“When provided with resources, our businesses do deliver,” says GPHCC President & CEO Jennifer Rodríguez
During the 2023 GPHCC Annual Meeting, Jennifer Rodriguez had the opportunity to highlight the Chamber's past year of growth — and the numbers are telling.
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In the words of Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Jennifer Rodriguez, Latino businesses across the region have faced “unprecedented circumstances” over the past 3 years.
As those businesses have had to pivot and navigate the challenges of a global pandemic, the Hispanic Chamber has had to find innovative ways to help those businesses.
In true Hispanic fashion, the Chamber’s staff showed its tenacity and resilience to come out of the pandemic better than before.
“At the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we strongly believe that entrepreneurship is a viable and valid tool for creating wealth and improving the well-being of Latinos in Philadelphia,” added Rodriguez.
This is why the Chamber is committed to helping the thousands of Latino-owned businesses throughout the region.
On Tuesday, March 28, the GPHCC hosted its Annual Meeting, to highlight some of its many accomplishments toward supporting the growth and development of Hispanic-owned businesses since the start of the pandemic .
In 2021, the Hispanic Chamber partnered with the African American Chamber, Asian American Chamber, and Independence Business Alliance to formally launch the Diverse Chambers Coalition of Philadelphia.
Together, the diverse chambers successfully advocated for reducing the BIRT and wage taxes for businesses.
“For the first time in many years,” said Rodriguez.
The Diverse Chambers Coalition of Philadelphia conducts regular surveys on small business owners to determine what specific conversations need to be had with elected officials and policymakers.
“They formed the basis of our State of Hispanic Business agenda at the Hispanic Chamber and the basis of the advocacy that we did,” Rodriguez added.
The restaurant industry has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, from no-indoor dining to labor shortages and inflation.
To help offset the initial blow of the pandemic, GPHCC introduced Dine Latino, an initiative to help promote Latino restaurateurs across the region.
April 3-7, 2023, will mark the sixth iteration of the initiative, in which 26 local Latino-owned restaurants will be participating at no cost.
“Unlike other restaurant weeks around the city that charge certain fees for participating, we believe that our mission is to promote restaurants and we make it as easy and frictionless [as possible] for them to join the effort,” said Rodriguez.
Accelerate Business is another testament to the work of the Hispanic Chamber.
Launched in 2019 under the name Accelerate Latinx, the program provides seven months of training to help Latino-owned businesses scale, create jobs, and contribute to the economic success of the region.
So far, 26 total businesses have participated across the four cohorts. Within those 26 businesses, 110 jobs were retained and 13 additional ones were created in 2021 — a full pandemic year.
Moreover, 88% of those businesses were deemed profitable.
While the pandemic resulted in the loss of 40% of businesses owned by Black and Latino entrepreneurs, the aforementioned numbers tell a different story.
More recently, the Hispanic Chamber launched Build Latino to provide emerging entrepreneurs in the construction industry with the fundamentals and practices to help them succeed.
In 2022, 46 total entrepreneurs graduated from one of the Hispanic Chamber’s programs.
All of these programs, and the numbers that help support the impact say one thing.
“When provided with resources, our businesses do deliver,” said Rodriguez.