WASHINGTON, DC – March 26, 2015 – (GLOBE NEWSWIRE â€“ HISPANICIZE WIRE) — The Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce celebrated its sixth annual Business Expo at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on March 24th from 9am to 7pm. During the Ribbon Cutting ceremony, Roger Campos, Business Ombudsman with the Office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, presented a proclamation to the GWHCC in recognition of their success and the Expo’s sixth anniversary. The Expo attracted more than 1,800 participants including 150 exhibitors and more than 60 sponsors and partners.
“For the Chamber, it’s all about helping our Hispanic small businesses. Just in the business matchmaking this year, we had more than 60 meetings between buyers and suppliers”
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Attendees during the ribbon cutting ceremony included: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton; Congressman Albert Wynn; Mayor Muriel Bowser; DC Councilmember at-Large Vincent Orange; Arlington County Board member J. Walter Tejada; Roger Campos, Business Ombudsman, Office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan; Ben Wu, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Business and Economic Development, Office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan; Lillian Cruz, Deputy Director of Constituent Services for U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen; Ambassador of El Salvador, Francisco Altschul; Keny Yamileth Lopez de Zuleta, Consul General of the Consulate of El Salvador; Leonardo Quintero Cristancho, Consul General of the Consulate of Colombia; Jose Carlos Mendoza Sanchez, Consul General of the Consulate of Mexico; Monica Palacio, Director at the DC Office of Human Rights; Ana Harvey, Director of Department of Small and Local Business Development; Jackie Reyes, Director of the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs;
Nicholas Majett, Chief Administrative Officer, Prince George’s County Government; Jayson Williams, Vice President of Strategic Alliances, Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation; Natalia Olson-Urtecho, Regional Administrator for Mid-Atlantic, US Small Business Administration; Elliott Ferguson, President and CEO of Destination DC; Kathy Hollinger, President and CEO of Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington; Mila Kofman, Executive Director of DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority; Greg O’Dell, President and CEO, Events DC and presidents of local chambers of commerce in the DC metro area.
“The Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has become a leading regional business organization with the Business Expo as its premier event for Hispanic businesses to connect, network and grow locally, nationally and internationally,” said Mario Acosta-Velez, GWHCC Chairman. “Our Chamber’s commitment is to continue to help Hispanic businesses move forward and succeed. We look forward to another successful Expo on March 15, 2016,” he added.
The event featured speed networking, business matchmaking, workshops, an international row showcasing 15 companies from Latin America looking to import their products and services to the U.S., and the Million Dollar Club panel presenting five Hispanic millionaires who shared how they started their business and the challenges they faced.
“For the Chamber, it’s all about helping our Hispanic small businesses,” said Angela Franco, GWHCC President and CEO. “At the Expo, we provide a powerful platform that offers tools and resources for Hispanic and District businesses to grow, including matching businesses with organizations and companies to help start their business, obtain certification, gain access to capital and meet with potential buyers for their products and services. Just in the business matchmaking this year, we had more than 60 meetings between buyers and suppliers!” she added.
The Expo concluded with a reception during which the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Chairman Ignacio Veloz gave remarks and joined leaders from the local business community and Hispanic organizations in celebration of the successful event.
On March 25th, the GWHCC launched the International Symposium “Trade among the Americas” with over 150 participants and prominent speakers. The event gave an overview of the economy in Latin America and how small businesses can invest south of the border through existing free trade agreements.
“We are pleased that the GWHCC International Symposium was able to provide participants with a current perspective of trade relations and investment opportunities in our hemisphere,” said Syddia Lee-Chee, GWHCC Board Member and Chair of the International Initiative. “We believe in the importance of connecting local businesses with international opportunities,” added Lee-Chee.
Thank you to our 2015 sponsors: Presenting Sponsors: Pepco, Exelon; Presenting Partners: DC HealthLink, Department of Small and Local Business Development; Presenting Media: LatinaSTYLE, Telemundo, El Zol; Gold: Erie Insurance, EventsDC, Kaiser Permanente; Internet Cafe: Verizon; Lanyard: Microsoft; Life Development: AARP; Health and Wellness: Providence Hospital, Walgreens; Workforce Development and Education: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; Exhibitor Lunch: DC Office of Human Rights; Sign: Gelberg Signs; Business Matchmaking: My Business Matches, M&T Bank, Walmart, Sam’s Club; International Row: PADF; Partners: Freddie Mac, BizLaunch, PGCED, Saval Food Services, Washington Gas, DC OLA; Media: Latin-e, El Tiempo Latino, Hispanos Sin Fronteras, Washington Hispanic, Univision, El Pregonero, Latin Opinion, Asi Es Mi Gente, NTN24, Consumidor Hispano, Washington Business Journal, Latinas in Business, Somos Baltimore/Mundo Latino, Armand Hugon.
Pictured from left to right: Luc Brami, Gelberg Signs; Natalia Olson-Urtecho, US Small Business Administration; Carlos A. Romero, Salvadoran American Chamber of Commerce; Jayson Williams, Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation; Ana Harvey, Department of Small and Local Business Development; Melissa Sherrod, PEPCO; Nicholas Majett, Prince George’s County Government; Mario Acosta-Velez, Verizon, GWHCC; Harry Wingo, DC CHamber of Commerce; Angela Franco, GWHCC; Greg O’Dell, Events DC; J. Walter Tejada, Arlington County Board; Rev. George E. Holmes, President Barack Obama’s National African American Clergy Leadership Working Group, DC Democratic State Committee; Mila Kofman, DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority; Roger Campos, Office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.