Recognizing the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Advocate of the Year
MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - Hispanic Heritage Month has kicked off! It’s celebrated nationwide from September 15th until October 15th. That’s because September 15th is independence day for many Latino countries including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. September 16th is Mexico’s, and the 18th is Chile’s.
Normally, the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce would have a gala to celebrate community members making a difference, but because of COVID-19, it’s been postponed until 2021. Throughout the month, TV6 will celebrate the winners. This week is Monserrat Magallon, who is Advocate of the Year.
“A lot of immigrants have the entrepreneurial spirit. As a community, we need to make sure we’re bringing down the barriers and access to capital so they can pursue those dreams that they have. Monse really did that,” says Maria Ontiveros, President of Mercado on Fifth. Ontiveros says Magallon was Mercado’s first intern in 2017, taking the market “to the next level.” Ontiveros went on to say, “it’s one thing to have the mentality of being welcoming and inclusive. It’s another thing to do it. Monse really walked the talk.”
Magallon has worked with Western Illinois University’s Small Business Development Center since 2018, translating documents and creating workshops for entrepreneurs. She helped nearly 100 people in the Quad Cities get access to the information they needed to create and thrive as a small business. 20+ of those entrepreneurs have participated in Mercado on Fifth. “Longterm, everyone is impacted in a positive way. Small business is crucial for economic growth,” says Ontiveros.
“It’s just helped the community increase the quality of life. We’re all connected, and at the center we serve everyone. There’s a program centered around the Latino community, providing translations and specific programs. But this is for everyone and we’re all connected. SBDC is not only for Latinos. It’s for everyone," says Magallon.
“I want to thank the Hispanic Chamber for choosing me, and most important for increase the Latino business visibility, and helping them connect with the resources they need. I’m just honored to have this but I’m very happy for this,” says Magallon. She went on to say, “I feel honored. Serving my community has always been their dream. But if I talk about myself I have to talk about the organizations that gave me the opportunity to serve others,” going on to thank Western Illinois University, the Illinois Small Business Development Center, and Mercado on Fifth.
“There’s so much fear when you’re starting your own business. You’ve never done it before. And the added fear when you don’t speak the language of English. Having her on board really made everyone feel comfortable,” shares Ontiveros.
Magallon believes once entrepreneurs have the tools they need to succeed, they’ll make the jump, “for a community like the QC it’s crucial to have this kind of support.”
if you want to celebrate Hispanic heritage but don’t know where to start, here’s a list of Latino-owned businesses in the Quad Cities you can support through the month, and the whole year!
If you’re looking to start or maintain a small business, you can still get help from Western Illinois University’s Small Business Development Center. Information is accessible in both English and Spanish!
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