Recently, our Tucson Hispanic Chamber launched affiliate chambers in Sierra Vista and Nogales. In the near future, we will be launching our Douglas Hispanic Chamber also. Our regional expansion is a great benefit to the more than 1100 members of our chamber as it allows them to build connections throughout Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise Counties. For the past several years, we’ve been expanding our presence in Northern Mexico by hosting trade mission trips and events in Sonora. Our expansion throughout Southern Arizona continues our emphasis on building awareness of the economic interdependence of the Southern Arizona – Sonora region.
Why is our chamber expanding? There are many resources and programs that our chamber provides to our members that can help businesses throughout the region. Over a year ago, we started exploring and researching this strategic expansion. Tucson businesses told us they needed assistance in reaching consumers and potential suppliers in Sierra Vista, Nogales and Douglas. We surveyed our members and identified many who have offices, branches and employees in the rural markets. Similarly, businesses in Sierra Vista, Nogales and Douglas told us they were interested in reaching consumers and potential suppliers in Tucson and in diversifying their businesses. With the threat of sequestration and the slow recovery from the economic recession, businesses are looking for new opportunities. Many had heard of our chamber’s leadership in assisting businesses in exporting to Mexico, our work in advocating on behalf the economic impact of the Hispanic market in Arizona and trade with Mexico and our procurement and certification programs. Positive feedback and the support of our Board of Directors prompted us to launch our affiliate chambers in late 2014 and begin offering our Beyond Startup: Elevate Your Business program in Pima, Cochise and Santa Cruz Counties. The program provides no-cost business consulting and business education courses throughout the region in English and Spanish.
As we have expanded, we have reached out to the local chambers in each market to collaborate and co-host events. We have hired two key employees to serve our new markets and produce events and educational workshops to serve the business communities. Our Cochise County Coordinator, Alexandra Boneo lives in Douglas and is focused on assisting businesses in the County as well as in nearby Sonoran cities. She is building a Sierra Vista and a Douglas Advisory Council and is planning events that will be held quarterly in Cochise County.
Haidee Joy is our Santa Cruz County Coordinator. She comes to the chamber with many years of experience working with businesses along the border and specifically with the Maquiladora (Manufacturing) industry. She is excited about hosting frequent events in Nogales and engaging with the community on both sides of the border.
It is our opinion that the more our chamber can do in the community supporting and advocating on behalf of our entire Southern Arizona region, the stronger our voice will be. It has been important for us to understand that each community has unique characteristics and challenges. Our chamber has been meeting with the Mayors and other elected officials as well as business leaders in each community to discuss opportunities and challenges. There are a number of issues that we can collaborate on together to benefit the entire region. Our chamber plans to communicate with businesses in each City and County and create bridges between the communities of Southern Arizona.
The Tucson Hispanic Chamber and our affiliate chambers in Nogales, Sierra Vista and Douglas are currently working on several initiatives focused on:
the attraction of business to the region,supporting and growing our existing businesses in the region,increasing high-quality education opportunities in low income areas,and disparities in health between the Hispanic and general community.These issues and others will be the topics of conversations we will be hosting throughout the region. To learn more, visit TucsonHispanicchamber.org. You can also find each of our chambers on Facebook and on Twitter. We are encouraging businesses throughout Southern Arizona to join one of our chambers and are offering one membership price for membership in all four Chambers of Commerce. In addition, as an extra benefit, membership also includes an affiliate membership in the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We hope you will join us and consider expanding your business presence throughout the region!