Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Montgomery County’s statement on the New Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation



Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Montgomery County’s statement on the New Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation


 The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County (HCCMC) congratulates the new board members to the newly established Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation. The HCCMC looks forward to working closely with the new organization to ensure the needs and priorities of Hispanic businesses, particularly the growing number of Hispanic owned small businesses, are met.  We will be carefully reviewing this inclusion as the board makes decisions in selecting leadership and key personnel.  The lack of representation at the Board level of Hispanic owned small business is concerning to us, because it is a very important factor in the economic development in this County in particular, and in the ability to inspire and motivate youth as they seek careers and futures in a very diverse community.  Hispanic representation in the new body is extremely important.  Equally important, the HCCMC urges a strong focus on supporting the growing number of Hispanic-owned small businesses which are fundamental to our growth as a county and as a community.The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation board is comprised mainly of large business representatives from key economic sectors, surely intended to bring the influence necessary to attract and retain investment in the region.  Even though Hispanic small business representation is blatantly absent, it is our hope that the Board will be mindful of ensuring new opportunities for Hispanic-owned suppliers and the contracts let to larger businesses will require such participation. 

The HCCMC is concerned that the large business focus evidenced by the representation on the Board may result in under-valuing the relevance of the growing number of small businesses in the county.  We hope the newly established Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation will build on the great strides made by the County for small business inclusion in procurement and in policies, and that the Board will be mindful of the relevance and importance of programs and policies that provide fair access to opportunities and not unduly burden small businesses, particularly minority owned small businesses, with administrative paperwork and costly processes that discourage fair competition.  Many of our constituent businesses are experiencing rapid growth and contribute greatly to innovation and prosperity in the community. We look forward to working with you to achieve goals of mutual interest.


The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County (HCCMC) is the Gateway to Hispanic Business in Montgomery County, Maryland. Established in 1998, and with a growing membership and sponsor network, the HCCM is an IRS 501c (6) nonprofit business organization. Multiple programs support the growing community of Hispanic business and those who serve the Hispanic market in the county.

Semana de los pequeños negocios “walk and meet” en Langley Park, MD. La semana del 4 al 8 de mayo se conoce como la semana de los pequeños negocios en Estados Unidos.


Julie Rios Little-especial para El Tiempo Latino | 5/5/2015


La semana del 4 al 8 de mayo se conoce como la semana de los pequeños negocios en Estados Unidos y en el Condado de Montgomery vale la pena reconocer el esfuerzo de organizaciones como la Cámara Hispana del Condado de Montgomery y la Asociación de Pequeños Negociantes de Langley Park, quienes se han unido para ayudar a numerosos empresarios del área a desarrollarse adecuadamente. Con las famosas caminatas ‘walk and meet’, ambas organizaciones recorren la zona de Langley Park y conversan con los emprendedores acerca de sus retos y como mejor asistirlos. –

“Con estas caminatas visitamos a los negocios, les hacemos una entrevista para comprender mejor sus necesidades y poder apoyarlos y defenderlos mejor” comenta Mayra Bayonet de la Cámara Hispana durante su visita al camión de comida Antojitos Salvadoreños. Jorge Sactic, dueño de la panadería Chapina Bakery y Presidente de la Asociación de Pequeños Negociantes de Langley Park nos explico que existe mucho desconocimiento de los procesos y derechos por parte de los comerciantes inmigrantes. Un problema grave que enfrentan es el elevado costo de los alquileres. “Nos dimos cuenta que muchos carecían de conocimiento y encontraban varios obstáculos y sufrían de abusos. Dueños de edificios, por ejemplo, han hecho firmar a los negociantes contratos de renta que sobre favorecen a los propietarios y muchas veces dejan a los emprendedores en la ruina” dijo Sactic. La asociación que Sactic preside provee apoyo a los negociantes de todo el corredor internacional que se encuentra entre dos condados Montgomery y Prince George’s. “Estamos entre dos jurisdicciones y eso complica las cosas y se está presionando para que los concejales que representan ambas áreas trabajen en conjunto. Nosotros como comunidad hemos aportado bastante. Tenemos casi 3 décadas aquí, hemos creado una actividad económica muy grande y en ese intercambio tienen que ponernos atención” afirmó. Un punto en el que ambos condados deberán trabajar en equipo es la construcción de la línea morada. El Presidente del Concejo de Montgomery, George Leventhal, apoya el desarrollo de la línea morada pero está consciente que podría ser difícil para los pequeños negocios. “Pienso que el gobierno tiene la obligación de ayudar a los comerciantes con un poco de asistencia financiera o de otras maneras, como asistencia técnica durante la transición” aseveró Leventhal. La Cámara Hispana del Condado de Montgomery y la Asociación de Pequeños Negociantes de Langley Park brindan oportunidades para que los comerciantes hispanos se informen, organicen, y articulen sus prioridades ante los gobiernos locales. – See more at: http://eltiempolatino.com/news/2015/may/05/hablemos-del-walk-and-meet/#sthash.6YOdqobI.dpuf


The Voice of Wheaton Businesses

 With the Support of the Mid County Regional Services, The Latino Liaison for the County Executive and The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Montgomery County-Tu Cámara; a new association of Business owners has born… It’s name “The voice of Wheaton Businesses”.
Thanks to Radio America and The show “En Sintonia con el Concejo de Montgomery” for the information delivered to the community in regards of this good news.

