County Executive Robert P. Astorino in partnership with Latin Business Today, a national online publication dedicated to enabling the success and growth of Latino small businesses, hosted a Hispanic small business forum today titled “Crossroads to Customers, Capital and Contracts” at Westchester Community College’s Gateway Center last week..
The county executive kicked off the event by discussing how important small business is to our economy – both nationally and locally.
“You are the forefront of job creation and economic development for Westchester County,” said Astorino. “Thank you for your ideas, energy and hard work. Please know Westchester is here to help you in whatever way we can.”
The forum focused on Hispanic small business entrepreneurs since nearly 10 percent of all Westchester businesses are Hispanic-owned, and that number continues to grow each year.
“This is great news,” said Astorino. “It shows that the American dream is still possible, and small business is most definitely a gateway to prosperity.”
At the forum, which was free and open to the public, local business owners had the opportunity to listen and learn from a panel of experts that discussed topics based on three essentials for businesses:
- Customers: How to reach your customers and increase your business through targeted marketing and innovative solutions.
- Capital: How to gain access to capital through loans and financing programs.
- Contracts: How to secure government and private sector contracts and grow your business.
In addition, guests had the opportunity to ask questions and network with both public and private sector professionals that could help start or grow their business.
Barry Mittelman, publisher of Latin Business Today, chose to partner with the county on this forum because it was an opportunity to personally engage Latino small business owners with its mentor contributors in its home county.
“We were pleased to partner with Westchester County to help personally engage and enable the success and growth of Latino small business owners in this challenging economy,” said Barry Mittelman, publisher of Latin Business Today. “Having Senen Garcia, a member of our advisory board, leading the panel as well as other mentor contributors on the floor served our cause to support small businesses.”
The panel discussion was moderated by Garcia, an attorney, SCORE mentor, entrepreneur and Latin Business Today advisory board member.
Panelists included: Franco Cabral, senior vice president, AdCorp Media Group; Shaun Asbury, vice president, commercial lending with TD Bank in Purchase; Kim Jacobs, executive director, Community Capital New York; Elias Mendoza, vice president, Siris Capital; Jim Coleman, Minority and Women Business Enterprise liaison officer, Westchester County; and Stella Vida, CPA, principal Hart Vida Raffo.
Event sponsors included: TD Bank, platinum sponsor; PepsiCo, gold sponsor; Hart Vida Raffo, silver sponsor; Score, SBDC and Westchester Community College, contributing sponsors.