Much to the surprise of northern San Diego cities like Escondido, Hispanics overtook the non-Hispanic population as revealed by the 2010 Census. While this was news to them, the South San Diego population of Hispanics has been a majority in most cities such as Chula Vista and National City and the southernmost portion of San Diego County and city.
The combined population of South Bay cities is 328,822 from which an astounding 191,870 are classified as Hispanic, representing more than 58 percent of the population from which more than 90 percent are of Mexican descent or Mexican immigrants.
But mostly unnoticed is that figures dating back to 2002 indicate 44.3 percent of South Bay businesses are owned by Hispanics, in contrast to 14.7 percent in the state of California, a ratio of almost three to one of local Hispanic business ownership over the balance of the state.
Part of the reason for this high proportion of such businesses is the proximity to Baja California from which hundreds of Mexican entrepreneurs obtain U.S. visas to invest and establish businesses in the San Diego South Bay. The estimated number of Hispanic- owned businesses in all of San Diego is near 35,000 with better than 5,700 just in Chula Vista being of Hispanic ownership.
Americans establishing businesses in a foreign country face a different set of procedures, regulations, laws, and corporate and local culture and language. Knowing the process is different is one thing, but not knowing how to navigate the differences creates the need to be dependent on mentors, advisers, consultants, attorneys, accountants and others. Likewise for foreigners doing business in the U.S., there is knowledge that there is a process but the navigation is as difficult as it is for American business people in foreign countries.
Realizing the need and noting that the owners of a significant number of Hispanic businesses whose primary language is Spanish with little or severe limitations in English even among those who have spent a great number of years or born in the U.S., a group of well established and seasoned Mexican-American business people came together to form the Camara de Negocios Mexico-Americana (CaNeMexA) – Mexico-American Business Chamber – as a mutual benefit non-profit California organization.
CaNeMexA’s stated mission is to promote and support its members by providing them with information, seminars in Spanish (as needed) for the development and growth of their businesses and to advocate and foster a friendly business climate that promotes and encourages economic investment throughout San Diego’s South Bay region; and serve as a resource and link between non-Mexican entities and the Latino market. Since its formation in June 2011, close to 100 businesses have joined the chamber.
CaNeMexA came to the attention of Rodrigo Domenzain, a teacher and businessman in the interior of Mexico, whose Amar-AC Hidroponia company’s products include teaching, manufacturing and distributing hydroponic products. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water, without soil. In 11 years they have trained throughout Mexico more than 3,000 teachers and an equal number of students who either produce vegetables for their own consumption or sell depending on the space allocated to the growing area. Amar had sought information on how to set up a business in the U.S. and for eight months had little results.
CaNeMexA was asked for help. A volunteer member of the board took on the project with the following results: A state of California corporation was formed in one day, an attorney was contracted for the legal work, on Mr. Domenzain’s arrival to San Diego a bank account for the business will be opened, a custom’s broker was contracted and the transportation company was also contacted. A meeting hall for the first seminar for Amar is scheduled in October by Mr. Domenzain in the San Diego South Bay has also been secured. All this within the space of two to three days to complete the assignment. Needless to say, Mr. Domenzain’s company is amazed that after eight months of no results, CaNeMexA was able to move so quickly.
Such success is due to the volunteer members of the chamber who know the process and importance of attracting investment that in turn creates employment in our communities.
For information on CaNeMexA contact its president, Hector Molina at HCMolina@ aol.com or visit www.grupocanemexa.com
Osio is a founder of CaNeMexA and serves on the board of advisors. Contact him at PosioJr@aol.com.