The Hispanic Business Forum, sponsored by the Kansas Hispanic & Latino American Affairs Commission and Southwest Kansas Chambers of Commerce, was held Thursday at the Magouirk Conference Center.


     The Hispanic Business Forum, sponsored by the Kansas Hispanic & Latino American Affairs Commission and Southwest Kansas Chambers of Commerce, was held Thursday at the Magouirk Conference Center.
     The forum was designed to provide information and education to the Hispanic business community. Those attending were also invited to participate in an open discussion with Gov. Sam Brownback.
     Informational workshops included "Marketing and Branding Your Business," led by Jamie Vater of Summit Pro Source," and "Utilizing Information Technology to Further Your Business" and "Banking and Finance," both led by Cyndi Hermocillo-Legg of GO Topeka Economic Partnership.
     The discussion with Brownback included panelists Adrienne Foster, executive director of KHLAAC; local business owners Omar Lopez and Rosie Rodriguez-Swick; and Secretary of Commerce Pat George.
     The governor greeted the crowd by saying "Buenos Diaz, Como estan?" (Good morning, how are you?)
     Brownback began by addressing the work to lower taxes to encourage growth and sharing his thoughts on school and education.
     "I want to see more technical training for students who are still in high school," he said. "I want to see people work their way through college instead of borrowing loans that will prove to be difficult to pay back in the future."
     After addressing several points, the governor asked for questions from the audience. The first person at the podium asked questions related to immigration and undocumented workers. The governor responded that those issues were largely federal.
     George then asked the participants to narrow the focus of their questions to business concerns.
     "I want us to talk about the difficulties the Hispanic community has when it comes to owning your own business or trying to open a business," he said.
     The participants were not shy about sharing their thoughts and ideas. Among the people who took the podium to speak were Garden City principal James Morales, accompanied by five students from Garden City High School's Young Etrepreneur program.
     Following the forum, 100 people attended a luncheon with the governor, which was sponsored by the Dodge City Chamber of Commerce.
     "I am very, very pleased with the turnout," said Cindy Malek, president of the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce. "It exceeded our expectations. It was very positive, and that's exactly what we hoped to gain."
 
      Reach Nancy Calderon at (620) 408-9914 or email her at nancy.calderon@dodgeglobe.com.