Regional Economic Development Finds Local Pulse of Latino/Hispanic Business Needs

First local meeting of Regional Initiative exploring Latino/Hispanic Economic Development

Earlier this week, a small group met at The Kirkland to lay groundwork for a larger conversation around economic access and business building in our Spanish-speaking communities.

Community Capital NY (CCNY) and Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress (Pattern) are collaborating on an initiative to establish a road map for additional business resources and access to credit for new and existing Latino/Hispanic enterprise. The initiative focuses on the cities of Beacon, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Newburgh, Middletown and Port Jervis.

“Pattern & CCNY asked for our help in gathering the local perspective. We’ll hold business forums to collect community input. We invite Latino/Hispanic community members to come forward and share what business owners and entrepreneurs need to be successful. We’re asking simple questions like what’s needed, how’s credit working (or not), and what resources are out there to build opportunity,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “In the three relevant communities we serve — Newburgh, Kingston and Middletown — the Hispanic/Latino population is strong. Jobs and new business creation are top of mind for everyone, no matter color, race or culture. But we know access to resources is not equal. This initiative spearheaded by CCNY and Pattern will explore the current situation and make recommendations for our communities moving forward.” Community Capital and Pattern, with guidance from local advisory committees, will conduct local outreach to determine needs and barriers within the Latino/Hispanic business community. Based on this fact-finding research, the team will recommend best practices and develop a guide of local and regional resources available to the Latino/Hispanic business community.

Present at the Economic Development for Hispanic and Latino Businesses meet-up (pictured above) were Emily Hamilton (Deputy Director of Housing at Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress), David Sosa Rosa (Kingston business owner of La Roca Floral), Simone Obermaier (Senior Vice President of Lending at Community Capital New York), Hugo Jule (outreach coordinator at RUPCO’s Green Jobs | Green New York Program), Maru Gonzalez (Executive Assistant to the CEO) and Kevin O’Connor, both of RUPCO. The group identified first steps in gauging the climate of local Latino/Hispanic business, its networks and resource access. “We’ll hold a few more meetings here at The Kirkland, talk with more people with the help of pastors and the church community, to make people aware that this conversation is happening,” adds Maru Gonzalez. “To be a part of this local conversation, contact me at (845) 331-2140 and I’ll put you on our email list.” If you have questions about the broader Community Capital NY-Pattern for Progress initiative, contact Kim Jacobs (CCNY) at (914) 747-8020 or Joe Czajka (Pattern) at (845) 565-4900.

RUPCO Strives to Better Engage Latino Community

Pictured l-r: James Kopp, NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Hannah Karp, Hugo JuleOn October 21st, RUPCO Outreach Coordinators Hugo Jule and James Kopp and Executive Assistant to the CEO Maru Gonzalez attended the 3rd Annual Hudson Valley Latino Forum held at Dutchess County Community College in Poughkeepsie.

Nearly 300 participants — including NYS Secretary of State, NYS Comptroller, State Assembly and County legislature members, City Mayor, Governor’s office, Empire State Development, Federal and State Agencies — came out to share perspective and service information. Organizations from Long Island to Albany and more that 25 sponsors, including RUPCO GJGNY, contributed their ideas on how to improve the quality of life of all residents in the Hudson Valley. 

Several round table discussions addressed health, media, community, education, politics, business and arts. James sat in on the media and politics sessions; Hugo attended the community and business sessions; and Maru attended the politics and community sessions. During the business session, Hugo explained how saving energy can improve business profit, as well as save money at home. Hannah Karp from Solarize Hudson Valley tabled next to RUPCO so that energy efficiency and renewable energy were on display together.

“One concern expressed at the forum was the difficulty that agencies have in bringing services to the Latino community,” notes Hugo. “This is due, in part, to the different immigration situations that residents may be dealing with. There needs to be a consistent, trustworthy presence of agencies in the community. Moving forward, the RUPCO GJGNY team will continue to work with the community leaders who work with the Hispanic population in the Hudson Valley so they may all benefit from the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program.”

RUPCO is also working to provide better service connections to the Latino community with its first-time homebuyer program and foreclosure prevention services. RUPCO recently launched a Spanish home buyer education orientation series and several energy-efficiency videos spoken in, or translated overdub, into Spanish.

Pictured l-r: James Kopp, NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Hannah Karp, Hugo Jule