Commonwealth Corporation recently hosted a Latinx-Owned Businesses Roundtable event in Springfield. The event, hosted at UMass Amherst Center in Springfield, was part of the #LeadTheChange campaign to support Minority-Owned Businesses in the state of Massachusetts and provided an informational forum and networking opportunities.

Speakers at the event included industry professionals and business leaders Josiane Martinez, Jesus Garcia Mota, and Pedro Sanchez. Martinez is the founder and CEO of the Archipelago Strategies Group and has worked in public policy, cross-cultural communication, and public affairs for more than twenty years. Mota, who has served as Boston’s Citywide Latino Liaison since 2019, is a PowerUp Business Outreach Coordinator for Amplify Latinx. Sanchez is the president and founder of BlueX as well as a coach for the Latino Economic Development Corporation.

Pedro Sanchez, a local business owner and one of the speakers at the event, emphasized the importance of community and the feeling of togetherness that pervaded the event. Sanchez, a resident of Western Massachusetts, said that the event was proof that, despite the obstacles that small business owners face, “together, we can make it.” When asked about the most impactful part of his experience at the event, he mentioned that this was the first time in his memory that an event like this was held in Western Massachusetts. To Sanchez and to many of the other attendees, the fact that the networking event was held in Springfield and focused on Latinx-owned small businesses gave the community a “stamp of approval” and the confidence to continue with their entrepreneurial endeavors. “It was an honor,” says Sanchez. “It was great to be a part of it and to see the beginning of something great,” he added.

Partners for the Latinx-Owned Business Roundtable included EforAll Holyoke, the Latino Economic Development Corporation, the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, ALPFA Boston, and Supplier Diversity Office (SDO). These organizations have supported Latinx small business owners over the years and have worked to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion through workforce development ventures.

In the United States, minority-owned businesses (MBEs) contribute substantially to the economy. In addition, minority-owned businesses are growing at a faster rate than non-minority firms. However, there are many barriers to success for these businesses. These barriers range from language and cultural barriers to a lack of existing credit lines, all of which make it difficult for minority entrepreneurs and business owners to access critical funds and resources. Commonwealth Corporation is working to change the landscape of entrepreneurship for minority business owners, and the Latinx-Owned Business Roundtable Event is just one way that Commonwealth Corporation provides opportunities for minority entrepreneurs.

Commonwealth Corporation’s goal is to exemplify its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through concrete actions such as this event series. DEI work is central to our mission, and we seek to create collaborative community partnerships that center around these values. For more information about CommCorp’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, please visit these resources on our website: https://commcorp.org/dei/ & https://commcorp.org/about/strategic-plan/.