Monday, October 10, 2011

City wants to attract bilingual business owners - Posted: Oct 10, 2011 5:23 PM EDT Updated: Oct 10, 2011 6:33 PM EDT By Alex Boyer, NBC2 Reporter

Southwest Florida is seeing a boom is its Hispanic population. The latest numbers show a 170-percent increase in Lee County. The city of Cape Coral is looking at ways to capitalize on that untapped market.
Along busy Del Prado Blvd. there are several Hispanic-owned businesses, but they make up just a small fraction of the businesses in Cape Coral. 
Carlos Rendon owns Prestige Automotive. The Cuban-American set-up shop in Cape Coral three years ago and business is good. 
Rendon credits his success to being bilingual.
"A lot of my clientele some of them don't speak the language. I'm able to provide the second language," said Rendon.
Rendon is exactly the kind of business owner the city of Cape Coral is looking to recruit.
"We want to extend the hand that we are friendly to all businesses," said Business Economic Coordinator Christy Vogt.
The city's Economic Development Office is looking for bilingual business owners, like Rendon, to serve as volunteer translators for Hispanic business owners looking to start a business in the Cape.
"Quite a few Hispanic business people don't speak the language that well to understand legal-ease and regulation," said Vogt.
Juan Ruiz thinks it's a great idea and is willing to help.
"Some people don't speak English like I can help other Spanish people open up business," said Ruiz.
Ruiz opened a Boost Mobile cell phone branch two and a half years ago. He says it would have been nice to have a fellow Latino help him through the start up process. 
"The City of Cape Coral is doing better with the small business," added Ruiz.
Alfredo Chumanciero, who is organizing the Hispanic Business Liaison Committee, says he plans to unveil the list of volunteer bilingual translators on October 28th.  

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