Chicago, IL (HINA) – – The Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) hosted their virtual December meeting with a special message from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot centered around the work of the IHCC during the COVID-19 pandemic and the current economic crisis. Through new and renewed partnerships, the IHCC increased job creation and retention, conducted a number of webinars and virtual training sessions for hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners, accumulated thousands of extra hours of service, and assisted thousands of individuals through virtual programming.
“In January of this year, nobody could have anticipated everything that would happen in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ensuing economic crisis required creativity and the very best of us to work beyond the conventional and that is exactly what we did,” said Jaime di Paulo, President & CEO. “As a result of the extensive planning and commitment of the entire IHCC team and Board of Directors, we were increasingly prepared for what would come. We responded effectively in the most challenging year in our history as an organization.”
“We need to take a moment to celebrate the recent developments of a vaccine that has begun to be distributed, which, hopefully, is the beginning of the end of this horrific virus that has taken many lives and impacted us in so many ways,” said Juan Gaytan, President, IHCC. “The IHCC Board of Directors is made up of business owners and entrepreneurs who have all been hit hard, we have been meeting throughout the pandemic to come up with prioritization and business assistance lists. I am thankful and grateful to the entire IHCC team who worked tirelessly to assist Latino businesses throughout the State of Illinois manage through the COVID-19 economic crisis.”
In 2020, the IHCC created and retained 18,092 total jobs. The number of jobs created and retained increased 42 times compared to 2019. This increment was mainly due to the IHCC’s rapid response throughout its programs: Illinois SBDC, Illinois PTAC, SBTRC, Illinois Tollway Technical Assistance Program, and the Cook County COVID-19: Small Business Assistance Program. The IHCC’s assistance to small businesses to access financial resources increased by 315% from 2019 and totaled $88.1M. This is the total dollar amount of contracts awarded, revenue growth, business loans from the Small Business Administration, private lenders, business grants, and others.
Working true to our motto, “We are here to help,” the IHCC accumulated 14,716 total hours working on phone calls, video conferences, counseling sessions, and other services for hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners. In addition, the IHCC conducted and participated in 445 bilingual webinars and virtual training events increasing events periodically to inform business owners and entrepreneurs about recent financial resources available to help during the pandemic. The total number of events increased by four times, compared to 2019. Lastly, nearly 11,000 individuals, doubled from 2019 were assisted this year through the IHCC’s programs. The total number includes clients counseled, applicants assisted, LatinX incubator participants, Webinars attendees, and other people outside the organizations who received help from IHCC.
The 2020 Virtual December Meeting included remarks by Ramiro Cavazos, President & CEO, USHCC, and a Panel Discussion with Betsy Ziegler, CEO, 1871 and Luisa Castellanos, Co-Founder & COO, Science. The meeting was sponsored by Crown Castle and American Airlines.
The IHCC’s mission is to cultivate knowledge, connections and collaboration to effect transformational social change and achieve sustainable economic impact through entrepreneurship. To read the entire 2020 Annual Report, click here.