Digital Divide: Impact on Hispanic-Owned Small Businesses
Information inequity creates a major gap between minority and non-minority businesses in the areas of business opportunities, communication, and information technologies. The purpose of this study is to survey the technological potential of Hispanic-owned small businesses (HSBs) to engage in e-commerce, specifically in e-procurement. The names of the HSBs were requested from the Office of Small Business Administration, which provided a national database of 9,800 businesses. A total of 1,200 businesses were randomly selected to receive the survey. Results indicate that small businesses have issues of concern regarding the process to access the Internet. HSBs find limitations in gaining access to e-commerce and its elements. Some limitations relate to financial constraints to buy computers; other limitations relate to Internet access methodology and ability to hire information technology personnel. Assisting HSBs to gain access to financial resources is crucial towards narrowing the digital divide and therefore reducing/eliminating its effects on the long-term survival of Hispanic small businesses. Government agencies and non-profit and private business organizations should develop financial and outreach opportunities to enhance participation of Hispanic owned small businesses.
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