Washington, DC--(HISPANIC PR WIRE)--January 25, 2006--The USHCC Foundation released a Request for Proposals (RFP) yesterday, accepting applications from USHCC affiliated local Hispanic Chambers of Commerce for 19 available grants of up to $20,000 each. The program is funded by the AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc.
The grant program is designed to provide technology infrastructure resources necessary for small, start-up businesses to get off the ground by eliminating initial technology-related overhead expenses. Incubation projects will provide resources such as computers, access to the Internet, office space, business-related services, and a network of contacts.
There are currently an estimated 2 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners. It is projected that by 2007, 1 out of 10 businesses will be Hispanic owned. Not only are Hispanics the second largest population in the country, but Latinos and Latinas are starting businesses at faster rates than any other segment of the population.
“With such a rapid rate of business start-ups among Hispanics, many entrepreneurs may not be able to acquire access to technology resources through their own means,” said Laura Sanford, President of the AT&T Foundation. “The Casa Cyber program is founded on the idea that technology skills are vital in enabling businesses to reach their full economic potential. Our grant to the USHCC Foundation reflects our shared commitment to programs and services that serve the Hispanic community.”
Incubator programs have a strong track record of success. The National Business Incubator Association (NBIA) reports that businesses graduating from an incubator have up to an 80% greater success rate than companies not receiving benefits of an incubation program. “The incubator setting will give entrepreneurs the support and guidance they will need to nurture and grow their business idea into a functioning business,” said Frank Lopez, President USHCC Foundation. “These incubators will enable the USHCC Foundation to carry on its commitment to entrepreneurship and fostering business development while bringing much-needed technology resources to each community.”
In light of the extraordinary circumstances caused by Hurricane Katrina, an initial grant was given to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana, waiving the competitive application process for them. The USHCC Foundation in conjunction with the AT&T Foundation will select the remaining 19 local Hispanic chambers of commerce to operate the proposed incubator projects. Each chamber will work with the USHCC Foundation to implement, manage and sustain the projects and begin to grow businesses that will be able to contribute to the economic stability, growth and success of the chosen communities.
Grant recipients will be announced on April 28, 2006. For more information on the Casa Cyber incubation initiative, visit the USHCC Foundation Web site at http://www.ushccfoundation.org.
About USHCC Foundation
The USHCC Foundation is committed to the advancement of the Hispanic community’s economic development and entrepreneurship skills through the empowerment of Hispanic-owned businesses, growth of the Hispanic chamber of commerce network and promotion of life-long learning experiences for Hispanic youth and entrepreneurs. The Foundation’s broad-based approach is coupled with a proactive strategy, which is reflected in the diverse number of USHCC Foundation-driven programs created to reach constituencies of all age groups and needs. More information about the USHCC Foundation and the USHCC is available at http://www.ushccfoundation.org.
About AT&T Foundation
The AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc., supports programs that build communities and improve access to information technologies, technology training and professional skills development. The new AT&T Foundation will provide more than $60 million in 2006 in charitable contributions, thereby placing it among the top five largest corporate foundations in the country. The new AT&T Foundation combines over forty years and $1.7 billion of philanthropic commitment to communities across the country.
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