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Villarreal Gets Hispanic Honor
GRAND RAPIDS — Dante Villarreal, the Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center’s Region 7 regional director, was recognized as the Hispanic of the Year for 2008 by the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The recognition was presented at the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce annual dinner on March 27 in Grand Rapids.
“Although the award was given to me, this really is a recognition for the entire Region 7 SBTDC team and the work that we do,” Villarreal said in a news release. “The community recognizes the value we bring, and in this case, the value to the Hispanic business community.”
Villarreal oversees the Region 7 locations of Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties. Before assuming his current role in 2007, Villarreal worked with the SBTDC as a business consultant. As regional director, his responsibilities include developing a region-wide strategic business assistance program, establishing relationships and offering of services to culturally, ethnically and socially diverse entrepreneurs.
“Dante is an outstanding young business professional, who has risen quite quickly to leadership of Region 7, in large part due to his ability to build bridges and connect persons across the community. He is one of the truly outstanding younger leaders in our community,” said James Williams, dean of the Seidman College of Business at GVSU.
This is not the first time Villarreal’s work has been recognized. He is a past recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration Minority Business Advocate of the Year Award and the Seidman School of Business Distinguished Service Award. He is actively involved in the local and international Hispanic communities, working with the Secretary of the Economy of Mexico, serving as a board member on the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Mexican Heritage Association. Prior to coming to the MI-SBTDC, Villarreal worked as an accountant at the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce and as the regional manager of Telamon Corp.
GVSU houses the state headquarters for the Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center. As host, the Seidman College of Business oversees the 12-region MI-SBTDC network.
The MI-SBTDC provides no-cost counsel, training, market research and advocacy for small businesses. Companies receive business consultation services from an experienced team. Examples of assistance include: business plan development for funding, developing growth strategies, understanding cash flow/finance issues, marketing products/services, and many other areas of business.