ABSTRACT

The business character of Chicana/o-owned companies underwent a dramatic shift in the 1990s. That decade ushered in the regionalization of an economic sector that had traditionally experienced limited success in expanding beyond the boundaries of barrios and colonias. A number of structural influences were instrumental in this period of transition. Due to the successes of affirmative action, a significant portion of the new generation of Chicanas/os in the Southwest were educated in the world of business management and found significant opportunites in a range of professions from which they had been historically excluded. The attack on the insidious practice of redlining, which was endemic in the banking industry, gradually increased access to capital for old and emerging businesses in the community. A focus on multiculturalism introduced new opportunities to market Mexican products and an acceptance of Chicana/o-owned businesses. In addition, the national economy acknowledged the significant increase in the Latina/o consumer market and the importance of bilingual advertising strategies. The economic importance of the Southwest has been proven by the substantial increase in attention paid to the Latina/o economy since the mid-1980s (Davila 2001).