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The Politics of Entrepreneurship: Mexican American Leadership in a Border Setting

Roberto E. Villarreal


Although Mexican Americans continue to expand their entrepreneurial activities, we know little about their ambitions and dreams, their struggle to become part of the business world, their political idealogy and involvement, their role as political leaders, and their relationship with Anglos. Many Mexican American leaders, once active in the public affairs of the community, are turning their efforts and attention to the business world. Any future plans for the economic development of the Mexico-United States border need to involve the Mexican American entrepreneur.

The purpose of this study is to conduct an exploratory analysis of Mexican American business leaders in El Paso. Specifically, the study focuses on the leadership of the recently created Minority Business Council (MBC). Three major propositions underly this study: (1) the creation of the MBC has initiated a new phase in the politics of Mexican American entrepreneurship; (2) the creation of the MBC demonstrates a move toward integration between Mexican American and Anglo organizations in a border setting; and (3) because of contemporary political and idealogical trends, Mexican American entrepreneurs will serve as an important resource for future leadership throughout the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

The article explains the background and formation of the MBC, its structural and attitudinal relations with the El Paso Chamber of Commerce (hereafter referred to as the Chamber), and the politics of the minority leadership. Ultimately, the article will also address the significance of this organizational activity in terms of political empowerment. A brief comparative analysis is presented of the background and political attitudes between this leadership group and Mexican American comerciantes.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229