More than 100 Kansas business owners from across the state joined Governor Sam Brownback today for the second annual Kansas Hispanic Business Forum at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park. The Kansas Department of Commerce, the Kansas Hispanic & Latino American Affairs Commission (KHLAAC) and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City (HCCGKC) sponsored the forum.
"Our administration wants to partner with the Hispanic community and small businesses to help them be more successful," Gov. Brownback said. "In our efforts to grow the Kansas economy and create jobs, we must look to small business as a key driver, and Hispanic-owned businesses are a vital part of that effort."
Brownback led a panel discussion about the work it takes to start a business. David and Sarah Chavez, Latin Pointe; Manuel David, Global Control Systems; and Teresa Salinas, franchise owner of McDonald's in Roeland Park shared their experiences as small business owners.
"We heard from a number of Hispanic businesses involved in many different sectors," Commerce Secretary Pat George said. "The administration is eager to create an environment to help these and other small businesses and entrepreneurs grow and be successful."
The forum also included a panel discussion on how small business owners can make their dream a reality and heard a presentation about the new Google high-speed fiber network being built in the Kansas City area.
"We appreciate the Hispanic community's participation in today's forum. A lot of good information was shared. We are excited to begin planning next year's forum," KHLAAC Executive Director Adrienne Foster said.
Foster also expressed appreciation to the Kansas Small Business Development Center, Commerce Bank and Johnson County Community College for their support of the forum.
Attendees heard from Kansas Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan about the state's new pro-growth tax policy and from Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Mike King about the states TWORKS program. In the afternoon, they attended breakout sessions lead by:
Greg Panichello, Kansas Small Business Development Center
Elsa Schmidtberger, Owner, Diamond S Vineyard & Winery
Gabe Munoz, HCCGKC
Bernardo Ramirez, HCCGKC
Robert Bolye, CEO, Justine PETERSEN
Ryan Valencia, Commerce Bank
Nilson Goez, Infinite Energy Construction
Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas Department of Transportation; the HCCGKC as well as the Kansas Small Business Development Center and NetWork Kansas had resource booths set up at the forum.