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MIDJersey Chamber Breakfast Forum Provides Outreach to Hispanic Businesses

Trenton, NJ – March 8, 2017 – The MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce (MJCC), the state’s oldest Chamber of Commerce and fifth-largest, held “Challenges Facing the Hispanic Business Community” breakfast on Wednesday, March 8. Executed specifically by the Hispanic Business Council, the event involved a panel discussion comprised of Marco Gonzalez, Jr., Jeanette Iglesias, Dr. Francisco Javier Villota, Henry Pulido, Ileana Schirmer and moderator William Pazmino. Panelists and attendees participated in a lively discussion on how to progress local Hispanic businesses, addressing essential topics such as business establishment, cultural adversity, business mechanics and marketing.

The event took a kick-start when moderator William Pazmino of the Regional Business Assistance Corporation (RBAC) asked panelists what they considered to be the best practices for starting a business. Marco Gonzalez Jr. a lawyer with Nicoll Davis and Spinella LLP, a Paramus-based law firm, discussed the importance of creating a solid business plan. Aspiring business owners often lack the direction and resources they need to advance their company, and indeed, each panelist stressed the necessity of being well-informed to the market’s demographic, financial and legal regulations and relevant areas. Mr. Gonzalez also explored the inner-workings of an established business, discussing financial support, employee regulations, technology and social media and the factors that affect this.

Addressing cultural adversity, it was emphasized that language barriers often serve as a deterrent to Hispanic-business owners. Ileana Schirmer, a Hamilton Township Councilwoman, said, “That’s the problem with the Hispanic community, they don’t venture out. And it’s because they feel intimidated and more comfortable in a Spanish-speaking environment.” Despite these challenges however, Jeanette Iglesias, President of JI Coaching & Consulting, LLC, stated, “It’s not about whether you speak English or Spanish. What you need to focus on is what tools do you need to run a successful business?” Indeed, while the learning-curve is steep, Iglesias empowers business owners, saying, “Whatever culture you are from, it’s about showing up.  Get into a room and talk to people. You can’t do it alone.”

The mid-Jersey economy is contingent on the growth of all its businesses, and thus empowering its immigrant entrepreneurs serves as a fundamental and growing endeavor. Robert D. Prunetti, President and CEO of the MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce, stated “We believe that we should serve a market that is open to all businesses. Creating a diverse and dynamic economy is what we are here for you to do.” 

The Challenges Facing the Hispanic Business Community breakfast was sponsored by Wells Fargo, NJM Insurance Group and RWJBarnabas Hospital Hamilton. The MJCC is conducting a Hispanic Business Council Educational Series to provide further information on the development of Hispanic businesses, and the next event will work to strengthen insight into building a business plan and “Business Basics” on April 26.

About MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce

For 149 years, the MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce has represented and supported the diverse Central New Jersey business community through growth-driven solutions and services. The Chamber unites the region with a common goal of collective economic, social and cultural growth, and serves as a hub for business resources and valuable relationships. Please visit www.midjerseychamber.org for more information.

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