I am writing to share my excitement about my recent meeting with both Chicago mayoral candidates.
As you know, Latinos are currently the biggest minority group in the U.S., one that continues to grow socially and economically. Especially after the pandemic, when against all odds we saw Latino-owned businesses growing in 2021 and 2022.
Latinos are economically strong in the state of Illinois. As of 2021, this group makes up around 17% of the state’s population and contributes over $100 billion to the state’s economy annually. Supporting them brings better business opportunities and a stronger economy for all.
Latinos have been creating new businesses at a much faster pace than other racial and ethnic groups over the last decade. This growth has been made possible largely by the resilience and the hard work of our community.
Through many years, the Illinois Hispanic Commerce Chamber (IHCC) has been dedicated to help minority-owned businesses, especially Latino-owned, to grow, thrive, and succeed through access to government contracts, technical assistance and financial resources.
Likewise, government leaders have looked at IHCC as a vital resource to support Latino businesses. My meeting with both Chicago mayoral candidates is a testament to the importance of our work and the influence we have as a community.
When Latino-owned businesses succeed, they not only create jobs and generate economic growth, but they also contribute to the overall health and vibrancy of the local economy, which can benefit residents of all backgrounds. Additionally, supporting minority-owned businesses can help to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the community, which is an important goal for many people and organizations.
Hispanic-owned businesses are seeking financial fuel for their growth. As we approach the mayoral race for the city of Chicago, it is time for the Latino community to mobilize and participate in electing officials who will continue to support Latino-owned businesses.
Our work is now more critical than ever. We need an economy that continues to help those who seek to thrive, especially through difficult times, and for that we need effective politicians, with a vocation for public service and willing to solve problems.
As I met with Paul Vallas, and Brandon Johnson, I learned that both are passionate about our city. I have high hopes that the elected candidate will implement innovative mechanisms that allow the development and strengthening of our community.
The upcoming election on April 4th is a critical opportunity to support the growth and representation of the Latino community in Chicago’s leadership. We need a leader who recognizes the challenges facing our community and is committed to addressing them.
Specifically, we need to ensure that at least 30% of leadership positions are filled by individuals who prioritize the needs of the Latino community. It’s essential that the new mayor of Chicago acknowledges and values the power of our community.
As for us, we are committed to advocate and provide world-class assistance to all Latino businesses and entrepreneurs. We will continue to amplify the voice of Latino businesses at all times.
We invite you to come to the IHCC to discuss our priorities and our ecosystem for business owners and entrepreneurs.
—Jaime di Paulo, President & CEO of IHCC