Latina entrepreneurs spur economic growth in Arizona

Carla Chavarria, left, is a young entrepreneur. She created YCM Marketing, a web development and design company. (Photo by Jennifer Soules/Cronkite News)

The number of businesses owned by Hispanic women has tripled in the past eight years, according to the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“There’s a kind of, if you will, an analogy to be drawn with what’s happening now with Hispanic owned business that are owned by Hispanic women and the kind of Rosie the Riveter phenomenon that happened in World War II,” said James Garcia, communications director at the hispanic chamber of commerce.

Phoenix business owner Carla Chavarria is one of those young entrepreneurs. She created YCM Marketing, a web development and design company in 2012.

“I’m a dreamer, meaning that I didn’t have the proper documents when I was here, so it was very hard for me to work,” Chavarria said.

She went to work for herself instead, and business has been so good that the company is moving to a new office. She advises other women to take a risk.

“Just jump in, enjoy the journey and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Chavarria said.

She now has documents that allow her to work in the U.S. since she was brought to the U.S. as a child.

The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce report, DATOS: the State of the Arizona Hispanic Market, lists several reasons for the spike in Latina-owned companies including population growth, education and an entrepreneurial spirit.

The nearly 2.1 million Hispanics in Arizona make up about 30 percent of the state’s total population. Two million women control more half of the roughly 123,000 Hispanic-owned firms.

The Hispanic population will be the majority in Arizona by the end of the next generation and Hispanic students will be the majority of Arizona’s school children by 2020, research projections show.

Garcia expects the next generation’s fresh entrepreneurial spirit will help fuel more growth.

“Rather than saying ‘I have skills and no one wants to hire me,’ they basically said, ‘I’m going to make my own way and I’m going to find a way to contribute to this community and also pursue my own dreams,” Garcia said.