As a business owner, one of the best ways to support different cultures is to participate in commemorative festivities, such as Hispanic Heritage Month. Also called Latinx Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from September 15th to October 15th, a time when we celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America
“From the businesses we shop at every day, the food on our table, the music we dance to, and the homes we live in to the doctors and nurses on the frontlines, the teachers in our schools, and those serving in our government, the list of contributions Hispanics and Latinx have made in this country is endless,” said Rachel Matos, the founder and CEO of Blue Lotus Collective and the co-founder and CMO of MyCajta.
Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity for businesses to pay homage to those contributions, Matos explained, and “learn the origins of traditions and cultures that have greatly impacted our society.”
Here are five ways your business can honor and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month:
1. Seek out and support Hispanic-owned businesses
Hispanic Heritage Month is an especially great time to champion Hispanic and Latinx small businesses. According to Stanford University’s 2019 State of Latino Entrepreneurship report, the number of Latinx business owners has grown 34% over the last decade, compared to just 1% for all business owners. Collectively, Latinx-owned companies generated $470 billion in revenue in 2016, but the average revenues for individual Latinx-owned businesses are still only half those of non-Latinx-owned businesses.
“Imagine the incredible impact if opportunities and resources for Latinx business owners were equal to those of non-Latinx business owners,” said Matos.
As a business owner, you can help uplift Hispanic business owners and their employees in a number of ways. Here are a few ideas:
- Purchase office supplies and other business necessities from Hispanic-owned companies.
- Use a Hispanic-owned operation for one of your business needs, like printing marketing materials or maintaining equipment.
- Compile a list of Hispanic-owned businesses in your community and encourage your employees to visit them.
- Leave positive online reviews for the businesses you buy from.
2. Educate your employees about Hispanic Heritage Month
A big part of honoring Hispanic Heritage Month is learning about the history and achievements of people of Latin descent. After all, these communities aren’t just rich in history—they are also rich in diversity, encompassing a multitude of different countries and lifestyles.
Educating your employees can help them gain new perspectives, develop more cultural awareness and sensitivity, and reevaluate stereotypes. To help teach them, consider hosting a virtual seminar or lunch centered around Hispanic Heritage Month. You can go over:
- The history of Hispanic Heritage Month
- Latinx culture in your local community
- Notable Hispanic figures in your business’s industry
- Important culinary, artistic, and political Hispanic influences
3. Host an event that celebrates Hispanic culture
A fun, easy way to participate in Hispanic Heritage Month is to host an event that showcases a unique part of the varied Hispanic cultures. If you have a brick-and-mortar workplace, consider hosting a movie night featuring films made by Latinx filmmakers, or a concert celebrating Latin music and dance.
“Another way to celebrate is to host a potluck, where everyone creates an authentic dish or purchases one from a Latinx business,” Matos suggested. If your employees work remotely, you could attend a virtual Latinx art show or concert, she added, or host a Hispanic heritage trivia game with prizes.
4. Donate to a Hispanic-focused nonprofit organization
Donating to an organization that centers and uplifts Hispanic and Latinx people is a powerful way to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month. You can either support a handful of different organizations, or contribute a percentage of your business’s September and October revenues to one particular cause.
To involve your employees, consider matching their donations up to a certain dollar amount or holding a workplace contest. Whoever receives the best customer feedback or scores the highest monthly sales gets to choose which Hispanic-focused nonprofit they want you to donate to.
If you need a place to start, here are some organizations to check out:
- Hispanic Heritage Foundation supports and connects Latino leaders in the community, classroom, and workforce.
- Voto Latino is a grassroots political organization dedicated to educating and encouraging voters.
- United We Dream is an immigrant youth-led community that works to protect immigrant rights and end discrimination.
- National Alliance for Hispanic Health is a science-based, community-driven organization that provides health services to communities in need.
It’s also a good idea to look into your community’s local Hispanic-centered organizations.
5. Treat your employees to something special
Get your employees excited about Hispanic Heritage Month by giving them a gift that celebrates Hispanic culture. Think: a gift card to a local Spanish, Mexican, Cuban, or Salvadorian restaurant, a stipend for culinary classes or music lessons, or an artisan product.
Matos said corporations used her subscription box service to order Day of the Dead boxes by the hundreds for their employees. “They also requested virtual demos and information packets as part of the celebration,” she said. “Not only are they educating their staff about this tradition, but they are also buying from Latinx business owners.”
Celebrate with respect
Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect time to honor and support Latinx businesses and communities. As you celebrate, make sure to lead with respect, be inclusive, and have fun in the process.