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Indy Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council helps owners thrive amid COVID-19

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — During Hispanic Heritage Month, the Indy Chamber of Commerce and some local Hispanic business owners are taking a look at the impact of COVID-19 on businesses.

“The Hispanic community has a lot of challenges even before the pandemic,” Indy Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council Director Dolly Serrant said.

According to Serrant, that includes a lack of resources in Spanish, making it harder for Hispanic businesses to survive.

“Now with the pandemic situation, there are some businesses that closed. There are some others that they’re scaling, they’re growing and expanding, so it is interesting the situation … right now in the business environment,” Serrant said.

The council is working with large corporations like IU Health and IndyGo to provide them with new opportunities to do business together.

“It is critical, these kinds of collaborations, because No. 1, we want to see more Hispanic businesses grow. We want to see them scaling their businesses,” Serrant said.

Dr. Rodolfo Santamaria and his wife Dr. Margarita Santamaria are the owners of Santamaria and Associates, Inc.

“Trying just to get into businesses was impossible,” Rodolfo Santamaria said. “Trying to get business around — that was very difficult. Getting into a visit — that was very difficult. Getting the phones, our conferences and getting the foot in the door — very difficult.”

“My interaction is more quantitative,” Rodolfo Santamaria added. “Lean Six Sigma. Lean Six Sigma is when you streamline processes when you really help companies in order to get more profitable.”

The couple moved from Costa Rica to the United States in 1986 in search of a better life.

“We were very active in Costa Rica and when we came over here, it was a new beginning, so it was an opportunity for us to start something new,” Margarita Santamaria said.

They’re now based in Fishers, and with the help of the Indy Chamber and its connections, they’re pushing to keep their business alive.

“Now we are really starting fresh and with another look and just keep going,” Rodolfo Santamaria said.

As part of the chamber’s efforts to support Hispanic business owners, they’re going to be hosting a virtual event Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. to provide more information on what these owners can do to work with IndyGo for its new Purple Line project.