Y2K Marks Beginning of "Century of the Hispanic"

The next century will be "the Century of the Hispanic community," according to Ruth Sandoval, deputy director for minority business development at the U.S. Commerce Department.

Sandoval delivered that grandiose proclamation during the U.S. Hispanic Chamber’s annual convention in San Diego last week. Few at the event seemed to disagree with her.

George Herrera, president and chief executive officer of USHCC said Latino consumer spending is estimated at about $350 billion annually. "Our message is simple: If we buy from you, you can buy from us. We want true reciprocity. This is not a handout.

"If our community is good enough to purchase their products and services, then we want to make it know that our community is also well situated to help facilitate produced delivering into the marketplace."

About 8,000 people were scheduled to attend last week’s four-day convention, including representatives from 250 Hispanic chambers of commerce nationwide. The convention also featured a business expo with about 200 exhibitors.

"More and more for businesses, if you're not involved with e-commerce, you're left out," U.S. Small Business Administration chief Aida Alvarez, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Federal studies show that there are about 1.4 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States with annual revenue of about $200 billion.

The group’s new board chairman is Ray Arvizu, president and chief executive offer of Arvizu Advertising and Promotions in Phoenix, and the vice chairwoman is Elizabeth Lisboa-Farrow, president and chief executive officer of Lisboa Associates, a public relations firm in Washington, D.C.

During its convention last week, the USHCC also elected new regional board members: Hector Barreto, Tina Crdova, J.R. Gonzlez, Nestor Fernndez, George Franco, Edgar Clinton, and Jos Ignacio Gonzlez.

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