News Column

DC Expo Highlights Financial Clout

March 14, 2013

Rebecca Villaneda -- HispanicBusiness.com

Hispanic male shopping

Citing increased growth in the Hispanic population and its spending power, the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC) announced its fourth annual Business Expo: Connections, Opportunities and Growth. The free event is slated for April 2 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

One in eight residents in the greater Washington metro is Hispanic, wielding financial clout that is expected to increase from $15.5 billion in 2010 to $33.8 billion in 2020, organizers said. The GWHCC further reports that Hispanic enterprises in the Washington area increased by 53.5 percent between 2002-2007.

Hispanic-owned small businesses are experiencing an uptick in traditional industries, such as construction and janitorial services, but the most notable increases within the greater Washington area are in technology and government contracting, said Angela Franco, GWHCC president and CEO.

"Every day, more organizations are realizing the value in reaching out to the Hispanic (enterprises). This is why we created the expo four years ago," Franco said. "We wanted to create an event where participants and attendees could connect with the area's Hispanic business community, find procurement opportunities at a local and international level, and grow their businesses -- all in one place."

The expo's 2012 attendance increased by 260 percent and exhibitors by 143 percent compared to 2010, according to Franco. This year, the organization expects 2,000 attendees and 110 exhibitors.

The expo aims to create alliances between government agencies, corporations, embassies, nonprofits, small businesses and local Hispanic community members. Highlights of the expo are technical assistance, education in the certification opportunities and the business matchmaking session.

The GWHCC hosts procurement opportunities, including events and seminars with corporations that are hiring Hispanic companies.

"This year we are doing two business matchmaking sessions, because we've seen that companies are really interested in getting connected with Hispanic businesses and we educate our members on how to qualify to do business with these companies," Franco said, adding that the nonprofit also lists opportunities from other counties on its website.

For more information on the GWHCC's annual business expo, visit www.gwhcc.org.


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