The conditions are ripe for an economic renaissance in South America and especially for US Latinos. Latinos delivered Barack Obama the Presidency of the United States of America and are driving major economic growth in the US at all levels. Latinos in the US might hold the key to a new kind of global economic power not bound by geography but by culture.
The growth is staggering. Millions of people in South and Central America are joining the middle class. This combined with a newly found political power in the United States, makes the Latino market in the US and abroad very attractive to entrepreneurs and investors. Developing countries have many problems that can only be solved by the local entrepreneurs so the opportunity remains basically untapped.
Latinos in the US are driving growth. 20 to 40% of YOY revenue growth in major retailers like Walmart or Target will be driven by Latinos. 1.1 million latinos will turn 18 every year for the next 20 years. As Solomon Trujillo said while addressing bright Latinos at Stanford, we are the new mainstream. We are creators, trendsetters, artists, teachers and entrepreneurs.
In the past few years top tier investors have opened up offices in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Colombia. Chile has created a bold entrepreneurial program (Startup Chile) that is starting to challenge Silicon Valley as an alternative for entrepreneurs. 500Startups has gone into Mexico by acquiring MexicanVC, a firm that incubates innovative startups in Mexico.
However, a great majority of the innovation coming from Latinos attempts to target the mainstream. The demographic that has become the standard in marketing presentations is the young white male between the ages of 24 to 35. So much talent from the Latino community is preaching to the status-quo rather than breaking it. When you are looking at your target audience and if the product you are building allows it, think about the audience you know best. That is often the community in which you grew up. That will give your product a level of authenticity that can help you grow and scale faster.
I am talking to the Latino entrepreneurs. You have the chance to create anything you want. Some of you will succeed – that success is what we need to replicate multiple times in order to reshape the mainstream. Go build it and we will follow.