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THE U.S.HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE KICKS OFF ITS 32ND ANNUAL NATIONAL CONVENTION IN MIAMI BEACH
Thousands of companies from around the United States are represented in what is called the “largest networking venue and exhibition for Hispanic businesses and Fortune 1000 companies interested in the Hispanic market.
Miami Beach’s iconic Fontainebleau Hotel provided the ideal backdrop for the grand opening ceremony of the nation’s largest gathering of Hispanic business leaders: the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 32nd National Convention & Business Expo. The organization’s President and CEO, Javier Palomarez, welcomed the evening’s guests and dignitary who arrived inSouth Florida early to attend the special event
The opening reception, designed to introduce South Florida and local public officials to more than 5,000 USHCC members, exhibitors and sponsors from around the country, featured a host of VIP guest speakers, presented by Gabriel Pascual, President of Miami-based Iberica International Corporation, USHCC board member and local Chairman of this year’s convention. Among them was Mr. Roberto R. Muñoz, South Florida Regional Executive for BBVA Compass Bank, one of the conference’s sponsors; Robert Jones, senior official in the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic; and David Hinson, Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).
Director Hinson spoke about the Obama administration’s new Jobs Act and urged Hispanic entrepreneurs and business executives in the United States —representing 31.8 million Mexican-Americans, 4.6 million Puerto Rican-Americans, 1.8 million Cuban-Americans and 11 million Hispanics from other origins— to seek guidance and assistance from his agency, a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce, whose mission is to “actively promote the growth and competitiveness of large, medium and small minority business enterprises (MBEs).”
“We have got to put Americans back to work and we’ve got to do it now —and to do this, we have to support the Hispanic worker while unlocking the job creating capabilities of Hispanic-owned businesses.” David Hinson, National Director, Minority Business Develpment Agency
It is very important that the Hispanic business sector and government join forces at this time, he said emphatically, since recent studies by the Pew Center indicate that “Hispanic families in America have lost nearly 66% of their net worth during this economic downturn. What that means today is that the average Hispanic family now has a net worth of $6,235, compared to the average net worth of the average American family, which exceeds $113,000.”
“We have got to put Americans back to work and we’ve got to do it now —and to do this, we have to support the Hispanic worker while unlocking the job creating capabilities of Hispanic-owned businesses,” he said, as he invited attendees to visit his agency’s business development centers in their hometowns.
“I going to issue a challenge to all of you: I want each and every one of you and the companies you represent to come to Washington to meet directly with me or members of my senior management team to discuss the specific things the federal government needs to do to grow your business. My e-mail is email@example.com; my phone number is 202-482-2332.”
As the event’s keynote speaker, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), welcomed the crowd to his hometown in English and Spanish, he expressed his honor in addressing “a room full of job creators, people who actually create jobs. I work in a city (Washington) where a lot of the people in politics believe that they actually are the job creators, when in fact what it’s always taken to create jobs in America is people like you: with a good idea, a willingness to risk, and whatever money you can copple together to make it happen.”
Senator Rubio said that the issues that Hispanics face today as a community are the same issues that the nation faces.
In the opening ceremony of the 4-day event, keynote speaker Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) encouraged thousands of “job creators” to guide the nation back to its days of leadership and prosperity.
“The nation of job creators is witnessing and confronting the most difficul economic problems in the modern era of our country,” he said. “There’s a lot of talk about what government can do to help create jobs and opportunity. People want to hear something novel, unique and different, but the reality is that the basics of economic growth have been unchanged. The American free enterprise system has provided more opportunities than any economic system in the history of the world —and these are the things that I hope that we will re-embrace again as a nation.”
Among the issues that Senator Rubio believes may receive bipartisan support in Congress and will help jump start the economy are tax reform (“not simply about tax cuts, but creating a tax system that is fair, easy to undertand and possible to predict”); regulatory probe (where “cost of compliance is not so high that people decide not to do business in this country”); energy needs (the cost of energy “is a real cost of doing business; we need policies that encourage economic energy innovation and independence for the U.S.”).
“The 21st century holds extraordinary promise for the Western Hemisphere… and for the whole world, but particulary for the US.” Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Senator Rubio also addressed the strategic relevance of investing in education: “The lifeblood of any economic system is a qualified and motivated workforce, and that begins with us, number one, by placing a premium on education as a cultural value.”
He concluded his participation by calling attention to the major role that international trade has on South Florida’s —and the nation’s— recovery and prosperity.
“The 21st century holds extraordinary promise for the Western Hemisphere… and for the whole world, but particulary for the US. Imagine the growing number of nations with people prosperous enough and secure enough to trade with us and to buy the things that our children and grandchildren will invent and hopefully build. That’s the promise of free trade agreements. That’s the promise of political and economic policies that this nation can undertake with seriousness of purpose, rededicate ourselves to growth economic and political in the Western Hemisphere in this century.”
The final speaker of the evening, Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower thanked the USHCC for selecting Miami Beach as the headquarters for this year’s convention and joined Nina Vaca-Humrichouse, USHCC Board Chairperson in declaring the 4-day conference and exhibition officially “open for business.”