The important change Yelp is making for Latinx Heritage Month

Last year, Yelp celebrated Latinx Heritage Month by offering free Latinx-owned business window decals to Latinx-owned and operated businesses to highlight their contributions to the US economy (via Yelp). Their contributions are not to be underestimated. Last year, the Latino Donor Collaborative reported that if you calculate the US Latino GDP of $2.3 trillion as its own country, it would be the eighth largest GDP in the world. This year, amid a pandemic that is adversely affecting an extraordinary 86 percent of Latinx-owned small businesses, Yelp's taking things up a notch (via CNBC). 

On September 9, Yelp announced that, in order to support and "showcase the diversity of the Latin/Hispanic community," they'd partnered with Momento Latino to create a free, searchable "Latinx-owned Business" attribute on Yelp. Actress Eva Longoria Bastón helped launch Momento Latino (via Variety). Of the partnership, she told Latin Times that the Latino community had "started 86 percent of new U.S. businesses during the last decade, and created nearly 3 million American jobs ... This partnership with Yelp will educate communities about the vital role that Latinx-owned businesses play in every American city. And, we'll generate revenue for Latinx-owned businesses and support local economies during and beyond Latinx Heritage Month." 

How Yelp's new " "Latinx-owned Business" tag works

Similar to the feature that Yelp launched in support of its black community in the wake of George Floyd's death, the company hopes that creating a searchable Latinx-owned business feature on their website will help "drive more dollars directly to the bottom line of [Latinx] businesses." Andrea Aguirre, the owner of Art of Donut in San Antonio, Texas, is betting on it. Aguirre told Reuters that she'd be participating int he program, noting that due to the pandemic she'd had to close her dining area. "We're doing take-out and delivery only" Aguirre reported, adding, "social media helped us so much but it's not the same." 

How does it all work? "The decision to self-identify as Latinx-owned should rest solely with the business," Yelp said in its September 9 press release. Along those veins, Latinx business owners who want to benefit from the initiative can do so by logging into their Yelp accounts and designating themselves a "Latinx-owned." Like in 2019, they also have the option of filling out a form to receive a "Latinx Owned Business' Sticker" decal. To boost the initiative further, during Latinx Heritage Month, Yelp and Momento Latino will feature stories from participating businesses on their social media channels.