efe-epaBy Judith Mora Chicago, United States

Small Hispanic entrepreneurs in the United States anticipate a decade of expansion and robust growth in their businesses with a brighter outlook than non-Latino colleagues, according to a bank report released Tuesday in Chicago.

The Bank of America's annual survey, called Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight, included the opinions of 1,323 entrepreneurs country who discuss their plans to expand over the next 12 months.

Eighty-nine percent of Hispanic entrepreneurs surveyed have plans to expand over the next 12 months compared to 68 percent of non-Hispanics. In 2019, the Latin sector's growth expectation was of 87 percent, according to the study.

Some 79 percent of respondents said they expect their incomes to increase this year as compared to 57 percent of non-Hispanics, and 45 percent plan to hire more staff in 2020, compared to 24 percent of non-Latinos.

To carry out these plans, 78 percent of the entrepreneurs plan to seek financing, either using their savings (38 percent), bank loans (31 percent) or even their personal credit cards (23 percent).

The bank's Small Business Central Division executive Elizabeth Romero said Hispanic entrepreneurs are entering a high point in the new decade with many pursuing long-term growth and investment strategies.

Looking ahead, almost all entrepreneurs consulted see a decade of opportunity ahead, with higher revenues, a better digital presence and expansion into new markets, she added in the introduction of the report.

Romero said it was "inspiring" to witness the optimism and continued success of Latino entrepreneurs in the US, although she warned that despite good forecasts, most still view obstacles in the path of their businesses' growth.

For 63 percent, the main problem remains healthcare costs, followed by the political environment (59 percent), the strength of the dollar (59 percent), commodity prices (56 percent) and interest rates (55 percent).

In addition, 72 percent of them voiced concerns about a lack of resources, lack of management experience and problems accessing capital.

Jaime di Paulo, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president, told EFE that Hispanics have to learn to "use other people's money" to do business.

"Since they don't have a rich uncle to help them finance their businesses, they pawn the car, the house, they use credit cards or the funds saved for retirement, and that's very risky," he said.

Romero highlighted the bank's willingness to partner with Hispanic entrepreneurs to meet the challenges and collaborate on their growth.

Bank of America reportedly granted $9.2 billion worth of loans to small businesses in 2019, and maintained its position as the industry's largest creditor in the third quarter of last year, with individual loans of up to $1 million. EFE-EPA

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