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LATINAFest Creates Environment for Networking and Empowerment.

LOS ANGELES, CA - According to a study at USC Annenburg School for Communication and Journalism, the Latinx community faces stereotypes in the workplace and society that are oftentimes perpetuated in the media. But, one local festival in L.A. is breaking those stereotypes by bringing Latinx business owners together. LATINAFest is an annual event created by L.A. natives Bel Hernandez and Naibe Reynoso. The event's purpose is to promote Latin business and culture, and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

"We have a community coming together, selling their products, showcasing their products. Latinas have contributed so much to this country, and we're here to recognize that and celebrate that," said Reynoso.

Art on sale at LATINAFest. Photo By: Jonathan Giovanazzi.

Business owners say they're happy to be back in an in-person setting after the pandemic kept entrepreneurs at home last year. Roberto Flores is a business owner who attends the event each year. He owns "MexiSon's", and travels throughout Mexico to purchase goods from Mexican workers that he uses to make his products. He is thankful for LATINAFest, as it provides a collaborative space for businesses to stimulate both the American and Mexican economies.

"Any money I make is money Latinas in Mexico make. I'm grateful for LATINAFest for letting a whole group of us sell our products. When we sell, it allows us to go back to Mexico and help businesses there sell too. We buy from them, and we get to come here, and we're growing," said Flores.

Flores is correct. A study by Stanford University found that Latinos are starting businesses at a faster rate than the national average across several industries, growing 34 percent over the last 10 years compared to just 1 percent for all other small businesses. Beyond industry expansion, reports show that over the past two-years, Latino-owned firms grew revenue at an average of 25 percent per year while white-owned businesses grew revenue at 19 percent.

This year, LATINAFest took place at La Plaza De Cultura y Artes. Dozens of vendors staffed booths across the courtyard of the plaza. Dancers, performers, and musicians from across L.A. showcased their talents. The South side of plaza was lined with food trucks, and a beer garden with craft beers was placed right next to the main stage.

Event coordinators take pride in helping business owners financially. LATINAFest is sponsored by J.P. Morgan Chase. They and other investors staff the event to help Latinx entrepreneurs apply for loans, and work to expand their business. These investors know that, historically, it's been difficult for businesses owned by people of color to finance their operations.

The Federal Reserve says this year Black- and Latino-owned businesses are less than half as likely as white-owned firms to be fully approved for loan applications. Black- and Latino-owned businesses with low credit risk were approved for loans at roughly the same rate as white-owned businesses with medium- and high-credit risk, according to the nationwide survey of more than 14,000 businesses with up to 500 employees.

Latinx People In Business. Video By: CNBC Television.

LATINAFest Event. Video By: Jonathan Giovanazzi.

By: Jonathan Giovanazzi

With Contributions From: The L.A. Girl, NBC News, Forbes, CNBC Television, Time.

Video: CNBC Television, Jonathan Giovanazzi.

Photo: Jonathan Giovanazzi


Latinos: Frequent Stereotypes.

Latinx People Less Than Half As Likely To Be Approved For Loans Than Whites.

What is Hispanic Heritage Month? Why Does it Matter?

Latinos and Latinas: Starting Your Business.

Latinos Are Opening More Small Businesses Than Anyone Else.

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