Hispanic Chamber Promotes Community
By Ivan Alvarez for the Tulsa World
The Tulsa Hispanic Chamber’s mission is to promote the success of Hispanic-owned businesses by facilitating business relationships, economic development and sharing knowledge for the benefit of the Tulsa business community and the growth and success of the members of our chamber.
In a 2017 Geoscape study measuring business activity, Hispanics in the U.S. were 1.5 times more likely than the general population to start a business. Sales from Hispanic-owned businesses contributed more than $700 billion to the U.S. economy in 2017 — a 32 percent increase since 2012.
We also aim to help non-Hispanic businesses by helping them understand the Hispanic market.
Consider this: In 2016, immigrants were 6.7 percent of Tulsa’s population and accounted for 27.9 percent of overall population growth in the Tulsa area. With an estimated spending power of $1.1 billion dollars, it only makes sense to start thinking about the Hispanic community.
According to the American Immigration Council, the Hispanic Community accounts for approximately 50 percent of the immigrants in Tulsa. There is a real potential to tap into an exciting and dynamic marketplace, and that’s what the Tulsa Hispanic Chamber aims to do. It goes beyond simply translating written material to Spanish but further helping to understand spending trends and nuances of customer and brand loyalty.
Ultimately as we pave the way for the future of this community, our vision is for the Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to be a valuable and trusted resource to our members, corporate and strategic partners. This will benefit not only Hispanic-owned businesses, but also non-Hispanic owned businesses by establishing the Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as the premier advocate for a thriving and diverse business community in Tulsa.
In case you missed it, we had a tremendous 2018, here are some of our 2018 milestones: We saw a 36 percent membership increase, partnered with Dolores Huerta Elementary School, graduated the second Hispanic Leadership Institute, sold out Tango Nights and hosted more than 15 events.
At the Hispanic Chamber, we are confident that 2019 will be our best year yet. It’s an exciting time for us; we have a mayor who is reaching out to our gente (people) and new leadership at the state level that understands the Tulsa immigrant business community. Just as exciting, we are re-energized and looking forward to exciting new programs and events.
A few add-ons to watch for: We are planning an educational workshop series, an ambassador program, health awareness events, luncheons, a 2019 gala and more.
At THCC we believe 2019 will be a great year for the Hispanic businesses. We have companies such as Coast to Coast Motors that have expanded to six locations in Oklahoma and will continue to grow in 2019 with new locations for both Tulsa and OKC.
Supermercados Morelos now has eight locations in Oklahoma — four in Tulsa and four in Oklahoma City. According to owner Francisco Ibarra, Supermercados Moreloswill continue to grow as demand permits. This is bound to happen because of the tremendous growth of the Hispanic population in both metropolitan areas. Mr. Ibarra is working with city of Tulsa to make sure all needs are covered.
And both of these companies and many others are working together with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to address the needs of the Hispanic community.
It’s an exciting time to be in Tulsa. So many people are moving into the city because of the construction boom/expansion and the new initiatives of Mayor G.T. Bynum’s office. The New Tulsans Initiatives in conjunction with The Gateways For Growth Challenge that allowed the city to develop a multisector welcoming plan to remove barriers and assist Tulsa with immigrant integration were key ingredients.
But people are also finding Tulsa because of its geographic location, right in the heart of America making it a central metropolis and very accessible. Tulsa is a very friendly, warm and diverse city.
The Tulsa Hispanic Chamber is a partner, advocate and the biggest cheerleader a business has. We welcome and encourage people to engage with us in one of our many committees, events and activities. Please be sure to check out our new website at tulsahcc.com.
Ivan Alvarez was born in 1961 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Nicaraguan parents. Alvarez has spent 25 years working in business development, marketing and sales. Alvarez has helped the community as a volunteer disaster relief manager for the Red Cross, as a leader in his church program Love Thy Neighbor and as an executive board member for the Hispanic Chamber for six years. He became president and CEO in January 2018.