A new non-profit chamber of commerce group launched Friday will be the region’s first to focus on Hispanics and other minority groups.
The Albany-Capital Region Hispanic and Minority Chamber of Commerce puts the region in the company of areas like Sacramento, Calif., and Chicago, Ill., which have similar groups.
Membership applications and brochures were on hand Friday evening at the Somos El Futuro Conference at the Albany Crowne Plaza, an event that aimed to increase participation in public policy issues.
ACRHMCC President Zaida Morales, a local Realtor, said the chamber is currently reaching out to leaders in each of the Capital Region’s counties.
Morales said despite the fact that the Hispanic business community is on track to grow 41.8 percent to 4.3 million merchants nationwide in the next six years, according to estimates from HispanTelligence, not enough Hispanic-owned businesses are considered for state contracts.
“It seems only a measly 2 percent of contracts are being allotted for Hispanic-owned business and that’s just the projects the public is made aware of,” Morales said. “If the community doesn’t know about the projects, then they can’t bid. If no one represents the community, they will never know what projects they are eligible for, or even how to attain one. And if the community doesn’t know the process, they will never have a chance.”
George Clark, ACRHMCC’s chairman, said he’s experienced such a problem firsthand.
“The reason why my company, Lucid Solutions Group, was not given the opportunity to bid for a state contract that a Texas-based firm was considered for is quite simple — there was no one to tell me about the opportunity, and there was no one to tell the state about me.”
The new chamber is recognized by the New York State Federation of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Morales said local members will have access to educational workshop, seminars, procurement services, financial literacy programs and other services.
Morales can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 505-4604 for more information about the chamber.