Tulsa's Hispanic Chamber

Tuesday, November 9th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa's hispanic business leaders started their own Chamber of Commerce earlier this year. Now they're searching for strength in numbers. Business is good for Luis Tineo and his South Tulsa restaurant. Fifteen years ago he bussed tables here, now he owns the place. Tineo's self-made success started in his native Venezuela. Now, he's a charter member of Tulsa's new Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "Now we're going to be able to network together, closely. Before, although I knew a lot of people with the hispanic community, this is going to help us to work together." Tineo's Fountains restaurant catered a reception at the Chamber's new East Tulsa offices. The 15-member board of directors hopes to recruit a room full of big business to small companies, and beyond. Robert Tobias with the Chamber says "it's about helping businesses get started, helping businesses grow and expand, helping businesses understand the importance of international trade." And here at home, the new chamber hopes to draw hispanics to a critical count, Census 2000. 1996 population estimates by Oklahoma's Department of Commerce showed 122,000 hispanics call the Sooner state home. Now, they estimate that many hispanics live in Oklahoma City alone. Robert Tobias says "so, if the numbers are right, if in effect we have over two hundred thousand hispanics in Oklahoma, maybe it helps us retain that Congressional seat." 35,000 to 50,000 hispanics call greater Tulsa their home. Now they have a home base to carve out a larger slice of the American pie. You can get more information about Oklahoma's first Hispanic Chamber of Commerce by searching the internet. The board of directors has members who trace their roots not just to Mexico but Central and South America and the Carribean.