Thursday, April 14, 2011

Greater D.C. Hispanic Chamber celebrates 35 years

WASHINGTON, D.C. - On June 10th, the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC) will host its 35th annual gala at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington. The Gala serves as an opportunity for the Chamber to highlight the importance and influence of the Hispanic business community in the DC Metropolitan area and to celebrate the Chamber’s accomplishments with its members, sponsors, partner organizations, corporations, and the community at-large.

This year’s Gala is especially significant for the Latino community on both a local and national level due to the staggering 2010 Census statistics that have recently been released: Latino entrepreneurship is rapidly expanding, with no signs of slowing down. The US Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners reported last year that Hispanic-owned businesses in the Washington, DC metro area grew 53.5%  – compared  to 21.4% for all businesses – from 2002 to 2007. “The growth of the local Hispanic business community has captured the attention of the business community at-large,” Miguel Ornelas, GWHCC Chairman affirms. “GWHCC has been a source of support for Latino entrepreneurs in the metropolitan area and we are excited about the future.  The future looks very promising for the Latino business community, our Chamber and all our partners.  We are proud of everyone’s successes but we will continue to work diligently to ensure the positive trend continues.  We are honored that GWHCC continues to be a meaningful organization as evidenced by us celebrating our 35th anniversary,” he concluded.

Last March, the 2010 Census reported that over the last ten years, the Latino population grew by 21.8% in Washington, DC, 106.5% in Maryland, and 91.7% in Virginia. Ivan Gaviria, Chairman of the Gala Organizing Committee and Business Development Manager for Keystone Plus Construction Corporation also adds, “The rate at which Latino businesses are emerging and growing all over the country is undeniably powerful. Then add to this that we represent 11% of the US’s total buying power, or about $1 trillion. These are game changing numbers, and on June 10, 2011, we are going to usher in this new Latino Business Era the only way we know how: de fiesta!”

The Chamber’s tireless work representing, supporting and connecting Hispanic entrepreneurs is made possible exclusively through the collaboration of organizations that support the initiatives that benefit Hispanic entrepreneurs and the Hispanic community at large. “The Chamber’s Gala is the one event of the year where we share our successes with our members and supporters. At the same time, we have the opportunity to thank the sponsors and funders that helped us fulfill our mission to support the economic success of Hispanic business owners in the metropolitan area,” Angela Franco, GWHCC President & CEO affirmed. “Last year, through our technical assistance program, we helped over 1,200 local small businesses with one-on-one assistance and bilingual business education events.”

Corporate sponsors for the 35th Annual Gala include American Airlines, CapitalWirePR, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, John Marshall Bank, Lanigan, Ryan Malcolm & Doyle, PNC Bank, SunTrust Bank and Verizon. GWHCC Foundation and GWHCC funders include Arlington Economic Development, DC Department of Housing and Community Development, DC Mayor's Office on Latino Affairs, DC Neighborhood Investment Fund, DC Office of Human Rights, Fannie Mae and Washington Convention and Sports Authority.

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