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Houston Business Journal

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Latino businesses pump billions into Houston

Houston Business Jornal
Friday, January 20, 2012

Hispanics used to come to Houston with a dream of starting their own businesses. Today they come with the dream of expanding existing ventures by setting up shop in one of the country’s fastest-growing business meccas.

Indeed, the Hispanic business community is on a new fast track, fueled by sophisticated immigrants from Latin America who are banking that Houston’s thriving community is a good fit for their companies.

Between 2002 and 2007, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the Houston region jumped 38.8 percent to 104,368 from 75,165, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau .

And those Hispanic businesses brought in $16.5 billion in receipts in 2007, up 38.7 percent from $11.9 billion in 2002.

“Together, the money they bring in is like the equivalent of Halliburton,” said Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research for the Greater Houston Partnership .

Local experts agree that the new breed of Hispanic businesses seeking to set up shop in Houston see the city not only as an entry point to the Texas and U.S. markets, but also as an international business gateway.

“There is a huge amount of money coming in from Mexico,” said Wilka Toppins, an attorney with The Law Office of Wilka Varela Toppins PC. “They see Houston as the perfect place to set up a U.S. office or to invest.”

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