Marion County projects are diversifying their labor pool. None more notably than IU Health’s new $1.6 billion hospital campus, awarding 25% participation in design and construction projects to certified veteran-, women-, and minority-owned businesses. Indy Hispanic business owners now more than ever have the opportunity to gain more insider insight at an imperative time.

According to a Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative report, 86% of Latino-owned businesses in the United States felt immediate, negative impacts from the pandemic last year. With many Latino-owned enterprises falling in the service, retail and hospitality, trade, and transportation industries, that rate is higher than other ethnic groups. Unfortunately, with these working sectors among the most brutally hit by COVID, Latino-owned businesses are looking for a way to grow and thrive after this crisis. 

In addition to being hit hard, Hispanic entrepreneurs seeking help had a more difficult time than their non-Hispanic counterparts when requesting COVID assistance in PPP federal loans. If you are part of the Latino business community, the Indy Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council can provide resources, access to capital, and, most importantly, exclusive access to supplier diversity projects like that at IU Health.

I’ve been in the Indy community for 22 years now, and I was fortunate enough to learn about the Hispanic Business Council early in my Hoosier life. In that time, I have established community-based, tight-knit relationships in the Hispanic business environment that are an asset for education, training, and, most importantly, resources. There are many opportunities for people to access resources, but knowledge of where to go for those resources is not always explicit. That’s why the Indy Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council prioritizes the Conexión event series.

The Hispanic Business Council will host Conexión virtually on Wednesday, Aug. 18, from 7:30 through 10 a.m. I want to emphasize that Conexión is more than a networking opportunity. It is a platform that creates a space for Hispanic business owners to have a seat and a voice at the table. With the announcement from IU Health about its supplier diversity program, more Hispanic and Latino entrepreneurs can prepare to do business with a $1.6 billion hospital project.

The supplier diversity program at IU Health’s transformative new hospital campus creates opportunities that Hispanic-owned businesses have not traditionally received. Conexión is where opportunity meets success.

As chairman of the Hispanic Business Council, I took this role to support the Hispanic business community and help create opportunities for Hispanic and Latino entrepreneurs to achieve success. The best way we provide those opportunities is through the Conexión event series.

The Indy Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council is committed to advocating for Hispanic entrepreneurs to access new business opportunities. Conexión demonstrates how crucial Hispanic and Latino entrepreneurs’ socioeconomic contributions are to the city, region, state, and nation. Diversity programs and their social and commercial impacts represent an opportunity to fight against racial discrimination actively, create economic opportunities, and enhance businesses.

For the Latino business community — one that has embraced entrepreneurship fully — their trademark resilience may be the winning ticket. And the Indy Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council is waiting to escort them to their seat at the table, knowledge and resources in hand.

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