Latino leaders launch new business organization

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Latino business owners in the Pikes Peak region are banding together to form their own business council.

The effort is an outgrowth of local business leaders and owners that came together to discuss how to build a resource and support system for Latino-owned businesses in the community.

Colorado Springs business owner Anthony Perez introduced the new organization at the January Latino Community Luncheon. He, along with help from co-founders Gene Sanchez, Steve Sanchez and Cory Arcarese, organized the council. They are on the board of directors, which also includes Elizabeth Mota, Kym Welton-Vallejos and Longinos Gonzales.

Perez is a motivational speaker who owns Success is a Language. At the luncheon, Perez, Carmen Abeyta and Arcarese outlined the organization, which obtained its nonprofit status last year.

“I saw a void in our community that needed to be filled,” Perez said. “I noticed there is a large section of our community that is unseen, not heard and underserved, and that needed to be corrected, right away.” Latinos comprise 15 to 17 percent of the population, he said. The business council will not only help Latino businesses launch and grow, but will help all businesses serve one another’s needs as consumers.

“We’re here to be an advocate for those business owners — Hispanic, Asian, black, white, it doesn’t matter, because we’re about community,” Perez said.

“The organization is a grassroots effort to unite our small businesses and Hispanic-owned businesses, offering training courses in the coming months,” Perez said. “We’re rolling out everything in phases. The first phase will be in the first quarter and we will offer some training programs to the community.”

The organization has a website, CHECS.business that is published in both Spanish and English. The acronym stands for Concilio Hispano de Empresas de Colorado Springs. The website is for people looking for work and business owners looking for new opportunities.

On the website, job seekers can upload resumés and business owners can list job openings. Likewise, it’s a good site for businesses seeking to hire people from the Latino community or people who are bilingual, Abeyta said.

The community is made of people with strengths in different categories, Perez said. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses, the business leaders can share knowledge with each other, he added.

“There’s a lot of people out there that don’t know we exist, that don’t know they should be here, that don’t know the opportunities. It’s our job to get that information out to those folks,” Perez said.

The office is located at 1050 S. Academy Blvd., Ste 140, and its phone is 432-7006.

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