Minimum Wage Bill Signing by Governor Martin O’Malley

Photo Courtesy od The Executive Office of The Governor 
Vowing to strengthen Maryland’s middle class, Gov. Martin O’Malley signed legislation Monday that will gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour — his No. 1 legislative priority for the last of his eight years in office.
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun6:07 p.m. EDT, May 5, 2014

The measure was among more than 200 bills the governor signed into law at a State House ceremony. Others included a ban on the sale of most grain alcohol, reforms to Baltimore’s liquor board and expansion of the city’s needle-exchange program to prevent AIDS.

O’Malley hailed the minimum-wage bill, which will begin raising the current $7.25 minimum wage in January, as a victory for Maryland’s working families.

“It is not fair, it is not right, it is not just” for Marylanders to have to work 16-hour days while raising their children in poverty, O’Malley said.

The governor was joined at the signing ceremony by U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, representing President Barack Obama, who is advocating an increase in the federal minimum wage to the $10.10 level that Maryland will reach in 2018.

Perez, a former member of O’Malley’s Cabinet, praised his home state as an “incubator of innovation.”

“This will be good for Maryland business, good for Maryland workers and a good example for the country,” Perez said.

Winning passage of the minimum-wage bill at the level Obama supports, even with the compromises needed to get it passed, gives O’Malley something to brag about as he turns his attention to a possible run for president in 2016.

Within minutes of the bill signing, O’Malley’s federal political action committee sent out an email over his signature urging supporters to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter and “tell Congress to do the same for all Americans.”

The minimum-wage legislation passed over the opposition of most of the General Assembly’s Republicans and some of the state’s leading business organizations. Opponents contend that by raising the cost of labor, the legislation will place a burden on small businesses and cost jobs.

Perez, however, said he had recently visited Washington state, which has the highest state minimum wage in the country. He said business leaders there told him the policy had been good for business.

“When you put money in people’s pockets, people spend it,” he said.

Maryland will join 21 states that, along with the District of Columbia, have set a rate above the federal minimum wage. Only Connecticut has adopted a rate as high as $10.10, effective in 2017.

The Maryland law will phase in the increase, raising the minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $8 Jan. 1 and $8.25 on July 1, 2015. Subsequent increases will bring it to $8.75 on July 1, 2016, $9.25 on July 1, 2017, and $10.10 on the same date in 2018.

The ban on the sale of high-potency liquor applies to beverages with an alcohol content of 95 percent and higher. The measure had the support of many college educators, who have been alarmed by the effects the high-strength liquor has had on students.

“The immediate impact is that when students come back to college in August, they will no longer be able to get grain alcohol,” said Jonathan Gibralter, president of Frostburg State University.”Hopefully, there will be fewer transports to the emergency room. Hopefully, there will be less harm toward college students because this product is no longer available.”

Joshua Snider, a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park who testified in support of the bill, said he’s seen how quickly grain alcohol can get people drunk. “I’ve seen people getting so drunk they fall on their heads and crack their skulls open,” he said.

The Baltimore liquor board bill will give City Hall greater oversight of the agency’s finances and sets higher ethical standards for board members and employees. The needle exchange measure will remove the restriction on the number of clean syringes needles the city can dispense to drug users. The current law limits the transactions to a one-for-one exchange. Proponents of the bill said removal of the limit would make the needle exchange program more effective in preventing the spread of AIDS and other diseases through the use of shared syringes.

O’Malley handed his allies in organized labor a victory by signing legislation extending the prevailing wage for school construction projects to all that cost more than $500,000 and receive at least 25 percent of their funding from the state. Opponents of the bill contend that the measure will raise the cost of school construction.

Not on the signing list was a bill that would delay — and possibly block — development of a wind farm in Somerset County because of a concern that tall turbines could interfere with radar across the Chesapeake Bay at the Patuxent naval air station in St. Mary’s County. The governor has not decided whether to sign or veto the legislation, spokeswoman Nina Smith said Monday. The bill is opposed by clean energy advocates but supported by powerful Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation.

[email protected]

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-minimum-signing-20140505,0,3271200.story#ixzz31RDvBfuL

Get Free Money for your Business with SBIR/STTR Grants!

May 13 8:30 AM

Small Business Innovation Research Funds / Small Business Technology Transfer Research Funds (SBIR/STTR) are the number one technology venture funding for American inventors, start up enterprises, and early stage small businesses. Phase One grants can provide up to $150,000 and Phase Two grants can provide up to $1,000,000  depending on the awarding agency. Montgomery County’s Business Innovation Network is pleased to announce the kick off of a new SBIR center in Germantown, MD to help Maryland businesses apply for, win, and manage these types of grants.

The Maryland SBIR Resource Network’s purpose is to educate small business owners to help them receive seed funding capital from the government and to develop and commercialize their technology or scientific products. We’ll be hosting training classes throughout the year to help businesses move through the grant process as agency deadlines occur. For more information about SBIR/STTR please visit www.sbir.gov.

