Chris Rourk struggled initially to get financing for his company, VOLTA Ion, which makes jacks that use clean energy and are wireless.
Mentorship, lender tracking among possible fixes.
After years of working for other firms, Chris Rourk decided to start a business of his own producing wireless jacks. But when the Latino entrepreneur approached banks for loans, he was turned away. “It was almost impossible to get any sort of funding…no matter what my credit status was”, Rourk says.
He used personal credit cards to launch his Miami-based company VOLTA ion, in 2018, and Rourk found that many of his Latino customers had similar experiences when applying for loans. While there may have also been other factors, he believes lenders often set a higher bar for him because of his ethnicity.
Latino entrepreneurs launch more businesses than any other group in the U. S., but they close their doors at a faster rate than their peers as they struggle to get traditional loans, deal with lower sales, and navigate other obstacles according to “The Economic State of Latinos in America: The American Dream Deferred”, a recent report by McKinsey & Company. The 322,000 businesses in the U. S. owned by Latino entrepreneurs provide jobs to 2.9 million workers, and 85% of those business owners say it was opportunity, not need, that led them to become their own boss.
But Latino-owned businesses with at least one employee average $1.3 million in sales each year, roughly half the $2,5 million earned by their white counterparts. And the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to disproportionately higher rates of unemployment and death for Latinos, Black and Indigenous Americans, also negatively affected 86% of Latino-owned businesses.
Courtesy Author Charisse Jones, USA Today, Money January 18, 2022,