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Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce’s Latino Business Excellence Awards Gala a chance to “celebrate everything Latino in Wisconsin”

Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce celebrates at their annual Latino Business Excellence Award Gala. (Photo by Hedi Lamarr Photography)

The Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 Wisconsin Latino Business Excellence Awards Gala, titled Tributo, will be a chance to “celebrate everything Latino in Wisconsin” on Saturday, Aug. 13, 6-11 p.m. at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.

“It’s going to be a wonderful celebration. We miss our members and we miss just the opportunity to highlight our businesses and all the resiliency that’s happened since COVID. And we have some great stories to tell this year,” Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce CEO Jessica Cavazos tells Madison365.

Jessica Cavazos, president and CEO at The Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce

“The event is called Tributo – tribute in Spanish – a tribute to business excellence, to business owners and also to the contributions of the Mexican diaspora in the United States …that’s going to be the focal point,” Cavazos continues. “So it’s going to be an exciting day of celebration because we have had like a three-year hiatus without having a grand gala [due to COVID]. For us, it’s really one of the ways that we bring unrestricted funding for programming, which is really important, and helps us help our small businesses in different ways.”

The gala will also be a chance to present awards to a variety of individuals, groups, community partners and small businesses. The 2022 Gala Awardees list includes:

  • Youth of the Year: Alison Hernandez Araiza from El Gran Taco Gato
  • Corporate Partner: Monona State Bank
  • Community Partner: Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
  • Emprendedor del Año: Hector Rivera with Rivera Construction
  • Emprendedora del Año: Kattia Jimenez with Mount Horeb Hemp
  • Incubator of the Year: Alice Good LLC
  • Legacy Award: La Comunidad News LLC
  • Change Agent: Kim Garber with Wisconsin Procurement Institute
  • Gateway Award: Marjorie Rucket,
  • Ethnic and Diverse Business Coalition
  • Family-Owned Business of the Year: Los Amigos

The keynote speaker will be Ambassador Claudia Franco Hijuelos, the Foreign Ministry Appointment of the Mexican Consulate Milwaukee.

Claudia Franco Hijuelos

“We’re excited that we’re going to have a wonderful VIP reception, too, so people can network and so we can get people back into the mode of celebrating the gala,” Cavazos says.

This the 13th annual Gala and the 19th year of the organization, which was founded in 2003 with the mission to maximize economic development and job creation through advocacy and programs that generate success and value for our Latino and non-Latino business community.

“Next year we are going to be turning 20 and we are already looking forward to that. I feel like 20 years is a big deal and that we’ve become a mature organization at that point,” Cavazos says.

Part of that maturity will be a new building for the Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce which will help the organization increase its reach, hire more staff, and to support those businesses in most need within Latino communities around the state. Gov. Tony Evers awarded the Latino Chamber of Commerce a $3.4 million grant from the state’s Diverse Business Assistance program earlier this year.

“With the new building and the acquisition of the property, everything with the Chamber has been really busy,” Cavazos says. “It’s just been a very busy time of year. Not only do we have the capital campaign that we’re going to kick off at the gala but we have to coordinate more support.”

This year, Cavazos adds, small businesses have really come out to support the Latino Chamber.

“Normally we have large corporate sponsors that are out there investing in the chamber and our events, but this year it’s amazing how small businesses really got us through and so this gala is not only to honor small businesses but it’s also funded by and propelled by small businesses,” she says. “There’s over 60 small businesses that sponsored our gala this year.”

Cavazos says that she is expecting more than 700 people at the event. There are still a handful of tickets left. 

“It’s a community based event and it’s a lot of fun,” Cavazos says. “A lot of the ‘who’s who’ of Madison is going to be there like [Boys and Girls Club CEO] Michael Johnson, [U.S. senatorial candidate] Mandela Barnes, and Mayor Satya [Rhodes-Conway] along with local Latino leaders like [Centro Hispano Executive Director] Karen Coller and [Latino Academy Directr] Baltazar de Anda Santana.

At the 2022 Wisconsin Latino Business Excellence Award Gala, there will be a special presentation by Mariachi México Internacional and Ballet Floklórico de María Díaz will perform during dinner. After the program, live entertainment will be provided by Grupo Zubia and DJ Chiquilin.

“The annual Gala is a night to celebrate everything Latino in Wisconsin,” Cavazos says. “We are just excited to be able to produce such a wonderful event and also to be able to not only celebrate Latino business success but also the growth and the fact that Latinos are the fastest growing demographic opening businesses nationally … and that in Wisconsin, it is no different.”