Consultant to work with Latino firms


An Annapolis consulting firm has agreed to advise struggling Latino businesses in Baltimore on ways to borrow money and cut costs.

The Chesapeake Consulting Group, operating under a grant from the Small Business Administration, will meet with the owners of five businesses, including three restaurants, in the Upper Fells Point area where Latino entrepreneurs are struggling to gain a foothold.

The offer was made at yesterday's meeting of the Hispanic Business Association called to address escalating problems some business owners are having borrowing money.

Several restaurant owners said their financial situation is particularly shaky, because they used all their capital to start their businesses and have no reserves for cash flow.

Andrew E. Halldorson, project manager for Chesapeake Consulting, said his team would work over the next three months with the five business owners.

For each business, his team will set financial goals, develop a plan and put together a financing package that the owner can take to a bank or other lending institution.

In some cases, especially with restaurants, which can be more risky, owners may be connected with venture capitalists.

Paul Taylor of the Baltimore Development Corp. offered the services of the Small Business Resource Center, a public-private partnership that "can assist you in putting together some of the information that you'll need to go to any lender."

Jose Luaces, owner of the Fishery Restaurant and president of the business association, said business owners will meet next week with Chesapeake. "I think we opened some doors here," he said.

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