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A business meeting

Detroit Means Business reflects on Pasa la Palabra: Latin-X-Tech event

The Pasa la Palabra: Latin-X-Tech event was a collaborative event that was put together by the Southwest Detroit Small Business Support Work Group and a similar duplication of TechTown’s Black History Month event celebrating Tech amongst Black Businesses. The group is comprised of several business-serving organizations, including the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) and Detroit Means Business (DMB), who meet monthly to discuss how to better serve Southwest Detroit (D6) small businesses. The group began early this year in March and brought together the following groups:

  • TechTown Detroit

  • NEI

  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC)

  • Detroit Means Business (DMB)

  • Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC)

  • Southwest Detroit Business Association

  • ProsperUs Detroit

  • Accounting Aid Society

  • The Office of D6 Council Member Gabriela Santiago-Romero

  • Fair Food Network

  • Grace in Action

  • Michigan Hispanic Collaborative

  • Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision

The SWD work group has been meeting monthly, including sub-committee meetings to tirelessly plan this event which had multiple components to the event:

  • BSO Panel with 10 organizations talking about the services and programs they offer to small businesses.

  • Keynote Speaker

  • Youth Robotics Demonstration

  • DBL D6 Mix and Mingle in collaboration with The DHDC Friday Fantazma Market

  • Small Latino Business Owner Panel led by D6 DBL

  • Musical Performances

  • TikTok Challenge winner announcement

The Keynote Speaker focused on how the digital divide impacts Latino-based businesses and included business owner Eddi Gonzalez from Eye Breathe Design (and App Developer) who talked about his experiences as a business owner working in digital media marketing, his start and how he helped a local free newspaper that ran solely on paid printed advertisement digitize and increase their opportunity for paid ads along with helping them increase their reach by adding an online version of the paper. The conversation was held with local historian, community activist and musician Ozzie Rivera.

DHDC houses an entire center that annually helps about 20 different Youth Robotics Teams from across the city. They also have their own Robotics Team for students at schools who don’t have one. This center brings together professionals in the field from companies like the Big 3 and mentors students to help build and compete in competitions throughout the state and nationally. During the Youth Robotics Demonstration mentors brought out two robots and did a demonstration for the audience.

When the D6 Mix and Mingle/DHDC Fantazma Market kicked off, District 6 Business Liaison Nancy Cepeda led a Latino Business Owner Panel and interviewed:

  • David Medina Alvarez from LIVAQ, a company that produces and facilitates eco-friendly off-road experiences through sustainable technologies (ATV off-road vehicles)

  • Will Marquez from WithPurpose, an Urban public design studio that does urban development consulting, design strategy, architecture management, and community-based public space projects.

  • Jessie Feliz from SWAG, a company that provides Spanish language classes to students, adults, teachers and schools but through a lens of the home language perspective.

Cepeda provided the panel with questions that allowed the business owners to reflect on their why, their journey to becoming business owners and what it means to have representation in the business ecosystem.

The Fantazma Market hosted by DHDC is an event the D6 Mix and Mingle collaborated with, is a Friday (3x/month) event held to provide a space for artisans and small business vendors (including food-based businesses) to come together through food and music to bring the community together to support Food Based Businesses.

Here's an in-depth look into the Pasa la Palabra: Latin-X-Tech event from "One Detroit" on Detroit Public TV:

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