La Voz Latina Annual Banquet set for Oct. 14

Michael L. Barrera, the newly appointed president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, will be the keynote speaker for La Voz Latina’s Annual Recognition Banquet, to be held Oct. 14 at Cliffbreakers.

“We are honored to have the country’s top advocate for Hispanic business owners coming from Washington, D.C., to be a part of our banquet,” said Marco T. Lenis, president and CEO of La Voz Latina. “Hispanic business owners make up the fastest-growing segment of minority enterprise across the nation. We are seeing that right now on a local level with the explosion of Hispanic-owned businesses in the Rockford area.”

HispanTelligence, a national research group, estimates that five years from now, Hispanic-owned businesses will earn an estimated $465 billion and number 3.2 million. These numbers represent a tremendous jump from the group’s projections of $273 billion in revenue and 2 million businesses for 2004.

Prior to his appointment to head the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in July of this year, Barerra served as National Ombudsman for the U.S. Small Business Administration. He was appointed to that position by President George W. Bush in 2001. Previously, he was an attorney in private practice after graduating from the University of Texas Law School in 1989. His small business experience includes management of two family-owned restaurants in Kansas City, Mo.

La Voz Latina’s Annual Recognition Banquet will begin at 6 p.m. with a social hour; dinner is at 7 p.m., and the program begins at 7:30. The program also includes the presentation of three awards to local people and institutions that have contributed to the progress of the local Hispanic community. Entertainment will be provided by Escape, a Latin music group, and Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl, a traditional Mexican dance group.

Tickets for the banquet are $45 each, and can be obtained by calling La Voz Latina at (815) 965-5784.

From the Oct. 12-18, 2005, issue

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