(Orlando, Fla.- Jan. 25, 2019)   The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando (HCCMO) hosted a roundtable with Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in Washington D.C., to discuss the current situation of the island and the influx of Puerto Ricans to the mainland. Some of the topics discussed included, federal regulations impacting Puerto Rico, legislation proposed to help Puerto Rico’s economy, and economic development opportunities in the Island.

Puerto Rico has lost 611,852 residents (15.9% of its population) in less than 14 years, according to Congresswoman González-Colón. Yet, she provided information about special federal programs available to companies in Puerto Rico, to help businesses navigate such obstacles and remain open. One of those programs is an Employee Retention Credit to benefit eligible employers that continued to pay salaries to employees during a period of “inoperability” as a result of damage caused by Hurricane Irma and/or Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Eligible employers may qualify for a credit of up to $2,000 paid to each employee during the period. 

The Congresswoman thanked the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the entire Central Florida community for all the support received after the devastation caused by the hurricanes.  She also invited HCCMO to Washington, D.C. to give Central Florida’s businesses and leaders the opportunity to discuss issues affecting small businesses with her and other members of Congress.

"The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando has been working directly with the government of Puerto Rico and many organizations in the island for the past year to develop mutually-beneficial strategies and partnerships,” said Gaby Ortigoni, President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. “Today’s conversation reiterated our Chamber’s commitment to connect Central Florida’s business community with the unique commercial opportunities in Puerto Rico. As the leading voice of the Hispanic business community, it is important for HCCMO to be a facilitator of conversations with governmental leaders,” added Ortigoni.

The meeting with Congresswoman González-Colón was held at the Orlando Campus of the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. Business leaders and elected officials such as City of Orlando Commissioner, Tony Ortiz; Osceola County Sheriff Russell Gibson, former State Representative Bob Cortes and representatives from Orange County Government, Orange and Seminole Sherriff’s offices.

About the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando: The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando (HCCMO) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide leadership and support the economic development of the Hispanic business community of Metro Orlando. Since 1993, HCCMO has strengthened the Central Florida business community by providing quality programs through networking, business & professional development, business exposure and recognition.  For more information, please visit www.hccmo.org or call 407-428-5870.

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