6th Annual Jumpstart Your Business!
sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield
Helping Latino-Owned Business Grow to the Next Level
Blue Cross Blue Shield hosted its 6th Annual HACC Jumpstart Your Business on Friday October 23rd at the Landmark Center. It began with a series of Business Forums. Jim Cote, President of Cote, Pulitzer, and Alvarez, Inc hosted Jobs in a Rebounding Economy; focusing on key strategies for employees and individuals to recruit and market oneself respectively in an uncertain economy. Carol Sanchez, CPA, of Sanchez and Santiago, LLC hosted Taxes and Organization for the Owner-Run Business where she discussed key efficient tax strategies for business owners to implement Mayor Thomas Menino then kicked off the breakfast by saying how an increasing number of Latinos are making contributions in the economy; "We are seeing more bodegas, beauty salons, restaurants... that individuals are making a difference and we are seeing the entrepreneur spirit is thriving." He stressed the importance of small business owners partnering with organizations like HACC and the SBA (Small Business Administration). His seeks as his duty to do anything to help businesses grow and with the help of Rafael Carbonell, Deputy Director of Small Business Development, businesses can obtain loans, grants, and technical assistance. He also introduced Main Street Program which helps improve and strengthen districts where small businesses operate.
This year they have helped open 133 new businesses. But he doesn't think its enough; Latinos make up 17% of the population in Boston and are the fastest growing minority. He stated, "Boston should be more inclusive, diverse, and tolerant, we must do better to promote this."Lastly he ended by saying, that at events such as this one, individuals should take advantage of the opportunity to network with others and share knowledge/resources that could help each other's business prosper.
The SBA award was then given to Janice Guy who began her company P3i, Inc., in 2000 with 4 employees and now has 250 employees. She stressed by partnering with the SBA she was able to take advantage of great opportunities that helped her business grow. This award has recognized minority business contribution since 1983. Janice then said that Small Business lead is out of the recession and are formed around the kitchen table; they are "Energizing the American Economy".
Alberto Vasallo III then kicked of the Healthcare Reform and the Implications for Small Businesses. He introduced the three panelists Jay Curley, Senior Vice President, Chief Government and Public Affairs officer; Larry Croes, Vice President, Commercial Markets; and Juan Lopera, Director of Affordability. Jay spoke about the importance of Massachusetts sustaining Healthcare costs. With The National Healthcare Reform implemented in 2006 employers are required to provide employees with affordable insurance.
Since MA already has taken steps towards this we won't be affected by too much change compared to other states. Juan then spoke on the concern lies of "Clinical Waste." In other words, the overuse, unnecessary tests and procedures, medical errors, and preventative care to name a few that are causing high healthcare costs. He stated that the solution was to change the way businesses pay for care with the use of Alternative Quality Contract, where instead of the business owner paying a fee for services he pays for the quality. Larry then went on to explain that this can be done by setting up "Tiered Network" where it rewards those healthcare services that provide low cost high quality services to businesses which in turn is more of an incentive to go there rather than go to one that is high cost and perhaps low quality services.
In the end as Jay stressed, "the challenge still remains to protect MA and not have it 'take steps back' and make sure that we 'make it a human right' for affordable healthcare."