U.S. Hispanic-owned companies are in it to win, and the HispanicBusiness 500 rankings show it. Revenue grew at the top-tier companies, which also saw growth in employment; a longtime show-stopper landed a spot in the Fortune 500; and a shining star returned to the No. 1 spot on our rankings.
Hispanic enterprises ramped up $37.2 billion in revenue in 2011, up 16.9 percent year over year. However, that growth was concentrated among larger companies on the list, with smaller companies facing the litany of challenges small business traditionally faces.
But we are happy to report that, as our prestigious HispanicBusiness 500 list turns 30, Carmen Castillo, CEO of SDI International Corp., adds female flair to the top 10 largest U.S. Hispanic-owned companies for 2011. SDI International is a global business providing a variety of technology services.
The top 10 featured a number of our perennial high performers, including Brightstar Corp., shining again at No. 1, and MasTec Inc., returning to the No. 2 spot.
Missing from the top 10 is longtime HispanicBusiness 500 high performer Molina Healthcare of Long Beach, Calif., which nabbed a spot on the Fortune 500. Fortune also reported that California was back at the No. 1 position for publicly traded companies, with 53 on the list.
Florida was the HispanicBusiness 500’s top state, with 120 companies. Texas replaced California as the No. 2 state, with 90 Hispanic-owned enterprises compared to 79 in California.
Florida is also the state to be reckoned with on the top 10. The Sunshine State produced seven of the top 10 companies, including Quirch Foods, Greenway Ford Inc. and Liberty Power Corp.
Seven companies in the top 10 added to their labor pool, as indicated by MasTec upping its manpower by 30.2 percent, hiring 2,900 more employees. Brightstar CEO R. Marcelo Claure raised his number of employees by 25 percent, adding close to 1,000 individuals.
HispanicBusiness caught up with Mr. Claure while he was—no surprise—on business travel.
“We’re in every continent,” Mr. Claure said, adding that the wireless services company is now in 51 countries.
Brightstar debuted on the HispanicBusiness 500 in 2001 at No. 8, and since then it’s been a top performing company among the top 10. The company increased revenue in 2011 by $1.1 billion.
Mr. Claure said lists that highlight enterprises are a great tool to show the Hispanic community that success is possible.
“I think it’s definitely something that the community appreciates,” he said. “We started this company 15 years ago and this year we’re going to surpass $8 billion in sales. (The HispanicBusiness 500) is important because it shows people that it can be done—and it keeps us all competitive.”
Targeting Hispanic Consumers
U.S. Hispanics’ total buying power will hit $1.1 trillion in 2012, according to HispanTelligence, the research arm of HispanicBusiness, and is on track to reach $1.5 trillion by 2015.
“We are the hottest consumer right now, and we are going to invest close to $125 million in opening up a retail chain that will cater to Hispanics when they buy their mobile phone,” Mr. Claure said, hinting at a new endeavor that will use one of the hottest Hispanic entertainers.
He declined to say who the entertainer would be, but he did offer some observations on the clout Hispanics exercise on American society.
“Hispanics—we have a big say on what’s hot, what’s not. We have a bigger say in who is going to be the next president of the United States. That’s a huge deal,” Mr. Claure said. “For the first time, we have people coming and marketing to us, and we definitely see that as an opportunity.”
And as a Hispanic enterprise owner, he said, he has an edge over the competition because Brightstar knows the customer.
“We know our people, and we know the difference between how to market to an Argentinian, a Mexican, a Dominican—it’s definitely very different because there are different values,” he said.
He advises future CEOs is to work harder than the rest, never be afraid to dream big, stay humble, and don’t take no for an answer.
“(When) you’re building your company, you’re going to have many doors shut on you, and a lot of people will tell you no," he said. “So you’re going to have to figure out how to change the answer to yes.”
UPDATE: MicroTech inadvertently but significantly underreported its income for 2011 at $117 million. The correct figure is $342.2 million, moving the Virginia technology solutions company up to No. 21, and increasing the revenue of the HispanicBusiness 500 to $38.04 billion.