Latino business association becomes affiliate of Worcester chamber

The Latin American Business Organization, a statewide organization, will become the latest affiliate of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

This is the sixth affiliation for the Worcester chamber and its first with a statewide organization. Its other affiliates are the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, Central Mass South Chamber, Wachusett Area Chamber of Commerce, and Webster Dudley Oxford Chamber of Commerce.

With LABO’s members, the Worcester Regional Chamber now has 2,350 members, extending its lead as the largest chamber in Massachusetts.

The partnership gives LABO members, which consists of around 350 Latino-owned businesses across the state of Massachusetts, full access to all of the Worcester chamber’s programs and services, according to the Friday press release detailing the partnership, which was also announced at LABO’s annual conference at the DCU Center in Worcester.

By becoming a Worcester chamber affiliate, LABO’s members can take advantage of services including assisting in economic development, advertising, and educational development.

“We are really excited about the expanded opportunities this will provide to our members as our organization grows,” said LABO Board President Elizbeth Cruz in a press release. “We also look forward to collaborating on some joint programming which will further strengthen both organizations and memberships.”

Worcester chamber members present at the conference were represented by Fallon Health CEO Richard Burke, UniBank CEO Michael Welch, and Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tim Murray. Representing LABO were the organization’s founders, Efrain Medina and Jose Rentas.

“I want to thank Elizabeth and the LABO Board for working with the chamber in forming this important new relationship,” Murray said in the same press release. “Our Latino business community is growing and dynamic. Not only will this partnership amplify that growth and our individual organizations, it will also bolster our regional economy. ”

The move can be seen as an effort to help boost Hispanic-owned businesses in the state of Massachusetts. According to the most recently available American Business Survey, performed by the US Census Bureau in 2019, there were 3,225 total Hispanic-owned businesses in the state, or 2.3% of all employer firms in the state of Massachusetts. For businesses owned by Hispanic women, the numbers were even starker, making up 0.6% of total businesses in the state.

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