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For Hispanic business community, there’s strength in numbers

Peter Guzman is president of the Latin Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas, NV

What were your priorities when you became chamber president?

Because of the recession, dollars had to be shifted around internally and prioritized. Fortunately, we’re doing very well now. Our revenue is up. Our expenses are down. I was able to reach out and bring people in who have benefited from the chamber in the past. Now, we have a brand new sign outside, and we have new flooring, new logos and a new front desk. We’ve renovated this place so people can say, “Wow, this is pretty nice.”

What business trends have you noticed in the Hispanic community?

Entrepreneurship within the Hispanic culture is very important. Many members come from countries where you have to learn to be an entrepreneur. The government doesn’t offer the assistance that the United States does, so you have to figure it out.

What are your hopes for the Hispanic community in general?

I hope the dialogue about kicking people out will be solved so that the millions who already are here, making a contribution, can come out of the darkness and do it with pride. It’s actually an economic boom that we’re missing right now. By making people work in the shadows, America is missing out on a lot. Causing fear is not good for any economy. When people are scared, they don’t spend. That affects everyone, whether you’re Hispanic or not.

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