Newsday’s James Bernstein reports:
Gustavo Reyes, the owner of a New Hyde Park civil engineering company, has just been elected president of the Peruvian American Chamber of Commerce of Long Island. [LIW CORRECTION: Edson Valle and Marc Levinn are the owners of the business in question, Century Testing and Consulting Inc.]
Never heard of it? You’re not alone. Neither had we. But that doesn’t mean Peruvian businesses are not growing on Long Island.
Reyes, 54, who came to the U.S. from Lima, Peru, 30 years ago, said there are now about 200 Peruvian businesses on the Island, up from “10 or 20” a decade ago.
The Peruvian population on the Island has also been growing. The 2000 Census pegged it at about 7,565. That is nearly triple the figure in 1990. Immigration experts said that they believe the actual number today is significantly higher.
Peruvian businesses have suffered the same trials and tribulations as all other businesses in the last few years, namely difficulty in getting capital from banks, Reyes said.
“The biggest problem is getting money,” said Reyes, owner of Century Testing and Consulting Inc. “We’ve got to help each other now” in terms of coming up with cash to keep businesses going.
Reyes and others helped start the chamber four years ago to help Peruvian businesses grow.
Victoria Campos, a native of Peru and an attorney in Huntington Station, said many of the Peruvian businesses are small, and many are restaurants and food suppliers.
“They [such businesses] definitely need a chamber of commerce,” Campos said. Peruvians here have not been well-organized to date, she said.
In an effort to raise its identity on the Island, the chamber is hosting an Economic Forum of Peruvian and Latino Entrepreneurs May 21 at the Sheraton hotel in Smithtown.