When Jennifer Rodriguez relocated to Philadelphia in the late ’90s, the once-bustling South Philly neighborhood of Italian Market was in decay.“It was a place experiencing disinvestment, and many wondered what would become of what was a once-vibrant commercial corridor,” says Rodriguez, who is now the president of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.That was, she said, until a wave of Mexican immigrants arrived—along with their small businesses. “They saw opportunity where so many others saw vacancy and blight.”Today, the area is vibrant, attracting residents and entrepreneurs, and is among the most desirable neighborhoods in Philadelphia. To Rodriguez, it’s emblematic of the Hispanic community’s penchant for hard work and entrepreneurialism — even amid the Covid crisis.“Our community knows how to find opportunity where others may not. We have done it before; we can do it again,” she says.Rodriguez points to some key statistics regarding Hispanics and entrepreneurship. Data shows that Hispanic and immigrant entrepreneurs start more businesses than native-born Americans, and tend to grow revenue more quickly than the economy as a whole.Indeed, according to statistics from the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, between 2009-2019 the number of Latino business owners grew 34%, compared to 1% for all business owners in

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