‘What Do You Lose If You Don’t Have Anything?' – Why 1 in 3 Businesses in Dallas Are Owned by Immigrants

Starting a business was a small risk for Alfredo Duarte compared to when he left his hometown of Durango, Mexico and crossed the U.S.-Mexico border at age 16.To buy a $2,500 GMC box truck he drained his savings and went into debt. Already married with two young children, he quit his job as a factory machinist to drive the truck, delivering fresh produce to restaurants in Dallas. “I didn’t have anything,” he said. “What do you lose if you don’t have anything?”Thirty-five years later, Duarte said, his company Taxco Produce sells about $50 million per year in Mexican food imports to most of North Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. This bravery in risk-taking is often cited by researchers who explain immigrants’ outstanding entrepreneurial spirit. In Dallas, it has changed the landscape: Although they make up about 24% of the population, 32.2% of all businesses in the city are owned by immigrants, according to a study published last year. The analysis is based on demographic data from 2016, most of which comes from the U.S. Census, said Andrew Lim, the director of quantitative research at New American Economy. “I think the share it’s remarkable,” Lim said. “I think it speaks to how important immigrants are in general to Dallas.” The study showed that immigrant entrepreneurs accounted for nearly $495 million in business income, and were responsible for over 55,000 jobs in Dallas. “They’re an important part of the economy,” said Priscilla Camacho, the senior vice president of public policy and consumption for the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce. “What our immigrant community brings to the table, not only in the amount of dollars they generate for our region and for our city but the talent, workforce, the skillset.”   Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us