Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chamber President Can Do The Math

Chamber President Can Do The Math -- As Hispanic Population Grows, So Do Business Opportunities
By Ines Bebea

Guido Minaya is the new president of the Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Minaya has a passion for education. (Photo by Brad Zweerink)

FAIRIFIELD - Guido Minaya, the new president of the Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, knows the value of education. When it comes to math, one of his first objectives is to double the chamber's membership from its current level of 80.

Minaya also wants to hire a full-time staff and open an office. The board of directors and administrative positions are currently filled by volunteers.

Minaya estimated that there are 300 Hispanic businesses in Solano County and is confident that the expansion of the chamber can parallel the growth of the Hispanic population.

"The Hispanic population in the U.S. is now at 46 million, with an economic impact of $760 billion," Minaya said. "In Solano County, with its 87,000 Hispanic residents and 23,000 households, we are the fastest growing segment of the population, with a median income of $40,000 to $50,000."

Minaya's goal is also to open membership to non-Hispanic businesses that are interested in the Hispanic market. The chamber will foster networking events and programs in Spanish and English.

The Hispanic Chamber was established in 1989 as the Solano Napa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It split in 2006 into two independent organizations.

"Another goal is to heighten visibility through our new Web site and media outlets," he said. "La Voz, a Hispanic publication, will feature us in their upcoming September issue."

Minaya's passion for education is rooted in his own experiences. He is a partner with Minaya & Associates, LLC, a corporate education consulting firm that specializes in educational and training programs. He also has served as the vice president of programs for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing educational achievements for Hispanics.

"More and more jobs in the future are going to require some college or a four-year degree," Minaya said. "In the Hispanic community, our track record is very poor. We need to do more to ensure that our Latino youth stay in school, graduate high school, enter and finish college.

"This will give us the educated workforce pipeline we will need to sustain Solano County."

Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or

Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

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