There is a growing economic opportunity to grab onto in Texoma. Tuesday, Newschannel 6 along with the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce held a workshop focused on marketing to the growing Hispanic community to help spur growth in our area.
MSU Bilingual Project Director Doctor David Barbosa said right now one in every two babies born in Texas is Hispanic. Businesses learned that Hispanics are a growing population they need to target them as well, and incorporating bilingual individuals in their companies will help their businesses grow. That in turn will help Texoma's economy grow.
Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Emily Waite says businesses need to be aware of the growing Hispanic community. Waite said, "Any business needs to be aware of the fact that the Hispanic market is a growing part of our economy. So, I think it's very important for them to understand how to tap into that new wealth of business."
Educational Consultant Gonzalo Robles said, "Wichita falls should be aware of the purchasing power of Hispanics. We are here and we want to be integrated into the community, and they should take advantage of that because the future of Texas is within Hispanics."
Many businesses are now ready to meet the challenge. One Wichita Falls H&R Block representatives said, "One thing that we're going to benefit from is to be involved more in the Hispanic community, a lot of their activities, and we're planning on doing that." Wichita Falls Girl Scouts Membership Manager Barbara Reynolds says, "We don't have anyone on staff that's bilingual, but I think we need to focus on reaching out to the adults in the Hispanic community."
Other businesses that already cater to bilingual needs are proof the action gets economic results. Wichita Falls First Bank Assistant Vice President Paul Rodriguez said, "We opened up our branch with the idea of opening up a bilingual branch and catering to the Hispanic population of Wichita Falls because we definitely saw there was a shortfall there."
Rodriguez says they started off with zero customers and have grown to 1,000 accounts. Wichita Falls Hispanic Person of the Year and organizer of "How to Market to the Hispanic Community" Alicia Perez, said her first tip to business owners is, "A smile goes a long way. If you don't speak the language, just a smile, Hola, and Adios; those words, Gracias, are very meaningful so just opening up and trying at least breaks a lot of barriers."
MSU Bilingual Project Director Doctor David Barbosa says about 20% of the population in Wichita Falls is Hispanic and 30% is made up of Hispanic students. Barbosa also told Newschannel 6 that 60% of the state's tax revenue is generated from non-white residents.