The Entrepreneur Summit 2012 provides opportunities for Hispanic business owners
In less than one day, entrepreneurs can find inspiration. The Hispanic Unity of Florida hosted their annual Entrepreneur Summit at the Seminole Hard Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. Hundreds of entrepreneurs from all over the state attends the event in search for opportunities to improve their business.
Hispanic emerging and established business owners were able to connect and network with successful South Florida business owners and entrepreneurs, as well as with Fortune 500 companies to receive advice and inspiration.
“We really wanted to do three things: We wanted to help people connect with each other, we wanted to help them learn new skills and have access to new information, and we also wanted them to be inspired,” said Josie Bacallao, President/CEO for Hispanic Unity of Florida. “We have some incredible business leaders that are great business leaders and great community leaders and they are all packaged into one.”
As one of the sponsor of the event, Wells Fargo in Broward County business banking manager, Jackie Gonzalez, take pride in helping the Hispanic business community.
“We’re very proud to be here today. This is our second year sponsoring the event. We enjoy working with the community and our vision and mission are very much similar,” expressed Gonzalez.
Workshops overfilled with eager entrepreneurs seeking to learn the latest skills in the market today. Animated guest speakers encouraged and motivated the audience before them with information on the digital market and access to capital.
According to Bacallao, the event assists new and established businesses to find the contacts and tools needed to grow as a company.
“Anyone who wants to start a business or has a business that wants to grow fund a lot of the contacts and tools that they need all in one place,” said Bacallao.
As one of the fastest growing minority, Hispanic-owned U.S. firms rank Florida in second place with approximately 450,185, according to the U.S. Bureau Census 2007 Survey of Business Owners. Those Hispanic-owned businesses produced an estimate of $72.9 billion of receipts; that is 21.1 percent from the total receipts of all firms in Florida.
Florida also had the second largest ratio of Hispanic-owned U.S. firms to all firms, constituting 22.4 percent of the state’s total.
Many companies, like Wells Fargo, recognize the growing Hispanic business community. “We’re the fiber of the community. We are very much a part of everything that happens in the community so it is very important for us to be in all of these events and work with all the clients that we can. So being part of the Hispanic community is very important to us,” Gonzalez explained.
The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce partnered with Hispanic Unity to provide support and information to entrepreneurs. FSHCC mission is to promote the economic advancement of the Florida Hispanic community. Members and trustees have the opportunity to enhance their business with the many programs and benefits offered.
President and CEO of FSHCC, Julio Fuentes, that the Entrepreneur Summit, help entrepreneurs become more competitive in this economy.
“I think it’s very important to the FSHCC’s mission with events such as this to support entrepreneurs and folks that are struggling in business right now,” said Fuentes. “We all know the economy is not going as great as we would like to see it do, but it’s events like this that really encourages folks to get out and do the networking thing and learn and educate themselves on what they can do to be better entrepreneurs.”
For companies looking for ways to reach out to the Hispanic community, Bacallao suggests working with Hispanic chambers of commerce and non for-profit organization. She explains that doing so can grant access to information on Hispanic business owners, their clients, and the community in the region.
“We are very, very loyal consumers. So once you get us, you really have us. But you need to know us as people, and you need to develop those relationships,” said Bacallao.
To learn more about Hispanic Unity of Florida initiatives and objectives, visit www.hispanicunity.org
By Luana Goncalves