Helping Latino-Owned Businesses Grow




As Featured In:

The Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) is a community of business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals committed to empowering individuals by helping them start and grow their businesses. As the largest community of Latino business owners across Illinois and the Midwest, they represent more than 100,000 businesses. Latinos in Illinois have an impressive $53 billion purchasing power, more than any other minority group in the country.

The organization was founded in 1990 as the Mexican American Chamber of Commerce of Illinois. In 2002, the organization transitioned its name to become the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to expand its mission to Latino-owned businesses throughout Illinois.

The IHCC contributes to the financial strength and well-being of Hispanics by helping businesses grow, create jobs, and drive prosperous communities. Daily, IHCC helps small business owners and entrepreneurs; helping them set up their businesses, attain business licenses, and retain jobs, generating approximately $337,000 in financial resources for them. The IHCC staff is very knowledgeable and many of them have had small businesses themselves, so they personally know of the struggles, long hours, the amount of money and resources that it takes to grow and have a successful business.

The IHCC motto is “We are here to help” and their mission. They are committed to helping entrepreneurs grow by equipping them with the tools and resources they need to stay competitive in today’s economy. They do this through community advocacy, specialized one-on-one training, networking, and every day helping small businesses grow and remain competitive. These programs help businesses increase their revenue and become more profitable, which ultimately creates jobs and contributes to the financial strength of the economy.

Jaime di Paulo, President & Chief Executive Officer

The IHCC is one of the largest chambers in the state of Illinois and they are innovators because throughout the years they have built strong relationships and partners on the federal, state, and city levels. Every day IHCC staff is out there visiting local businesses, receiving phone calls, offering one-on-one counseling services, and offering small businesses the opportunity to stay competitive even through one of the most difficult economies with a pandemic that paralyzed many small businesses. The organization has set a high standard for over 30 years, and this is why they’ve become a trusted leader and partner among the business community.

They are constantly evolving and bringing new resources to the small business community. Large corporations often ask the IHCC for help to reach the Hispanic market, the largest growing market in the country. This is how many of the programs get developed. The IHCC helps big corporations brainstorm and develop programs for the small business community.

One of the companies that they have partnered up with is the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which brings many resources and training for small businesses from the national to the local level. The IHCC has programs like the Illinois Small Business Development Center which helps small businesses with everything they need to maintain their business successful, including finances, marketing, and production. Programs like these are targeted specifically to the needs of the small business community and are often funded by grants.

During COVID, the Cook County COVID -19 Small Business Assistance Program was developed which provides one-on-one business counseling to those businesses that struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic. As a result of this program, many struggling businesses were able to apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and were able to pay their employees while not having to recur more debt because many of these loans were forgiven.

One of the newest additions is the Latino Business Policy Institute, which was established by the IHCC in 2021 with the purpose of championing for new policies and legislation on all levels of government that will benefit the future of Latino businesses in Illinois. To accomplish this mission, the Institute’s focus will be on conducting research and generating data —with the collaboration of partnering universities— to better understand the state of the Latino business today and identify the real needs of Hispanic-owned businesses.

The IHCC is constantly growing and evolving and looking for different ways to empower and give the Hispanic small business community a fighting chance to thrive in this economy. It’s not an easy feat, but through hard-work and dedication, the IHCC has earned the trust of small businesses.

Other INNOVATE® Ecosystems