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Latinos and immigrants have also been driving new business creation. Latino-owned businesses have increased in number from 1.57 million enterprises in 2002 to 3.22 million in 2014, 2 times the national average. Immigrant entrepreneurs launched 28.5 percent of the new businesses in 2014, up from 25.9 percent a year earlier and just 13.3 percent in 1996.

Tom: It sounds like the small business landscape is reflecting our diverse population.

Mellody: It is certainly getting better and becoming more reflective of the population as a whole, but there is a long way to go. Currently, minorities account for about 15% of all of small businesses in America, but at 40% of the population, there is certainly still a gap.

Tom: Sounds like it! So if our listeners are thinking about setting out on their own, where should they start?

Mellody: Starting a small business obviously is not for everyone. However, if you have an idea and are ready to take the leap, there are a number of resources out there that can help you prepare yourself before hand. As i mentioned before, organizations like Score provide mentorship and business planning assistance for new businesses. The small business administration has a number of resources you can use as well, including the 8(a) business development program. It is a business assistance program specifically designed to assist minority owned businesses. The 8(a) program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Tom: Thanks for joining us today, Mellody!  

Mellody: You are welcome, Tom!

Mellody is president of Ariel investments; a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.

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Money Mondays: It’s A Good Time To Start A Small Business  was originally published on

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