Almost every town in Iowa with more than 7,000 people has at least one Latino business, and some small towns have up to 15 or more. These small businesses want to invest in Iowa communities. ISU Extension’s Latino business networks provide the group support they need, along with technical and financial advice, marketing help, a newsletter and educational workshops. This grassroots economic development is helping first-generation immigrants establish and expand family-owned grocery stores, restaurants, clothing stores, car sales and repair shops, gift shops and more.
“Small businesses are big job creators in Iowa,” said Himar Hernandez, an ISU Extension community development field specialist. “Also, 90 percent of Latino businesses are located in downtown areas, usually occupying old buildings that otherwise would be empty. Through the Latino businesses we can inject life again into our downtowns and reverse urban decay and sprawl.”
Network member Miguel Jaimes, owner of El Asadero Restaurant in Mount Pleasant, said, “Ever since I opened my business, Extension has helped me with marketing, obtaining permits and improving my money skills.”
Gisela Guerrero, owner of Mi Familia Restaurant in Perry, added, “I was very close to shutting down the business many times, since I had no experience, but Extension has been helping me improve my business. I would never close now.”
For more information about joining a Latino business network, contact Hernandez, firstname.lastname@example.org.