Chairman’s Message

As the Latin American Chamber of Commerce (LACC) celebrates this year its 40th Anniversary, it is time to reminisce on that memorable September 16, 1976 evening when a group of 18 young Hispanic entrepreneurs met at the National Economic Development Association (NEDA) Chicago office to propose the creation of a new organization dedicated to provide financial, management and technical assistance to the nascent Hispanic business market in Chicago. The challenges for a small minority business at the time were monumental: access to capital for a small ethnic business was a major problem not only because of language barriers but also due to the absence of a Hispanic presence in the commercial banking industry’s lending areas. Access to government contracting was also a major impediment to business growth because of existing barriers to obtain sureties, the relatively small number of Hispanic Certified firms and the weak enforcement of regulations pertaining to minority contract participation. It was under these conditions that we met to propose the LACC’s founding.

Today, the LACC is one of the most recognized small business consulting groups in Illinois. Since 1987, the year LACC started to tabulate its statistical performance, the LACC has conducted 18,706 consulting sessions with clients leading to $51,428,207 in loan approvals and $223,894,584 in contracts awards, thus contributing to the generation of 11,013 jobs in the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Area.

The Hispanic business market continues to be a dynamic market experiencing significant growth in Illinois as well as at the national level as described¬†by Tessa Berenson’s article in the September 26, 2016 Edition of TIME Magazine under the title “How Latinos Drive America’s Economic Growth”.

On behalf of the Board of Directors I would like to thank our members and clients, the LACC strategic partners, particularly the City of Chicago for its extraordinary support and commitment to small business development, and the LACC’s impressive list of Guest Speakers who made the past LACC 40 years such an incredible realization of 18 dreamer’s dreams.

D. Lorenzo Padron
Chairman & CEO