Latino entrepreneurs, often shunned by banks, band together to build their businesses

Paul Singer

With the dramatic growth in the U.S. population, the number of Hispanic-Latino-owned businesses is growing faster than in other ethnic groups.

Carl Palme is a high-tech entrepreneur in Boston with a problem: He’s finding it hard to find investors to back his start-up.

And part of the reason, he says, is his ethnicity.

“I’m a Mexican immigrant,” he told GBH News on a recent morning in his Fort Point office, which is also his production facility. “I don’t have any high school buddies here. I don’t have any kids that I went to primary school [with]. You know, I don’t know their parents; I don’t have these networks where people can just trust me.”

In a December study, the consulting firm McKinsey found that “Latinos have the lowest rate of using bank and financial institution loans to start their businesses compared with other racial and ethnic groups,” rely more on personal funds and receive a tiny fraction of the billions of dollars invested each year by venture capital firms.

Massachusetts’ climate for Latino businesses is even worse than other states. GBH News reported last year that Black and Latino people now make up more than a fifth of the state’s population but own just over 3% of businesses with employees — less than half the national rate of Black and Latino business ownership.

Learn more about Palme’s story and why Latino businesses face higher demands for collateral from lenders and are turned down for loans more often than their white counterparts by reading Paul Singer’s story: