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Latino Chamber taps Hispanics’ growing business potential

The Latino Chamber's 2011 gala featured a lively dance demonstration. This year, tango is on the agenda.

The Latino Chamber's 2011 gala featured a lively dance demonstration. This year, tango is on the agenda.

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If there was one lesson to be drawn from the recent presidential election, it was that America’s demographic landscape is not just changing – it’s changed.

Nowhere was the population shift more evident than in the Latino vote, which helped swing the election to the incumbent and served notice to all concerned that this was a voting bloc that had to be reckoned with.

“Our culture has a tradition of being creative and putting that creativity into starting and developing business opportunities.”  – Julia Arata-Fratta

Indeed, in all walks of life – business included – Latinos are helping to remake the culture, the zeitgeist, and the economic climate, and they’re celebrating their newfound influence in their own unique ways.

That, of course, includes the tango.

On Nov. 30, the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County – or the Camara Latina de Comercio, to many of its members – will host its fifth annual gala dinner at the Madison Concourse Hotel. In addition to a keynote by Madison College’s Maria Banuelos, the event will feature a demonstration of one of Argentina’s and Uruguay’s most renowned cultural exports. Indeed, it’s an exhibition that Chamber President Julia Arata-Fratta in particular is looking forward to.

“Since I am originally from Argentina, I am very proud of celebrating this country and showing the rest of the community what tango is about,” said Arata-Fratta.

A helping hand

Of course, community outreach is part and parcel of the Latino Chamber of Commerce’s mission these days. While the organization’s primary focus remains the Latino community, the gala is open to the broader business community as well, as are the chamber’s wide range of business programs and resources.

Those services, says Arata-Fratta, are crucial to many Latino business owners, who are often somewhat behind the curve when it comes to best practices in their adopted home. The need to close that gap became clear to Arata-Fratta, a tax accountant with Wegner CPAs, as she began working with members of the local Latino business community.

“One of the biggest [challenges] is that they need to improve their current business practices,” said Arata-Fratta. “They need to know how to do business here – when they organize a conference, how they should do it. They need education in that area.

“It’s different in each country how you organize your company, how you do these things. So they need to learn how to do business in this land, how to get access to the Anglo market, how to do marketing outreach, how to use social media, how to manage a Facebook account. Other challenges are, like every business right now, getting access to a line of credit.”

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