With SBIR & STTR, inventors and small businesses can:

1.      Fund innovative, high risk, early stage projects to start or expand a business

2.      Receive funding quickly — in as little as 4 months from application

3.      Apply for funding with very little paperwork, time or effort

4.      Retain full ownership of their technology & intellectual property

5.      Retain full equity ownership

6.      Retain cash for operations

7.      Receive additional, active support for business planning, commercialization and private venture capital acquisition, funded by the government at NO COST TO OWNERS.

8.      Establish a bid-advantaged, sole-source marketing position with the world’s largest, ready-made customer base — potentially worth billions to an SBIR firm

9.      Gain credibility with the marketplace and potential investors

10.     Receive real cash revenues, usually paid in advance of the work required


This program is generously supported by the Maryland Technology Development Corporation.

Member of the HCCMC Testifies on Capitol Hill


Carmen Ortiz Larsen, President AQUAS Inc.

Vice President Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Montgomery County

Thank you for considering my testimony. l am Carmen Ortiz Larsen, a small

business owner for over 30 years. My company is an engineering and technology

firm that employs over 50 people on a full time basis, which includes clerical and

entry level staff, field technicians, and office assistants. In addition to being a

business owner, I am an active member of my community, l provide technical

assistance to emerging small businesses and actively support youth at risk

internship programs. When We allow business to pay poverty Wages to its staff, We

promote an environment Where children are not Well cared for, nutrition is

deficient, and decent housing alternatives are difficult to obtain. We increase the

need for Social programs.

My business found a While back that lower paid staff tended to miss Work more,

have a higher frequency of health issues, sought second jobs to make ends meet,

and quit their jobs more readily. Because of this, my business began increasing

lower end wages a Jfew years ago, so that today our lowest wage is $10.00 / hour –

for a young entry level employee. As a result, absenteeism is lower, my staff is

reliable, staff retention rates are great, and staff morale is good. My customers are

happier, they get better service, and I spend less time and money replacing and

retraining staff. In short, my company is better because of this change.

. n . d . As a busmess owner, I don’t want to pay more than I need to pay, and I Want my

margins to be high. But at the same time, the dollars l Save in one area ofthe

business could cost me more in other areas. I depend 0n the reliability and quality

of my staff. Our customers buy our product and service because we are innovative

and customer focused. My staff helps me get there.

While it is true that in an ideal world, businesses should freely choose to pay

Wages that are competitive and make sense, and people should be free to choose

the most favorable job or employer they can find, businesses can often choose to

pay what they can get away with, and give priority to the profit margin rather than

a broader agenda of ensuring the wellbeing of our citizens. Profitability depends

on many factors, only one of them is the pay for lower level staff. As elected

officials, We look to you to set boundaries that eut across many special interest

areas and ensure a balance between commerce and individual sustainability. The

current minimum wage simply does not make sense. Adjusted for intlation, the

$7.25 an hour minimum Wage is the same as it was in 1950. It hasn’t even kept up

with cost of living increases.

As a smallbusiness owner I am constantly seeking ways to lower our cost of

production and improve our Company’s brand. Paying unreasonably low Wages is

not the solution. Many lower end employees are head of households; paying folks

poverty wages does not make business sense, it erodes a worker’s dignity, and

defies social justice, and is oppressive. We need to remember that lower end Wage

earners are taxpayers and voters, and keep our businesses Working. We can

remember if you make it the law. That is why I support the federal minimum wage




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Partner Youth Initiative (PYI)

The Partnership Youth Initiative (PYI) is a youth program which responds to the need to increase high school student engagement in productive after school activities, encourage high school completion rates for students of ethnic minorities, and reduce the financial stress that presents itself as an obstacle to better school achievement.

The PYI Program links a student to a business person (mentor) at a local business or organization in a structured workplace environment, where the student is required to show up after school at a regularly agreed-upon schedule. The student is given activities that provide an understanding and appreciation of the business, and given specific short term and long term responsibilities for a period of 12 weeks.

Financial support is provided to the students that will help improve their lives and the lives of their families, contributing to a healthy and sustainable community and minimizing the risk of dropping out of school due to financial instability.

The students engage in a mentored internship opportunity that will change their lives and prepare them for a brighter future. The program keeps the student from engaging in self-destructive activities during the at risk hours of 3 to 7 pm keeping them safe and out of the streets.

The program not only addresses the increasing dropout rate problem in the Montgomery County, but also three of the county priorities: Children prepared to live and learn, Healthy and sustainable communities and Safe streets and neighborhoods.

The key ingredient in the program is business owners willing to provide mentorship, guidance, and hands-on work experiences for these young people.  In return, the business will get recognition as well as actively participating in creating a better community.

Business owners, professionals, and managers must be the driving force in this program, providing advice and leadership in molding the program into an effective tool that will yield a better future for hundreds of young people in our area.

Please consider supporting our youth with the PYI mentored internship program by becoming a mentor and taking on one of our talented young mentees this semester!

Call for more information 301 332 2686 or email [email protected]