The rapid growth of the Hispanic population in the United States during the last several decades, which is projected to continue increasing in the years ahead, presents significant challenges as well as huge opportunities for our country. At the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s (CHCI) 2016 Annual Policy Conference, the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) both worked to promote business development and entrepreneurship as critical elements within in the nationwide efforts to maximize the potential of the Hispanic community and in doing so the immediate and long term global competitiveness of the entire American economy.
Serving as the keynote speaker during the closing plenary session titled, “Understanding the Hispanic Consumer,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker went beyond the discussion of what products and services Latinos consume most and the significance of their growing buying power. Secretary Pritzker emphasized the importance of supporting the growth and development of Hispanic owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Her remarks highlighted the fact that Latinos are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in the American economy, and therefore represent a talent potential critical to America’s immediate and long term success.
Within DOC’s many efforts the Secretary placed a spotlight on MBDA’s work to actively support Hispanic business growth, taking the opportunity to unveil the agency’s Inclusive Innovation Initiative (I-3)which seeks to increase minority business access to technology transfer opportunities offered by the Federal Laboratory Consortium. The I-3 is part of a concerted effort to support increased Hispanic and minority participation in the knowledge economy and the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related industries that will serve as the principal drivers of America’s economic growth in the coming decades. For minority communities to fully benefit from these rapid growth industries, and for American businesses nationwide to fully benefit from the profit potential of the growing Hispanic consumer base, it is essential to pursue inclusion in the STEM workforce as well as increased participation of minority businesses and entrepreneurs in STEM related industries.
MBDA National Director, Alejandra Y. Castillo, reinforced these ideas while serving as the moderator for the conference’s Economic Summit, which focused on Promoting Financial Literacy and Economic Empowerment for Latinos. The session brought together private sector, non-profit and association professionals to expose the many ways that their corporations and organizations are working to promote economic opportunity and growth within the Hispanic community. As moderator, Director Castillo facilitated an insightful dialogue that weaved together a wide range of topics of interest to Hispanic economic empowerment including philanthropy, community development, financial literacy programs, STEM education, business development, and resources to promote entrepreneurship.
Left to right: Alejandra Y. Castillo, National Director, Minority Business Development Agency, CHCI Alumnus; Janis Bowdler, Head of Community Development, JPMorgan Chase Global Philanthropy; Rep. Nydia Velázquez; Joaquin Nuno-Whelan, Chief Engineer, Next Generation Full Size Trucks and SUVs, General Motors; Luis Campillo, Metro Manager, Los Angeles, AARP, CHCI Alumnus; and Seung Kim, Senior Program Director, Family Income and Wealth Building, LISC
The big takeaway from DOC and MBDA’s participation in the CHCI Policy Conference is that it is essential to continue supporting Latino economic empowerment both as part of America’s increasingly technology oriented workforce and consumer base, as well as part of our nation’s entrepreneur’s innovators and business leaders. Both the DOC and MBDA will continue our efforts to promote business development and entrepreneurship in the Hispanic community and look forward to developing innovative partnerships with allies in the private, non-profit and academic sectors to help realize the maximum potential of this demographic which is so critical to America’s domestic and global economic competitiveness.
Posted at 11:09 AM