In 1982, several dedicated Hispanic business owners and Hispanic community leaders realized the enormous potential of the Hispanic business community in the City of Hartford and envisioned the need to be organized to represent its interests before the government and private sectors.
In 1992, the Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) was incorporated in the State of Connecticut, creating a non-profit organization 501(c )(3) aimed at developing a business network that would provide the Hispanic community with cohesion and strength. Since its inception, SAMA has worked towards bringing the issues and concerns of the Hispanic-owned business community in front of the Hartford economic agenda.
Throughout its nearly 30-year history, SAMA has enjoyed outstanding working relationships with members of government and corporate sector. Through its network of more than 500 local Hispanic business owners and organizations, SAMA effectively communicates the needs and potential of the Hispanic enterprise to the public, government and private sector by:
- Advocating and promoting the advancement of multicultural small business owners, particularly Hispanic, in the State of Connecticut;
- Increasing business relationships and partnerships between the corporate sector and small business owners;
- Monitoring legislation, policies and programs that affect the Hispanic business community;
- Providing technical assistance and training to multicultural businesses and entrepreneurs;
- Serving as a resource for merchants who have the potential and desire to create or expand their business ventures;
- Advocating for the merchants by bringing their business concerns to local, state, and federal agencies and to other private and public institutions;
- Promoting neighborhood and commercial revitalization (cleaning campaigns, reducing deterioration and crime fighting); and,
- Providing funding to small businesses for equipment, renovation, inventory and cash flow through SAMA’s Loan Program.
At SAMA, we believe that each person should choose their own level of independence, have the opportunity to be self-employed, manage their own schedule and have the freedom to be their own success.
In 1999, SAMA created its Empresario Development Center. The Center is dedicated to fulfilling the education mission of SAMA focusing on six key strategies:
- Human Resources
- Safety Issues
EDC is the small business premier provider of educational resources, materials, and training in English and Spanish for small business owners in the State of Connecticut. Please visit SAMA’s Empresario Development Center section of this website to see many of the programs offered by SAMA.
In 2008, SAMA created Latino for Better Health to provide health information and free health screenings to the merchants, their employees and their relatives.
SAMA’s ability to sustain its mission is largely due in part to the involvement of the Board of Directors and a group of core volunteers who work with the employees to achieve the organization’s goals. SAMA has a team of professionals that brings a variety of skills, experience and knowledge to meet the organization’s efforts as it delivers its many programs in each of our offices. The team’s combined expertise and abilities help support the organization’s membership and the small business owners that face many challenges in the community.
SAMA has three offices in the State of Connecticut. The main office is in Hartford and two satellite offices located in New Haven and Willimantic. SAMA is mission-driven and serves each local community depending on the needs that must be met. SAMA’s purpose is to help develop and create small businesses, which serve the public interest by helping to improve the community, create job opportunities, help lower and stabilize crime rates and host cultural activities that bring the community together to preserve the cultural values.