The California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce will convene Wednesday in San Jose, with a focus on harnessing social media and other information technology to help recover Latino job and business losses from the recession.
"Since 2008, we've taken a big hit," said James Duran, chairman of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley and a Campbell businessman.
He said the number of Latino-owned businesses in the state has dropped from a peak of 720,000 several years ago to about 600,000 today even as the state's Latino population surged to 14 million during the past decade. Duran also cited a recent national study showing that Hispanic households have lost 66 percent of their wealth since 2009.
"We'll be talking some about that, because that's terrible," he said.
About 1,000 people and dozens of companies are expected over the three-day convention at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel near Mineta San Jose International Airport. The conference offers a mix of how-to workshops for business owners, a political speech or two, panel discussions on the economic climate and casual timeouts for networking, including a golf tournament Wednesday morning.
Duran's Silicon Valley chamber is one of 65 local Hispanic chambers that belong to the state organization, which represents the largest group of ethnic businesses in California.
The scheduled keynote speakers are Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Catherine
Sandoval of Campbell, a member of the California Public Utilities Commission and associate professor of law at Santa Clara University.
Newsom will deliver the welcoming address Thursday morning and is expected to talk about the economic plan he unveiled in late July. Sandoval, along with state Assemblywoman Nora Campos of San Jose, will speak at the luncheon the same day.
A theme of the workshops, Duran said, is the use of information technology to create new Latino businesses and grow existing ones.
"It's a good time for us to get into entrepreneurial endeavors," he said. "We are heavily getting into the social media, like Facebook, for business purposes."
The largest attraction typically is the expo, where conventioneers can chat with representatives from more than 100 businesses, government agencies and trade associations.
Another crowd pleaser is the "business match making" sessions. Duran said 40 big local companies, including Cisco and PG&E, have agreed to meet Latino businesses in position to sell them something they need.
"There's a whole game, a ritual you have to play in order to win contracts," Duran said.
Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.
If You Go
Chambers of Commerce 32nd Annual Convention
Aug.10-12 at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel, 2050 Gateway Place, San Jose, CA 95110.
Cost: $285 members; $385 nonmembers
www.cahcc.com for registration information and schedule of events
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