Perhaps the adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” might be re-purposed to reflect the support budding entrepreneurs welcome upon starting a new venture. Conceivably, it takes a community to cultivate a business. To loosely paraphrase a recent commentary from Inc., the magazine responsible for chronicling growing companies, Community is a must have in your tool box to nurture a nascent or successful business. Resulting benefits include knowledge transfer, the acquisition of new business expertise and networking, networking, and networking to name just a few.
Throughout our 20-plus years of conducting a global enterprise we have been lucky enough to count a host of indispensable communities as contributors to our accomplishments. Ranging from family and friends to government and corporate partnerships, these communities have afforded us the opportunity to constructively mature our organization.
Last month, I enthusiastically participated in an annual event sponsored by one of the most vital members of SDI’s extended community, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC). The USHCC is not only the largest Hispanic organization in the United States, but it advocates on behalf of over 3 million Hispanic-owned enterprises. Annually, these Hispanic-owned companies contribute nearly $500 billion to the American economy. So, it should be of no surprise how particularly meaningful to me, as the leader of a Hispanic-owned company, to partake in the USHCC’s yearly Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C.
The Legislative Summit enables attendees to engage in constructive events like round table discussions and training sessions. Additionally, attendees can network with members of Congress, the White House, and heads of regulatory agencies — all leaders who acknowledge the significance of small and minority-owned businesses.
Throughout the 3-day summit, breakout sessions included an array of relevant topics including immigration reform, women in business and leadership, engaging the public in the information age, and accessing capital for small businesses.
One of the highlights of the Legislative Summit was the Breakfast on the Hill, a working session on Capitol Hill allowing USHCC board members the opportunity to meet and speak with senators and members of Congress. Board members also engaged with select speakers to discuss subjects relevant to the economy, local and foreign policy, and legislation; all of which impact Hispanic-owned business and the Latino demographic in the United States.
As a board member, and chair of the USHCC’s Audit and International committees, I also had the distinct honor to meet with and welcome United States Senator Cory Booker to this Breakfast on the Hill. We were also joined by distinguished congressional members John Lewis (Georgia) and Senator Charles Schumer (New York). Senator Booker spoke about the enormous impact the sizable Hispanic population has on his home state of New Jersey, and followed up with a discussion on the need to empower this demographic: to expand opportunities, business and the economy.
Much was accomplished during the week, with ample time allocated for work sessions, engaging exchanges and repartee. And the concluding session? The annual gala, the summit’s closing festivity. Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to next year’s summit!