Home Madison Latino Business Excellence Awards Will Highlight Impact Latinos Are Making Locally, Nationally

Latino Business Excellence Awards Will Highlight Impact Latinos Are Making Locally, Nationally

Members of the Latino Chamber of Commerce celebrate at a previous annual Latino Business Excellence Awards.

“The annual Latino Business Excellence Awards is a night where we will really embody the essence of Latino business ownership and really talk about the impact Latinos are making nationally,” says Jessica Cavazos, president and CEO Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County. “The fact that 17 percent of all new businesses in the United States are now Latino businesses – that’s a huge chunk. One out of every six businesses are going to be Latino-owned.”

The Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County (LCC) will be hosting its 15th annual Latino Business Excellence Awards on this Saturday, March 16. It’s the premier fundraising event that strengthens partnerships between those we collaborate with and are part of the Latino business community in south-central Wisconsin.

Jessica Cavazos, president and CEO of the Latino Chamber of Commerce

“It’s great for me to be able to talk about the changing face of entrepreneurship and changing face of those who are now ready to take on that next level of impactfulness in their communities,” Cavazos tells Madison365. “There’s nothing more impactful than owning a business and giving back to your community.

“The Latino Business Excellence Awards is a celebration of art, culture, and definitely business excellence through the uniqueness and hard work that our Latino business owners have created in building their businesses,” Cavazos adds. “There’s a lot of excitement at this event from the moment you walk in.”

Each year, the Latino Chamber celebrates the wonders of Latino culture, art and business by paying tribute to a different country of Latin American origin. Last year, it was Brazil and this year the event will showcase the Greater Spanish Antilles, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

The Gala is a key signature fundraising event for the Latino Chamber that starts with a networking reception at 5 p.m. and includes Afro-Caribbean drummers, Salsabrosas dance group, door prizes and fund.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers will be in attendance and he will be speaking to the audience.

“We’re really excited to have the governor there and looking forward to hearing what he has to say,” Cavazos says. “This is the first major Latino event that he will be speaking at so we are excited to have our governor celebrate with us.

“We have close to 600 people attending so that’s the biggest audience we’ve ever catered to,” she adds.

The Latino Chamber will recognize six businesses that are doing great things in the community along with organizations that support Latino entrepreneurship. They include:

◆ UW-Heath/Unity Point Meriter/Quartz, who will receive the Corporate Leadership Award
◆ SCORE will be recognized as Community Partner of the Year.
◆ Veronica Martinez, owner of San Antonio Mexican Food Restaurants in Wisconsin Dells, will be honored with the Innovativa Award, as the women-owned business that is breaking barriers.
◆ Carlos Alvarado, co-owner of Alvarado Real Estate Group, will be recognized with the Catalyst Award as Latino Entrepreneur of the year.
◆ The Legacy Award will be given to Juan Perez, owner of La Rosita Mexican Food Store, as the Latino Business of the Year.
◆ LCC’s New Start-Up of the Year, goes to Juan Diaz from Everest Ducts and Hood Cleaning, as recent graduate of the chamber’s incubator program, for his hard work, dedication and motivation.

The Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County is a 501c (6) non-partisan organization formed in 2003 to represent the Latino and non-Latino business community in South Central Wisconsin. The Chamber promotes the interests of its members and community through advocacy and programs that have a positive impact on regional economic growth.

Membership is up, Cavazos says, adding that the Latino Chamber now has 320 members and growing.

“We have this organic growth spurt that’s going on with the Latino Chamber that is very exciting. It’s just so exciting to be a part of it,” she says.

“We don’t even advertise and we have people coming in all of the time – sometimes from two hours up north, people coming from Beloit, people coming from Fort Atkinson,” Cavazos adds. “Geographically, our blueprint has grown so, for us, it’s been an intense growth spurt.”

The Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County

Last month, the Latino Chamber filed to be a 501c3 non-profit under their new foundation that is going to be called the Wisconsin Latino Economic Development Center.

“We are hoping to start out small and build a headquarters here in Dane County where businesses from all over the state can come and get information and learn how to scale and develop their strengths and grow their businesses,” Cavazos says. “We have a unique partnership with Madison College where we will be able to use all of the different Madison College satellite locations around central and south-central Wisconsin where we can do some of their Spanish-speaking entrepreneurship classes.”

“There’s been so many wonderful collaboration with community groups willing to support the Chamber and interact with our businesses,” she adds. “It’s just been amazing. Our members are able to take advantage of a great economic ecosystem.”

The annual Latino Business Excellence Awards – Noche Tropical – will be a chance to meet other Latino entrepreneurs and professionals but also a time to learn more about everything the Latino Chamber does.

“I think my favorite part of the event is to see people from all over the state and even from Chicago,” Cavazos says. “The reception before the Gala is one of my favorite things. It’s a chance to hob-knob with everyone and just to see the excitement of old faces and new faces.”