MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce held an event Saturday to celebrate the contributions that Latino business owners are making nationwide.
The night included dinner, entertainment and remarks by CEO and President Jessica Cavazos. She said that the activity has not been held for three years and she is happy that this moment is finally happening.
“It is very important for me. I cried because it’s so emotional. Someone told me that we wouldn’t be able to have as many people as we have now. There are only about 60,000 Latinos in Central Wisconsin and I feel like I proved them wrong,” Cavasos said.
Cavasos explained that there are so many businesses represented through the event.
“We have Venezuelan, Mexican, Cuban, Colombian, Peruvian — Madison is so rich in its culture and this is really the platform to showcase it. Where we tell people about our businesses is our community, our foundation and our traditions,” Cavasos said.
One of the many awards handed out was to 9-year-old Alison Hernandez, who is the face of her parents’ restaurant El Gran Taco Gato in Madison. Hernandez helped her family serve customers, and she creates TikToks to help bring in business. She said that after her parents lost their jobs and opened their own restaurant during the pandemic, she admired her mother’s dedication. Today she walked away with the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
For one family a dream became a way of life. Carlos and Carolina Vasquez won Family Owned Business of the Year. Originally from Nicaragua, Carolina came to the US twelve years ago chasing the American dream, but along the way she met her husband Carlos, who is also her business valet. The family has one restaurant in Platteville and another in downtown Richland. The family also owns a tortilla bakery that they created during the pandemic.
Two women born and raised in Colombia came to Verona to create a cafe with their husbands. During the pandemic Laura and Sara Serrato thought it would be good to serve the public with a popular breakfast drink. The women not only offer a warm cup of joe, but have decided to make their shop a safe place for culture, music and art. Families received the Incubator of the Year award.
There were two entrepreneurial awards given to Kattia Jimenez and Hector Rivera. Jimenez graduated from college and pursued a career in public health. She is now working for the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, where she founded and is the sole owner of Mount Horeb Hemp, LLC. Mount Horeb Hemp is a small hemp farm located in south central Wisconsin.
Rivera graduated with a degree in construction management and began his career in Waunakee. Over the years he mastered his skills in drywall and painting. He lost his job in the pandemic and now has his own business called Rivera Construction and Services.
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