand is working on DEI initiatives specifically for the Hispanic community, be sure to host a webinar to discuss those programs. For example, the IFA’s Franchising Pride Council hosted a webinar for the LGBTQIA+ community, and the SBA and Public Private Strategies Institute did the same for Native Americans. When franchisors show that they are serious about diversity, employees and prospective candidates will flock to the business.
3. Celebrate Hispanic Culture
According to Nielson data, more than 70% of Hispanics polled expressed the importance of their children continuing their traditions and that their ethnicity is an important aspect of who they are. A way that franchisees can reach out to the community is to market in Spanish since many Hispanics speak the language at home and have an affinity for it. If your franchise isn’t offering Spanish content at the moment, it could be beneficial to do so in the future. Franchisees can also have a promotion and educate employees about Hispanic Heritage Month. With more than $2 trillion in buying power, this is an important community for your business.
4. Highlight Creators in the Industry
Despite their growing population, there are industries where Hispanics are still underrepresented. As more and more companies become transparent about the diversity in their workforce, franchisors can spotlight Hispanic influencers and creators in their industry to increase representation through social media posts and ad campaigns.
5. Donate to Hispanic Organizations
In addition to running a successful business, franchisors and franchisees can also give back to the community by donating to nonprofit organizations. Hispanic organizations to consider include the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, which supports and connects Hispanic leaders and the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, which provides health services.