Jaime di Paulo, the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President, asks Latinos to reach out during the pandemic.
Need Help Keeping Your Business Afloat? Call Your Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce
Hispanic Chambers of Commerce offer advice and assistance to Latino entrepreneurs across the United States.
The Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce became an ally to its more than 4,000 members during the 2020 global health crisis. It also assisted over 100,000 Latino businesses in the state, according to its President Jaime di Paulo.
“Despite the pandemic, we restructured ourselves and had the opportunity to help, contribute and assist the small businesses that most needed it,” he said.
The chamber more than doubled its staff in 2020, which went from seven to 18 employees, marking “significant” growth in what Di Paulo considers “the most challenging year in our history,” according to the chamber’s Annual Report.
“Our challenge is to try to counter the bad news that 30 percent of businesses are going to close. We are trying to do everything humanly possible to maintain afloat as many businesses as we can,” Di Paulo said.
“What we offer is the technical assistance necessary to help businesses survive,” he said, referring to access to capital, “because we have a direct relationship with the banks. We have events, collaborate with agencies for government contracts and help certify minority companies to access government and private contracts.”
The chamber also follows up on all the relief programs, whether for private, state or federal funds.
“A vast number of Latino businesses have 10 employees or fewer,” said Di Paulo, stressing that they might not have an accountant or the appropriate documents to submit with the applications.
“Chambers of commerce and organizations like us are key to help businesses get all the documents ready so that, when the opportunity arrives, they have real access to loans and subsidies,” he said.
The chamber created a call center for entrepreneurs last year, through which it helped about 1,000 companies. The organization’s efforts helped create or maintain 18,000 jobs, according to Di Paulo, who encouraged Latino businesspeople in Illinois to write or call the chamber for assistance.
“The only thing we are going to do is help them,” he said. “My message to entrepreneurs affected by the crisis is to approach the local, state or national chambers of commerce because we have the resources and the technical assistance necessary to stay afloat, grow their business or help them reinvent themselves, which is the key. When there is a crisis, there is an opportunity.”
To find their local chambers, Latinos can approach the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Jaime di Paulo reafirma compromiso de seguir ayudando a comunidad empresarial hispana appeared first on Negocios Now.
(Translated and edited by Gabriela Olmos. Edited by Carlin Becker.)