By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (CACCI) held its annual Economic Development Small Business Power Breakfast on Thursday morning at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Elected officials, members of the Caribbean-American business community and others met to network and share ideas for the betterment of their community.
“Business networking works,” said Dr. Roy A. Hastick Sr., president and founder of CACCI. “Make sure when you are at a meeting that you sit close to people that you don't know and try to get to know them. Together we have strength in numbers.”
New York City Comptroller John Liu was the featured speaker at the event, which was hosted by Hastick. The breakfast also featured remarks by Edmund A. Sadio, board chairman and owner of Century 21 Achievers, and assemblyman Walter Mosley (D-Fort Greene/Prospect Heights).
“The New York State budget is over $150 billion, and there are lots of opportunities within the state,” Hastick said. “That's why we open the meetings with an elected official.”
Liu joked that he is also from a tropical island – Taiwan. He reminded everyone at the meeting that it’s events like this one that really help the immigrant community. He also discussed how the incoming de Blasio administration could mean more opportunities n the future.
“We need everyone involved in business community to come help bring about economic recovery, and hopefully it'll be better than the last recovery about six years ago that only helped the top one percent,” Liu said.
Afterward Hastick made Liu -- who has attended these meetings for the past four years -- an honorary member of CACCI.
Hastick gave everyone at the nearly three-hour meeting a chance to introduce themselves to the group. Among those who gave special presentations were Julian Dubois, consul general of St. Lucia; Greg Arrindell, CACCI’s roving ambassador; Adrian Peters, second vice president and manager of Queens County Savings Bank, Elizabeth Abreu, Brooklyn representative for the U.S. Small Business Administration; Gregory Hankins, president of Retirement Aspirations; Nadege Noel, outreach manager of Health Republic, and Albert Hinds, New York Life representative and CACCI financial literacy coordinator.
“Many of us just accept being babysitters or low-level workers, but CACCI can help you find better opportunities,” Dubois said. “Small businesses are the engine of growth in the U.S.”
Their topics included how to navigate the Affordable Care Act, how to manage your credit score, how to help people get financing for business ventures and more.
“We have an organization with quite a number of people involved in it,” said Sadio, who took a chance, came to a CACCI meeting years ago and is now the board chairman. “I am an example of someone its helped. I first came to a meeting wondering how it could help me, and it had a profound affect on me.”
The CACCI began in 1985 and has hosted over 7,000 of these development networking seminars for thousands of its members. The organization currently runs the Flatbush Caton Market and is in the bidding with the Economic Development Corp. to take over and redevelop the struggling market.