Small Businesses in Springfield, Massachusetts: A Look at Latino Entrepreneurship
50 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2011
Date Written: March 1, 2011
One of the most pressing challenges for Springfield is increasing the labor force participation and employment rates of its residents. The city’s labor force participation rate is extremely low even when compared with other older industrial cities in the region. In Springfield’s Latino neighborhoods less than half of the working-age population is in the labor force. Through data analysis and interviews of business owners, this study focuses on business ownership as a potential strategy for job creation in the city and for income generation in impoverished areas. Springfield has self-employment rates similar to that of comparison cities in New England and in the past ten years, the number of Latinos self-employed in the city grew by 150 percent, a much faster rate than wage/salary workers. However, Springfield lags in the number of Latino-owned firms relative to the share of Latino population. Latino-owned businesses play an important role in providing additional services and support to Latino residents. Nevertheless, existing funding and technical assistance programs that are generally available to small businesses appear not to be reaching Latino entrepreneurs in Springfield, which tends to inhibit their survival and growth.
Keywords: small businesses, minority-owned businesses, Latino-owned businesses
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