Angelette Aviles' baking hobby is now her full-time business, one that allows her to take her children to and from school. She grew up in Maryland, lived in Florida and then returned to her home state five years ago with plans of going into business for herself. Now she runs Cup+Cake Blvd, which started out of a food truck before gaining a Gambrills storefront two years ago. She is one of Anne Arundel County's estimated 1,500 Hispanic business owners, a group that is growing rapidly.
Angelette Aviles' baking hobby is now her full-time business, one that allows her to take her children to and from school.
She grew up in Maryland, lived in Florida and then returned to her home state five years ago with plans of going into business for herself. Now she runs Cup+Cake Blvd, which started out of a food truck before gaining a Gambrills storefront two years ago. She is one of Anne Arundel County's estimated 1,500 Hispanic business owners, a group that is growing rapidly.
"I'm very proud, but at the same time I'm not surprised, because I'm finding more and more" Hispanic businesses, Aviles said.
Still, it is not Florida, where the Hispanic community had a more extensive network. Annapolis businessman Walter Vasquez wants to change that. Vasquez is proposing a Latin American Business Association that would act as a resource for permitting, licensing and other services in the city and the county.
The number of Hispanic-owned firms in the U.S. is expected to reach 3.22 million this year, an increase of 43 percent since 2007. In Anne Arundel County, Hispanic ownership increased 83 percent from 2002 to 2007, the most recent year for which data are available.
"We work hard," said Vasquez, an owner of Sin Fronteras Cafe in Annapolis. "We are willing to work harder, take a little pay cut and are willing to do more for less. I run my business the same way."
Research firm Geoscape found that Hispanic-owned firms are growing faster than the national average for all businesses, and will generate $486 billion in revenues this year. One of the nation's fastest growth areas includes the South Atlantic, extending from Maryland to Florida. From 2007 to 2014, Hispanic entrepreneurship in that area increased 59 percent, according to the report.
The U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners comes out every five years and 2012 data about Hispanic business owners are not expected until July. In 2002, there were 852 Hispanic-owned firms in the county. Five years later, it was 1,563 firms — 230 with paid employees and another 1,333 without.
But these numbers include only the firms that chose to reveal racial and ethnic group data. When businesses are licensed by the state and county they are not asked to identify themselves as minority businesses, said Consuella Caudill, Annapolis' small/minority business enterprise coordinator.
Vasquez said he often talks to people who want to start a business but don't know where to start. He has been working with city and county officials to help these potential business owners get the proper information and overcome the language barrier to complete the necessary paperwork. He expects to launch his business association next month.
"In Annapolis, the only thing we need is to organize," Vasquez said. "How can we go ahead and one day be prepared to go for the bidding process? We're in the process of learning that." Carolina Cepeda wants to join his organization. She met other Hispanic business owners through her involvement with Annapolis' Centro de Ayuda/Center of Help and the Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, but wants to be involved more.
Many Hispanic businesses "are not necessarily involved with the community; they are more involved with the services sector," said Cepeda, owner of the ITnova consulting firm in Odenton. "It is very difficult to approach them. If you work 6 to 2 and 2 to 8, and your business is always running, it's hard for them to be part of the community."
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