Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Design Studies

Committee Chair

Barabara McFall

Committee Co-Chair

Cindy Beacham

Committee Member

Kathryn Eason

Committee Member

Kristina Oliver

Committee Member

Clement Solomon


Prior studies have examined Latino entrepreneurship in a variety of settings in which Latinos are a significant population. Some of the previously identified barriers to successful Latino entrepreneurship include financial funding, racial issues, ethnic enclaves, and getting along with people from other cultures. This study builds upon that tradition by exploring Latino business owners in West Virginia. The study will address the following research questions: · Why are there so few Latino Entrepreneurs in West Virginia? · What are the entrepreneurial issues identified by Latino business owners in West Virginia?;This research was done with two main objectives in mind: To help potential Latino and non-Latino business owners in West Virginia to start their business more efficiently; and find out how to mitigate the issues and obstacles that are presented to Latino Entrepreneurs in West Virginia.;A brief comparison of the behaviors and experience of Latino entrepreneurs and majority entrepreneurs in the United States highlights the differences that exist between the two.;The study was delimited to current, legal, first-generation Latinos and their descendants as identified by the U.S Census Bureau in West Virginia. According to the U.S Census Bureau there are around 84 Latino Business owners in the state. Eight individual interviews represented around 10 percent of the population yielding credible and useful findings.;Seven of the business owners interviewed for this research were women, while only one of the participants was a man. The majority of the business owners were between 34 and 50 years of age. The most pressing issues found in this study are: Sense of Community, Expertise level, Governmental support, Trust issues -- Discrimination (Perception), and Market Demand. .;This research has provided a clear insight into what the major variables for Latino success in the United States are. Some of these variables are definite reasons why Latinos thrive in a certain environment, such as an ethnic enclave and geographic location, while other reasons are more potential contribution to such success, like warm weather and a large labor force.;Although the Latino population in the United States is becoming an incredibly strong and valuable asset to the American economy, the state of West Virginia has yet to capitalize on this trend. This study found that it should be possible to bring in more Latino businesses to the state if West Virginia fully embraces Latino businesses as a path to economic diversity, and develops effective support structures to expand the Latino community as well as Latino owned businesses.;Governmental support is critical for Latino business owners that want to start their businesses in West Virginia. However, establishing programs for minorities, and providing funding for potential Latino business owners may not be enough. This research found that the biggest issue regarding governmental support has to do with lack of trust and fear of the government among Latinos.;This preliminary study was created to explore why Latinos are not starting as many business ventures in West Virginia as they do in other states. Future research might focus on other demographics that struggle in the state of West Virginia but thrive in other states and/or extended to include locals with similar demographic.;Keywords: Latinos, entrepreneurship, ethnic conclave, market demand.