The Colorado Springs Hispanic Business Council — The Hispanic Chamber is making waves.
The chamber announced this week that the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Awards Committee selected the local organization to be the 2022 Chamber of the Year among small chambers across the nation.
The award is granted to a chamber with 250 members or less that has innovative programs, community service, commitment to helping small businesses grow and cultural awareness within the chamber.
“We’re working to gain a voice and influence in our community, especially when it comes to Hispanic and multicultural businesses,” said Joe Aldaz, president and CEO of the chamber.
“We want to be that organization that our city and county leadership goes to when they’re making decisions that may impact small business or impact our community.”
Aldaz initially served as president and CEO of the chamber from 2006 to 2007; the chamber stopped its services in 2009.
“I think that the struggles with smaller chambers, especially minority chambers, is having the membership and sponsor revenue in order to operate,” Aldaz said.
The chamber restarted in 2016; Aldaz returned in 2018 as a board member before becoming president and CEO in March 2020. During his time back at the chamber, he grew the organization from 22 members to 224.
“We hope that an award like this helps us kind of gain more credibility of the work that we’re doing and bring in not only more members and sponsors, but that voice,” Aldaz said.
Some of that work has included monthly Spanish-speaking business-owner education programs as well as a fellowship program set to launch next year that aims to give 25 fellows eight months of training to build more emerging Latino leaders, Aldaz said.
The chamber will be recognized and given an award at the 2022 USHCC National Conference on Oct. 4 in Phoenix.
“I think it’s a testament to the work that we’ve done,” Aldaz said.