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Latino businesses face a big digital gap, a new partnership aims to close it

Start-up program Brooklyn2Bogota helps Latinos become tech-savvy and draw more local customers.

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Digital literacy is, in itself, a skill that requires cultivation and adaptability to survive in an ever-changing society. For Latinos in America, this skill can range from mastery to no experience at all.

Aside from online job applications and Zoom interviews, digital skills in marketing and entrepreneurship can lead to a business’s success or failure in 2021. 

In 2019, Latino Americans made up more than 28 million people in the workforce, according to a study conducted by Unidos US. But among ethnic groups, Hispanics need nearly twice as much digital literacy compared to Blacks at 17% and Asians at 10%.

Latino-owned businesses, who make up the 7th largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the world, tied with France, are growing 70% faster than the U.S. GDP and contribute largely to the U.S. economy.

According to The Atlantic, the numbers show what value Latino small-businesses bring to cities across America. Yet, they faced a great struggle during the pandemic having little resources to sustain them.

Leaders working to promote change within the start-up sector are Rosario B Casas, co-founder, and Felipe Forero Hauzeur, co-founder & CEO of Brooklyn2Bogota Digital Transformation Community, a digital network for Hispanic entrepreneurs seeking business development and mentorship.

The digital community offers workshops and a ten-week incubation program for businesses looking to expand and increase their community presence for more customers. 

“We are committed by two mathematical operations: addition and multiplication. We want to add talent and multiply opportunities,” said Hauzeur.

Serving at a larger capacity

Brooklyn2Bogota announced a new partnership with The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center on Tuesday, that will double their pandemic relief efforts.

Based in San Francisco, the independent non-profit organization will work with Brooklyn2Bogota to create a “sustainable digital transformation” in the Latino community. They hope to accomplish this by “prioritizing the importance of economic recovery while creating digital equity.”

“Sharing with entrepreneurs the growth mindset and the adequate digital tools to advance and scale presents new employment opportunities and allows small businesses to act as a bridge between the communities and the United States' largest corporations,” said Casas.

Some factors that may contribute to the digital divide for Latino and multicultural small-business owners include limited access to capital, language barriers, and little support.

For these businesses to succeed and thrive for years to come, Americans can help by shopping locally and promoting the authentic products they love.

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