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April 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM EDT
Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Citi to Open Small Business Center of Excellence in Dallas

Citi Community Development and the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GDHCC) today announced a new partnership to open the first-ever Small Business Center of Excellence, which will serve the low-to-moderate income business community of Greater Dallas. The Center will provide capacity-building products and services — including resources, training and networking support — to minority-owned businesses, with a particular emphasis on small and medium-size business segments.

Debbie Taylor, Southwest Regional Director and Texas State Director, Citi North America Community De ...

Debbie Taylor, Southwest Regional Director and Texas State Director, Citi North America Community Development (Photo: Business Wire)

David L. Gonzales, President and CEO of GDHCC, made the announcement at City Hall and was joined by Debbie Taylor, Regional Director, Citi Community Development; Steve LaFredo, Business Banking Director, Commercial Banking Group and GDHCC Board member; Angel Reyes, III, Chairman of the GDHCC Board; and City Council member Pauline Medrano.

"Citi is proud to support the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Dallas business owners. At Citi, we are committed to putting the full force of our people and resources to work to drive financial inclusion," said Vikram Pandit, Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup. “Through this innovative partnership, we can help even more business owners obtain the tools and resources they need to grow, succeed and create jobs.”

“The business opportunity is clear. The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has over 40,000 Hispanic-owned and operated businesses with a demonstrated historical growth rate of three times the national average,” said Angel Reyes, Chairman of the GDHCC Board. “Couple that with a vibrant consumer base representing more than 40 percent of the general population, and you can see how the Citi Community Development and GDHCC partnership is poised to drive economic growth, job creation and retention for this fastest growing segment of the population.”

The mission of the Small Business Center of Excellence is to provide comprehensive technical assistance, consulting, and educational resources to small and medium-sized businesses of Greater Dallas, directly supporting the economic development vision of the GDHCC. This will be done by consistently delivering value-added services to facilitate the growth of successful businesses, the membership, and the business community.

In addition, the Center will provide products and services that maximize the ability of GDHCC clients to access capital, locally and globally, as well as offer procurement and workforce development opportunities. Volunteer business experts from Citi will also be available to mentor local entrepreneurs and provide training on financial products and access to credit, including the development of successful, comprehensive business packages. The Center will sponsor business development and best practices sessions, where GDHCC client business owners will learn from subject matter experts and from each other.

Citi and Citi Community Development are supporting this initiative with a three-year, $480,000 commitment. As a first step in this initiative, the GDHCC will launch a comprehensive “needs assessment” survey focusing on minority-owned businesses.

“Many of our member businesses are well past the incubation and start-up phases. Consequently, there is tremendous potential to develop and deliver programming initiatives specific to their current needs, given their unique stage of development,” said David L. Gonzales, President and CEO of GDHCC. “Through our new partnership with Citi, we will accelerate these businesses through their growth stages with focused skills development, consulting and coaching support, along with world-class professional development and networking sessions, so they can move to the next level, while simultaneously creating wealth and driving economic development within their communities.”

“The Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a very strong partner in our continuing work to support small businesses, which are the economic engines of the local economy,” said Debbie Taylor, Regional Director, Citi Community Development. “The new Small Business Center of Excellence will be a tremendous resource. It also represents the beginning of what we know will be a scalable model involving additional, new partnerships.”

Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GDHCC) develops, promotes and protects Hispanic businesses in the greater Dallas area and supports the advancement, education and economic growth of the Hispanic business community. The Chamber serves as a business resource, a forum and advocate for Hispanic business issues and a united voice for the Hispanic business community. For more information, visit http://www.gdhcc.com.

Citi

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Through Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com.

Citi Community Development

Citi Community Development (CCD) is leading Citi’s commitment to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships. Our focus areas include: commercial and philanthropic funding; innovative financial products and services; and collaborations with institutions that expand access to financial products and services for low-income and underserved communities. For more information, please visit www.citigroup.com/community.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6699211&lang=en

Contacts:

Citi:
Robert Julavits, 415-658-4310
robert.w.julavits@citi.com
or
GDHCC:
Gabriela Quezada, 214-523-3413
gquezada@gdhcc.com
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