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News & Press: Chairman's Message

Chairman's Message: February 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Dear members and friends,


Earlier this month the MDHCC was made aware of the Partnerships for Lending in Underserved Markets (PLUM) initiative, thanks in part to Roger Campos, Assistant Secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and Eduardo Hayden, Small Business Outreach Manager for the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs. The PLUM initiative is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Milken Institute and it is being rolled out in Baltimore after a very successful implementation in L.A., where the program targeted Hispanic and African American-owned businesses.

This program is meant to increase access to capital to underserved communities. As it stood before the MDHCC got involved, PLUM was going to include only the African American Community. I, along with leaders from the Governor's office, the Baltimore Mayor's office, and other community advocates, met with the principals from USSBA and Milken Institute via conference call to learn more about the program and find out why Hispanics and other minorities were being excluded from the program. We offered our complete support and participation to lead the charge in working with the Hispanic community and Hispanic small business owners to play an important role in this initiative in Baltimore.

In the latest planning meeting, we were able to expand the scope of PLUM to include Hispanics and other minorities, and were able to appoint Hispanic leaders to be in various subcommittees while I will be serving in the steering committee. While we were able to mold how this initiative will be rolled out in Baltimore, this scenario underscores an issue that we see too often throughout the State: the fact that Hispanics and Hispanic Businesses are left out of the negotiating table.

We will remain true to our mission and make sure that, whenever Hispanic businesses are not included in discussions or initiatives such as PLUM, we will unite with one voice to ensure that our community’s and businesses’ needs are heard loudly and taken into consideration. There will be more information about PLUM and how your business can participate as the tactical rollout is finalized and executed in the coming months.

Lastly, we had a fantastic inaugural Membership Orientation and Economic Outlook Breakfast on February 24th with over 25 new members attending. Our quarterly breakfasts are open to new members and existing members alike and provide information about the Chamber, our partners, and our programs, including BAM (Business Advocacy and Mentorship). This new program will offer our members customized mentorship, advocacy, and business matching assistance and we invite you to attend our Q2 breakfast in April to learn more about BAM and other opportunities with the MDHCC.


Jorge Eduardo Castillo
Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

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