SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is less than a year old. But the group is already helping dozens of new business owners get started. The president and CEO says she saw a need and got together with like-minded people.
Selene Zamorano-Ochoa owns two business. On Friday, she focused on her third job, president and CEO of the South Dakota Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber was formed in 2021 after business leaders saw a need in the community.
“We have a lot of Latino business here in the state of South Dakota, but unfortunately, we did not have a place to go in and get support for business all in Spanish we have amazing support, but unfortunately, you know the language is a big barrier,” Zamorano-Ochoa said.
She is overseeing the organization’s first event. Planning started out as a simple flea market but blossomed into much more.
“In our culture, we like to go a lot on the weekend to what is called a pulga translated as a Latino flea market,” Zamorano-Ochoa said.
You will find a wide variety of products for sale, from authentic foods to jewelry, clothing, lip gloss, and even hand-made piñatas. There are dozens of small business owners here chasing the American dream. Work hard and become successful.
“There are over 30,000 Hispanics registered in the city alone, not counting those who are not registered and also in the cities nearby, so the Spanish community has great financial potential here, and it’s growing,” Pastor Otto Garcia, who is a chamber leader. “So every week, we have got more people moving to the city, and you have people who want to have their own business.”
Even young entrepreneurs are learning the ropes. Ivonne Robles is one of those following her passion. She and her business partner started a store called the boutiques.
“Right now we are online, its a women’s boutique and we carry from small through 3 XL,” Robles said.
Ivonne says the Hispanic Chamber can help new business owners overcome the combination of learning a new language while trying to navigate the red tape of government regulations. She is in a chamber program for new business owners.
“They are classes for about 10-11 weeks is the course and year to start up businesses.
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“They teach me how to like, right now we just started the first week, just last week so basically they are starting to talk about business how to run it how to maintain it, your dreams your vision,” Robles said.
Zamorano-Ochoa says there is something special about owning your own business and says these Americans have a lot to offer. She says the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce doesn’t want to compete with organizations like the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, of which she is a member.
“We focus on different things, one of our main focus is giving all the education in Español, we give a lot of education we give classes in the evening and on the weekends for small start-up businesses which includes basic accounting in Español and basic business management and HR in Español,” Zamorano-Ochoa said.
Zamorano-Ochoa is encouraged because of the support she has seen from outside the Hispanic community.
“We are there to help plug-in communication, and it’s been wonderful, and I thank all the community in South Dakota for that big support that they are giving us,” Zamorano-Ochoa said.
The newly formed South Dakota Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is affiliated with the National Hispanic Chamber of Commerce based in Washington DC, which has 250 member groups around the country