Hispanic-owned businesses in the Indianapolis area contribute more than $1 billion to the region’s economy, according to a new Indiana Business Research Center report. The study, commissioned by the Indy Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council, reports nearly 4,900 Hispanic-owned firms employing about 7,300 in the nine-county metro area. IBRC Director Jerry Conover says the numbers reflect the rapid growth of the Latino population in the Indy metro area. Indy Chamber CEO Michael Huber says the report shows "the growing diversity of our homegrown businesses."

Conover says the Hispanic and Latino population in the metropolitan area has risen 480 percent over the last two decades. "That’s more than 100,000 new Hispanic residents," said Conover." For Perspective, it’s like adding a community the size of Carmel since the turn of the century."

The largest industry cluster among Hispanic-owned businesses, according to the report, is construction. Other industries represented, primarily by small firms, include food and retail, professional services and healthcare/social services. Larger Hispanic-owned businesses are more often in industries including food service and accommodations, wholesale trade and transportation/warehousing.

Hispanic Business Council chair Ryan Marques says many Hispanic entrepreneurs are trying to grow their businesses either on their own or with minimal support. He says the council’s mentorship program offers opportunities for advice, business development support and relationship building for business owners.

Conover says the Hispanic and Latino population is growing faster than the overall population, meaning a larger number entering the workforce over the next decade. He says many may pursue business ownership "if we create an ecosystem that encourages them to do so"

You can find the full study by clicking here.