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GPHCC President & CEO poses with 2022 Excelencia in Hispanic Business award recipients. Photo: Peter Fitzpatrick/AL DÍA News.
GPHCC President & CEO poses with 2022 Excelencia in Hispanic Business award recipients. Photo: Peter Fitzpatrick/AL DÍA News.

Honoring notable Latino entrepreneurs at the 2022 Excelencia in Hispanic Business event

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Liderando con ejemplo

Junio 21, 2023

James Beard Latinas

Junio 08, 2023

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Entrepreneurship has long proven to be one of the key tools in creating wealth and improving the well-being of Latinos in Philadelphia, and nationwide.

That’s the reason the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has focused its efforts on entrepreneurship education, to create and grow as many businesses as possible — and celebrate their successes. 

On Wednesday, December 7, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosted its Excelencia in Hispanic Business, a fundraiser event to celebrate Latino businesses, while supporting the Chamber’s work in providing various programs to aid Latino-owned businesses in scaling.

“Our goal tonight is to provide you with a great opportunity to re-establish business relationships and create new ones,” said Jennifer Rodríguez, President & CEO of the GPHCC. 

At the event, four entrepreneurs were honored for their work, accomplishments, and successes in the past year.

The first was Luis Hincapie, owner of La Fortaleza Rehabilitation & Fitness Centers.

He was awarded the Staying Power Award, which is handed to a Latino-owned business that has exhibited resiliency in the face of economic peaks and valleys over the course of several years.

Established in 1994, La Fortaleza has developed a strong reputation for clinical quality and exceptional customer service.

“Luis has broken barriers for Hispanic entrepreneurs throughout this region and continues to expand new geographies,” said Anthony Rosado, who presented the award to Hincapie. 

Luis Hincapie was awarded the Staying Power Award. Photo: Peter Fitzpatrick/AL DÍA News.
Luis Hincapie was awarded the Staying Power Award. Photo: Peter Fitzpatrick/AL DÍA News.

The second honoree was Louis Rodriguez, President & CEO of Rodriguez Consulting and Rodriguez University.

He was awarded the Above & Beyond Award, handed to an entrepreneur who has contributed to the community beyond general expectations, including efforts that go beyond acts of volunteerism or financial contributions, and have a meaningful and direct impact on Latinos. 

“After successfully scaling his civil engineering firm, Louis turned his sights on developing the workforce needed in the industry,” said Leroy Howell, who presented the award to Rodriguez. “To meet this gap in the marketplace, he created Rodriguez University, which trains and places young people who might otherwise be unemployed or underemployed in high-wage, semi-skilled positions in the infrastructure industry.”

Louis Rodriguez was awarded with the Above & Beyond Award. Photo: Peter Fitzpatrick/AL DÍA News.
Louis Rodriguez was awarded with the Above & Beyond Award. Photo: Peter Fitzpatrick/AL DÍA News.

The third honoree was Victor Tejada, founder of Delivery Guys.

He was awarded the Innovation Award, which goes to a Latino entrepreneur who embodies innovation, and creativity, and finds new solutions to old and new challenges. 

Angelic Spanogle, who presented the award to Tejada, credited his company, saying that it “has breathed new life into the bodegas and restaurants of North Philadelphia, which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

“His Delivery Guys app has successfully integrated these businesses into the E-commerce world by focusing on meeting the needs of micro-entrepreneurs in the Hispanic community,” Spanogle added. 

Victor Tejada was awarded with the Innovation Award. Photo: Peter Fitzpatrick/AL DÍA News.
Victor Tejada was awarded with the Innovation Award. Photo: Peter Fitzpatrick/AL DÍA News.

The fourth and final honoree was Cristina Martinez, chef and owner of Casa Mexico and South Philly Barbacoa. 

She was awarded with the Breakthrough Award, conferred to an entrepreneur or business that has broken barriers or overcome significant obstacles. 

“This year, Cristina was crowned… as an entrepreneur, activist and chef, by winning the recognition of the James Beard Foundation, the Oscar of the Culinary Arts,” said Jose Aguirre, who presented the award to Martinez. 

Cristina Martinez was awarded the Breakthrough Award. Photo: Peter Fitzpatrick/AL DÍA News.
Cristina Martinez was awarded the Breakthrough Award. Photo: Peter Fitzpatrick/AL DÍA News. 

The 2022 Excelencia in Hispanic Business Award was hosted by Telemundo 62's Valeria Aponte Feliciano, and was held at the Museum of the American Revolution. 

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