Commentary: Translating Hispanic growth into opportunity 

click to enlarge David Castillo
  • David Castillo

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz in Oklahoma about all things Hispanic, and not all positive. The Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce would like to offer a perspective for optimists, entrepreneurs and the decision-makers among the masses. As the American author Napoleon Hill famously said, “Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.”

The rapid growth in our population presents our business community with particular challenges that, if approached effectively, can translate to market share as well as revenue. Since 2000, the Hispanic Chamber has been empowering its members and associates with an arsenal of tools. This is not exclusive to Hispanic business owners, as some might assume, but for any business that needs to reach the Latino market.

Yes, the chamber offers startup business counseling, and yes, it has a wealth of knowledge to help with getting businesses permits and getting them into compliance. But it’s also specialized and affordable compared to private agencies, because the chamber team helps navigate the Hispanic landscape in Oklahoma.

In the next few years, if companies of any size are to seize the opportunities provided by growth of our demographic, they will need to have a comprehensive way of engaging the Latino community that goes beyond translating an ad or hiring a bilingual receptionist.

Getting involved is how communities prosper and progress to meet the unique needs of the people and businesses that are important to them.

» The chamber offers demographic and cultural expertise via an on-call consultant who can quickly access and interpret stats and trends to strategically reach the Latino audience.

» Advertising, promotions and public relations offer a turnkey solution with exclusive pricing throughout Oklahoma media outlets in both English and Spanish languages.

» The networking opportunities allow access to executives, community leaders and consumer audiences in Oklahoma.

» Food industry workforce certification includes a Spanish-language course and exam coordinated directly with the Oklahoma Health Department.

» Events deliver a year-round calendar with thousands in attendance, both for business and community.

Later this year, the chamber will unveil its new headquarters. There also will be new workshops from key experts on topics such as Hispanic media consumption and buying power.

A capital campaign is in progress to raise the $300,000 for the purchase of the headquarters, of which $40,000 has already been donated. Tinker Federal Credit Union was the first with the largest donation of $25,000.

Mike Kloiber, president and CEO, told me why the company donated: “For many years, the Hispanic Chamber has been highly instrumental to our organization in reaching the Hispanic community. This is true for all businesses in the Greater Oklahoma City area that serve this important community. The decision to support them in this campaign was natural. I strongly encourage everyone to step forward with their support and be recognized as strong supporters of the chamber’s efforts to serve this vital part of our local economy.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the value of community involvement and business development through the Hispanic chamber may call 616-5031 or email david.castillo@okchispanicchamber.org.

Castillo is executive director of the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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