The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis was incorporated on April 28, 1982. The incorporators were: Maria Elena Alonso; Manuel De La O; Michael Mahler; Jennie Ojeda; Anthony B. Ramirez; Maria Isabel Thompson; Mario Santander; B. A. Villarreal; and Luis G. Zambrana. Shortly thereafter, the Hispanic Chamber was accepted as an affiliate of the United Stated Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), which currently has more than two hundred affiliates across the nation.
The Hispanic Chamber has strived to support and promote Hispanic small businesses. In 2009, the organization took a major step to solidifying its role as the premier Hispanic organization in the St. Louis region when it opened a Technology & Resource Center, now called the Centene Technology Center, in the City of St. Louis. The endeavor was made possible through an appropriation from the federal government obtained by Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond. The computers at the Technology Center were purchased with an Accelerator Grant provided by AT&T. And the software for the computers was donated by the Microsoft Corporation.
Also in 2009, the Hispanic Chamber established a charitable arm, the HCC STL Foundation, which will focus on youth, workforce development, and education.
Major events each year include the Adelante Awards in April, the Hispanic Speakers Series in July, and the HCC Golf Tournament in September. The Hispanic Chamber also plays an active role in an annual political advocacy day, Hispanic Day at Jefferson City.
Through all of these efforts, the Hispanic Chamber attempts to strengthen Hispanic enterprise and small and minority business integration to promote a sustainable socioeconomic development and a better quality of life in the St. Louis region. The Hispanic Chamber serves as facilitator in strengthening Hispanic enterprise, it anticipates new challenges and opportunities, encourages innovation, and promotes the development of the Hispanic entrepreneurial sector.
The Hispanic Chamber is a vigorous and vibrant arm of the economic community whose membership is not limited to Hispanic organizations or professionals. Currently, the Hispanic Chamber has 218 members. Membership in the Hispanic Chamber is voluntary for all business owners and professionals. After joining, the members agree to abide by the principles, rules of conduct and regulations established by this institution for the benefit of its membership and the business community at large. The Hispanic Chamber is open to those that share its goals of fostering progress to all sectors of the economy, and particularly to the Hispanic business community, for a better and stronger St. Louis region.