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Ethnic event attracts 300 firms

Growth of communities key topic at conference

Michael Styles, state director of Black Affairs, speaks at the Ethnic Business Conference Wednesday at the Salt Palace.
Michael Styles, state director of Black Affairs, speaks at the Ethnic Business Conference Wednesday at the Salt Palace.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News

More than 300 businesses participated in the second annual Ethnic Business Conference sponsored by the Utah Department of Community & Culture's State Office of Ethnic Affairs at the Salt Palace convention center on Wednesday. The daylong event was themed "Success on the Rise" and offered workshops on various topics including marketing, financing, and obtaining government contracts.

"I think we're trying to anticipate the growth of the ethnic communities and the growth of business in our ethnic communities," said Jesse Soriano, acting director of the state Office of Ethnic Affairs. "The governor has made it very clear that he's very, very much committed to economic development on an international level."

Noting that many of the state's new minority business owners are recent immigrants, he said supporting ethnic businesses in Utah today could prove beneficial for future economic opportunities abroad.

"We know that our future is tied up with the success of our ethnic business community," said executive director of the state Department of Community and Culture, Palmer DePaulis.

He said the increasing number of ethnic chambers of commerce is a prime example of the dynamic growth in diversity the state has seen in recent years. "They (ethnic chambers) need to be connected with the resources of the state. They need to have an equal footing with everyone else," DePaulis said. "They need to have doors opened for them."

He also spoke of the importance of networking with minorities to build better relationships within the Utah business community and elsewhere.

DePaulis said as Utah continues to grow and becomes more diverse, the state will strive to strengthen the foundation for business prosperity for the minority community and all commerce across the state.

Among the vendors involved in the conference was Telemundo, the NBC-owned Spanish language television station based locally in Murray and the largest Hispanic station in Utah. Sales manager Azucena Covarrubias said today more non-Latino businesses are utilizing Telemundo to reach Utah's largest and fastest growing minority population as they reach across cultural lines to increase their markets.