On Monday, March 5th, the Chamber hosted a discussion between leaders from across Kosciusko County about how to improve the fabric of our community, specifically for minority Small Business owners and Entrepreneurs. The keynote address was delivered by Gilberto Perez from Goshen College. He encouraged those in attendance to think about common experiences and celebrate activities that unite our community and to continue doing them.
Following the keynote address, the remainder of the time was dedicated to an open discussion. Grace College shared information about a program they offer in Spanish that helps educate and train Spanish speaking individuals who want to start a business. Currently, 46% of all new business startups are owned by Latinos. Furthermore, according to projections, by 2042, minorities will be more than 50% of the US population. During the open discussion, many leaders shared their concerns about the need for population growth in our community as well as an outreach to those that may feel marginalized or disenfranchised to retain the next generation. The group as a whole believes there is much more to be done.
The Chamber will be taking the next steps to start a Task Force to help identify partners that are willing and able to help any minority group start and operate a business in Kosciusko County. Additionally, Orthoworx has a Diversity and Inclusion Committee that is actively working on taking steps to ensure our community is welcoming to everyone. Those in attendance agreed that, in order for our economy to thrive, we need everyone working together to attract and retain talent. Without a healthy and diverse workforce, we put ourselves at risk from losing industry and business, which would hurt all of us financially.