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News & Press: Chairman's Message

Chairman's Message: August 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Dear members and friends,


It sure feels like August! Please be sure to register for our 30 Year Celebration taking place on September 15th at the Federal Reserve Board of Richmond in Baltimore: Thank you to Dave Beck and his team for being such great partners to the MDHCC. Tickets are limited, so make sure to register early. I also want to let our members and friends know that the position of Event Committee Chair has opened up. This is a key position for our Chamber as the chair will oversee all the event planning and strategy for our organization. If you or your company are experienced and successful event planners and are interested in learning more please contact me directly at

As the Democratic National Convention (DNC) closed and we moved officially from the primaries into the national election, I was again disappointed with the lack of strategic specifics for small businesses, including those that are minority-owned. Save for the notion that entrepreneurs who have school loans could be absolved of those liabilities for three years while they are starting their business and a vague “tax code simplification” promise we have heard before, specifics were lacking.

Although the DNC was decisively more inclusive (there were at least a dozen Latinos who delivered speeches and who represented a wide spectrum, from actors and elected officials, to Anastasia Somoza who was born with cerebral palsy, and who has been a disability-rights advocate and inspiration since she was just 9 years old), it still did not deliver the specifics we need regarding Hispanic-owned businesses. However, there was mention of the need for visas for entrepreneurs to come to the U.S. to start their businesses and the Democratic front-runner is proposing a “start-up visa program.” Currently, the U.S. has no visa program that allows someone to come from another country to start their business here, even if they are serial entrepreneurs and have been wildly successful .

As the new report, “The Contributions of New Americans in Maryland” by the New American Economy finds, immigration is irreversibly intertwined with economic development. 26% of all entrepreneurs in Maryland are immigrants. By increasing entrepreneur visas we would be jolting our local, regional and national economy.

The conventions gave us a glimpse into how each party views and values diversity, immigration and inclusivity as the engine of economic development and innovation by virtue of their delegates, speakers and voter base:


Our right to vote is one of the greatest gifts of our forefathers’ legacy. No matter which way you lean, I encourage everyone to exercise this right.






Jorge Castillo


Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce


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