Frank Rodriguez, owner of Frank Hair Artist, talks about how online sales and a no walk-in policy have helped the salon stay busy during the pandemic.

Indianapolis Star

Thousands of Latino and Hispanic-owned businesses in Central Indiana generate millions of dollars of revenue annually.

And according to the Indy Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council, the majority of these are small businesses or self-employed entrepreneurs.

A Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative study released last year, showed Latino-owned businesses employ more than 3 million people and contribute nearly $500 billion in annual sales to the U.S. economy.

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But after the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to shut down, these figures could change. 

Though there’s little to no data available yet to show the impact the coronavirus pandemic on these businesses, Latino business advocacy groups in Indianapolis are mobilizing to help them remain open. 

The Hispanic Business Council, LISC Indianapolis and Yelp Indy have created resources available targeted to Indianapolis’ Latino community. Here’s a list:

Hispanic Business Council

Indy Chamber and its Hispanic Business Council have hosted virtual town halls in Spanish for business owners over the past few months.

The council’s director, Dolly Serrant has been promoting the council’s Mentor Protégé Program and Accelerate Program Latinx to help growing Latino and Hispanic small business owners. 

The organization also has a Conexion Event Series, which is a year-long networking series that features educational and networking events for Hispanic and Latino business owners and others interested in tapping into the market.

And the Business Ownership Initiative provides small business owners and entrepreneurs in Indianapolis with access to free, one on one small business coaching.

For more information on these initiatives, business owners can contact [email protected]

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Covid-19 signs encouraging social distancing hang on the shelves at Las Mexicanas Supermarket off of South Sherman Drive, Wednesday, August 26, 2020.  (Photo: Grace Hollars/Indianapolis Star, Grace Hollars/IndyStar)

LISC Indianapolis

LISC Indianapolis, a non-profit organization that collaborates with different local organizations to help transform distressed neighborhoods through economic development, recently received 2,400 applications for its Small Business Recovery Grant for Minority, Immigrant and Women-Owned businesses in Indianapolis for COVID-19 relief.

LISC awarded 50 $5,000 grants and 75 $20,000 grants to small businesses this past summer. 

And officials say more are more grants to help small business owners are on the way.

The is getting ready to open applications for businesses in Indianapolis’ Far Eastside in October, which will also prioritize awards for minority-owned small businesses. 

For more information on upcoming grants, more resources, business owners can contact [email protected]

‘We move the economy’:How Latino-owned businesses are meeting unique challenges

Indy Chamber, LISC Indianapolis and the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) have complied a Latinx Business database, in order to better reach the community and contact them when resources, grants, workshops, etc, become available.

Anyone who would like to be added to the list can go to

Yelp Indy

This month, Yelp Indy is offering free special window decal to display on its storefronts as part of Yelp’s ‘Latinx Heritage Month’ celebration. In addition, Yelp Indy has created an online collection, highlighting ‘Latinx-owned businesses’ in Indianapolis. 

This summer, Yelp Indy also launched Yelp’s Cultura Club, a series of free, virtual events with Hispanic and Latino-owned businesses in Indianapolis featuring cooking classes, bilingual yoga and more. 

IndyStar reporter Natalia Contreras can be reached at 317-444-6187 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter, @NataliaECG.

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