SAMA New Haven (History)
In 1999 Former State Representative John Martinez of New Haven, recognized the fact that New Haven had become home to many Latino small businesses. As the Latino small business community grew he had the vision to understand that these small businesses needed an organization to help them remain viable and to grow. Having worked with the Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) in Hartford, Representative Martinez met with representatives of SAMA and the conversation was started to open the first SAMA office outside of Hartford. Working with his Latino colleagues and others in the Connecticut House of Representatives, City of New Haven Officials and SAMA staff Representative Martinez was able to secure funding to open the New Haven Office in 2000.
After several months of trying to find the perfect location, SAMA officials decided on a site in the Fair Haven section of the City which is home to the largest concentration of Latino owned businesses in the City. As is the case with all SAMA offices the New Haven Office is staffed with a Receptionist/ Secretary, Small Business Specialist (SBS) and a Director who is responsible for the New Haven and Willimantic Offices. Currently, the New Haven Office offers clients that come from all over the New Haven County area, a full menu of technical assistance to help them operate their businesses more efficiently.
SAMA’s other services in New Haven include technical support to all those wanting to start or expand their business and Web-Page design help from a SAMA staff member. As well as encouraging those wanting to start a business to take the Pasaporte Computer Training Program. Over the years we have graduated over 300 individuals from the Pasaporte Computer Training Program. During the tax season from January to April every year, the SAMA New Haven Office is part of the Volunteer Tax Assistance Program (VITA) which provides free tax preparation for low-income individuals.
The SAMA New Haven office also serves as the main office for the Grand Avenue Special Services District which is responsible for providing services to all small businesses on Grand Avenue.