The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) National Convention took place in Chicago on Sept.15-17. One of the focuses of the convention was the state and challenges of small businesses and small business owners. Veronica Cool, Wells Fargo vice president of Business Banking and chairwoman of Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, was a Spanish spokesperson at the event, who talked to EXTRA about resources for small business owners.
EXTRA: What did you announce at the Convention?
Veronica Cool: We just announced a $700,000 grant to the USHCC training foundation. We are one of the founders of the institute. We represent 40,000 Hispanic businesses. We are on a mission to support the growing markets.
What steps can one take to open a business and what resources are out there?
Start with your local Hispanic business chamber. The chamber is your best place to start. Business owners have to be prepared, organized and have a plan.
What is the eligibility and criteria to get funding?
What we are looking for is cash flow, the ability to repay the debt. Credit – have you done this before, history of paying, capacity for paying? Is there real estate? Assets? Everything is unique to the situation.
What are some of the risks involved?
Risks are great, as are the rewards. You create legacy for your kids. You also show a Latina can do this. One of the things you learn in conferences is you build networks that connect you and make you stronger. Risks are great but can be minimized by being prepared, being organized and having a real plan.
What can undocumented immigrants that don’t speak the language do?
There are resources available. Reach out to your chamber. Identify the need. If there is no market, you won’t be successful. Know your market.
For more information, go to the USHCC website: www.ushcc.com.