USHCC nat’l conference puts Puerto Rico in spotlight as investment destination
Orlando, Fla. — Puerto Rico is becoming more attractive to Hispanic businesses as they see and explore new opportunities targeting Hispanic consumers, many attendees noted at the recent annual conference of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) in this Central Florida city.
The three-day conference, which took place for the first time in Orlando under the leadership of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando (HCCMO), gathered more than 1,000 business owners, entrepreneurs, officials, members of national organizations and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce representatives, professionals across the nation, and many from Puerto Rico looking to expand their businesses to Florida. Meanwhile, major companies in Florida are planning to expand to consumers on the island.
One participant was Javier Adames, vice president of JCQ Services in Orlando, who is very interested in expanding services to Puerto Rico and came to this event with this vision.
“We have quite strong ties with Puerto Rico because most of our workforce comes from the island, from different sectors; we carry Ponce in our hearts,” the Venezuelan executive said, while recalling a trade mission to Puerto Rico with the HCCMO and falling in love with the people and the opportunities there.
“We had the opportunity to meet and share with entrepreneurs from the south, when several plans were discussed. And the truth is that we are very happy to be able to participate, and we keep the conversations going and hope to have in the future something we can participate in,” Adames said.
This year’s theme, “The Future is Now: Elevating Latino Businesses for Tomorrow,” explored how Hispanic businesses can leverage technology, innovation, sustainability, diversity and inclusion to thrive in the rapidly changing and competitive global market.
The event also showcased best practices and success stories of Hispanic businesses that are leading the way in their respective fields and industries. The USHCC is the largest Hispanic business organization in America, representing more than 4.7 million Hispanic-owned businesses that contribute more than $800 billion to the U.S. economy annually.
The USHCC is dedicated to promoting the economic growth, development and interests of Hispanic entrepreneurs and professionals across the nation.
Ramiro A. Cavazos, president of the USHCC, and Gaby Ortigoni, president of HCCMO, brought the event to this dynamic region.
Ortigoni said it had been a great event and was pleased to see the connections and big plans for Hispanic businesses and confirmed the demand for organizations doing business between Florida and Puerto Rico.
“In this conference, we have seen how many Puerto Rican companies, which have also participated, have connected with many corporations at the national level and it’s very important to see that not only small businesses are growing but also the participation of these companies in contracts with national corporations,” Ortigoni said.
Adding that Florida is a great market, he stated, “We have seen very great interest in Puerto Rico because of the connectivity and the proximity; we have constant relationships with businesses and families in Puerto Rico. As I always say – and I know that everyone knows it – Puerto Rico has already become an extension of Orlando, and Orlando one of Puerto Rico. We, as a chamber, promote business union, not only strengthening the economy of Central Florida but also Puerto Rico through these alliances.”
Meanwhile, Nicolas Cardona, eCommerce director of Genomma Lab-Internacional, acknowledged the impact of Hispanic consumers during his participation in the event.
“Our brands are Hispanic; we are bringing a portfolio seeking greater distribution in the United States, and the truth is that, in Puerto Rico, we have solid and large distribution. We’re looking to expand our business on the island,” he said.
Premier event for Hispanic business leaders
The USHCC National Conference is the premier event for Hispanic business leaders and innovators, bringing together thousands of attendees from several sectors and industries to network, learn and celebrate the achievements and contributions of the Hispanic community. The conference features keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops, award ceremonies, business expos, and more.
Some of the speakers and panelists featured at the conference include Jamila Gilbert, an astronaut and senior manager at Virgin Galactic, who shared her insights and received a big ovation.
“Seeing our planet is obviously an amazing and unique experience as a human being, and we are all connected. You can see the planet, and it’s blue, with no boundaries, no limitations, and it’s our home,” she said.
Manuel Meléndez, vice president of NUC University Online Education, expressed enthusiasm for the future of entrepreneurs and professionals pursuing higher education to achieve their dreams in Puerto Rico, Florida, Illinois, Texas and New York, where most of the students go through online education with Spanish classes.
“This convention is interesting to understand the Hispanic demographic and how it moves in the states. For us as an institution that is in Puerto Rico, it’s very important to understand what the needs of our Hispanics are, who is directing the decision-making, understand what these Hispanics want in programs, and thus develop appropriate programs for them,” he said.