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posted: 4/30/2013 11:54 AM

Aurora Hispanic Chamber brings back business expo

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The Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is reviving its business expo after a two-year hiatus as the organization looks to bolster its presence in the community.

El Mercado Business Expo runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at La Sierra de Aurora banquets, 2121 E. New York St., bringing workshops, vendor booths, networking and a business brunch to entrepreneurs and other participants.

The event is designed to strengthen and connect the area's Hispanic business community by offering advice to help with starting or growing a company.

"It's not just for business owners, but it's also for people who are looking to start a business," said Karina Garcia, the chamber's executive director.

With the upcoming return of the business expo and the return in 2010 of the Mexican Independence Day celebration Fiestas Patrias, the chamber now has the platforms to reach businesspeople and the Aurora community as a whole, said Jerry Campagna, president of, who formerly led the chamber as its interim executive director.

"Seeing this come back onto the stage is exciting," Campagna said about the expo. "There are not too many organizations, particularly in the suburbs, that can provide a business plaza Latino-style. Certainly the Aurora Hispanic Chamber is bringing that back to the table."

The business plaza at the expo will include more than 50 vendors such as Alarm Detection Systems, EarthMover Credit Union and Frank's Digital Printing. Garcia said the chamber emphasized inviting local businesses to participate as the event gets a fresh start.

Seminars throughout the day include a technology workshop from Verizon's Minority Small Business Empowerment Series and a presentation about organizational development, talent assessment and marketing strategies by Campagna.

"That's going to be highly important for participants," Garcia said about the workshops.

Workshops in Spanish will be presented by the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Waubonsee Community College on marketing and networking ideas and entrepreneurial strategies.

Peter Aguilera, owner of All A Electric and Contractors in Aurora and vice president of the chamber's board, said bringing back the expo this year is part of a larger plan to work more efficiently at promoting and providing resources for Hispanic businesses in Aurora and beyond.

"We're going to go statewide for our outreach," Aguilera said.

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