Julio Fuentes: Cybersecurity is a critical, often overlooked, issue for Hispanic business owners

System hacked warning alert on notebook (Laptop). Cyber attack o
Florida ranks second in the nation for Hispanic-owned businesses.

With Hispanic Americans being the fastest-growing demographic in the United States, it’s no surprise that they make up more than 5 million businesses around the country, adding $800 billion to the economy and serving as a significant force to U.S. economic health and prosperity.

As we think about the critical role Latino entrepreneurs and small-business owners play in our economy, Cyber Monday reminds us that so much of our commerce today has moved online.

Cybersecurity is becoming one of the major threats challenging small-business owners. In fact, according to recent data, “small businesses account for 43% of cyberattacks annually and 46% of cyberattacks were small businesses with 1,000 or fewer employees.”

Here at the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we are dedicated to strengthening the Hispanic community and being a legislative champion to help the Hispanic business community grow. Over the years, I have witnessed just how impressive the entrepreneurial drive of Latinos is. We start 82% of all new businesses in the United States, often at a rate three times higher than the national average.

Latina women, in particular, are showing incredible entrepreneurship, starting businesses at a rate six times the national average. Florida also ranks second in the nation for Hispanic-owned businesses.

At the cornerstone of this success is technology. Digital storefronts, online marketing, social media, and business operation software have revolutionized the way small businesses operate and have helped grow the output of the digital economy by 10% from 2020 to 2021. Hispanic-owned businesses can now reach a broader audience and operate more efficiently, leading to lower costs, increased revenue, job creation, and a unified community that fosters economic growth and wealth.

Technology remains a vital resource for Hispanic-owned businesses by enhancing the customer experience, expanding outreach, and fostering growth, and the digital economy has opened new markets and opportunities for Hispanic business owners to enter. It’s crucial that we continue to make digital tools and services accessible to support the growth of both new and established Hispanic-owned businesses across the state.

However, with the enormous opportunities born out of tech innovation also comes increased cyber risks. A report found that while small businesses are among the top targets of hackers, “56% of small-business owners were not concerned about being the victim of a hack in the next 12 months and 42% had no plan for responding to an attack.”

That’s why it’s important that our local, state, and federal policymakers continue to support the technological innovators that not only develop the tools Hispanic small-business owners rely on but also develop the cyber protections that keep their digital assets safe.

Looking ahead, the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will continue to provide resources for the Hispanic community and support legislation that allows Hispanic entrepreneurs to prosper, which includes strengthening the American technology tools and digital tools they need to thrive in today’s driven business landscape and protect their businesses.

By strengthening American technology companies and continuing to promote innovation across the country, the economic opportunities are endless, and America’s entrepreneurial spirit can continue to blossom within the Hispanic community.

___

Julio Fuentes is chief executive officer at the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Guest Author


One comment

  • rbruce

    November 27, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    If Hispanic owned businesses need a Gov’t handout to make money, then perhaps their product isn’t needed. Cyber Security is a business expense that it passed onto the customer. Forcing the taxpayer to make a private business profitable is wrong.

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