WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, May 29th, the White House convened the nation’s top Hispanic business leaders from across the country for the first-ever Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum. The event, held in conjunction with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), focused on jobs and the economy. It engaged representatives from the private sector with top-level Administration officials in robust dialogue about the most pressing issues affecting American businesses and how to collaborate more effectively to foster economic competiveness, particularly in Latino communities.
The day-long event included panels with senior Administration officials discussing the economy, innovation and entrepreneurship, health care, federal contracting and commonsense immigration reform. Around 80 top Hispanic business leaders attended the Forum, from a range of industries, many are from Fortune 500 firms or top professional firms, and the next generation of high-growth entrepreneurs.
Senior Obama Administration officials that presented at the Forum included Treasury Secretary Jacob L. Lew, Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.
On the significance of holding the Forum in her opening remarks, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs Valerie Jarrett said: “To compete in today’s economy, we must draw from the talents, perspectives, and leadership of every community in our country. Today’s inaugural White House Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum is a key part of making this a reality.”
During an Economic Overview at the Forum, Treasury Secretary Lew underscored that “Our economy is stronger today because our businesses are doing what they do best—innovating, expanding and hiring,” Treasury Secretary Lew continued “With the number of Hispanic-owned businesses growing at twice the national average, the Hispanic community is playing a critical role in the recovery. But as the business and community leaders I met with today agreed, we must do more to strengthen the middle class so that more Americans can get back to work and more businesses can succeed. Our top priority as a nation has to be growing the economy and creating good jobs in the United States.”
Later at the Forum, during a panel on Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Open Data, Assistant to the President and US Chief Technology Officer Todd Park highlighted that “The Administration is undertaking all kinds of actions in support of technological innovation -- including making government information freely available to the public to fuel tech entrepreneurship and collaborating with educators, the private sector, and others to help connect all youth to tech skills and opportunity.”
The White House looks forward to continuing these discussions with the Hispanic business leaders who attended today’s Forum. In closing Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz emphasized that “Today’s Forum highlights the critical role that Hispanic business leaders play in shaping economic growth and in fixing our broken immigration system to ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.” She added, “These business leaders know firsthand that commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform is good for our economy and positions America to continue to lead in the 21st century.”
Javier Palomarez President and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) who co-convened the business Forum, stated: "The USHCC is honored to have collaborated with the White House in convening some of the nation's top Hispanic business leaders in this historic gathering to discuss pressing economic issues affecting all American businesses. The Hispanic business community is proud to be a source of innovation, job creation and economic development for our nation. The USHCC looks forward to a continued partnership with the Administration in ensuring the contributions of the more than 3 million Hispanic businesses.”
Some of the top Hispanic business leaders who participated in the Forum included: