The Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce, founded in 1975, is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to assisting Hispanic businesses, which multiplied rapidly in Texas in the 1970s. In 1980 Texas had the second largest number of Latino-owned businesses-61,540-in the United States. In 1928 the Mexican Consulate in San Antonio established the first Mexican Chamber of Commerce in the United States. In 1933 the Cámara de Comerciantes al Menudeo y Pequeños Industriales was also founded in San Antonio by fifty-five persons, including José Rómulo Munguía Torres and two women, María García, and Epifania Espinosa. Members had to have $50 capital but no more than $2,500. Mexican Chambers were also organized in the 1930s in Corpus Christi and Dallas. Several local chambers, including Dallas, Austin, and Fort Worth, organized TAMACC. Key organizers included Mario Cadena (Dallas), Marcel Rocha (Austin), and Pete Zepeda (Fort Worth). A hundred persons attended the organizational meeting. SER-Jobs for Progress and Minority Business and Trade Associations Developers, headed by Isaac Olivares, provided TAMACC with technical assistance. The office was an affiliate of the Minority Business Enterprise of the United States Department of Commerce. In 1976 Mexican-origin chambers included Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Galveston, Lubbock, Plainview, McAllen, San Antonio, and Waco. By 1984 member chapters included Abilene, Amarillo, Arlington, Benavides, El Paso, Harlingen, Hereford, Houston, Laredo, McAllen, Midland, Odessa, San Antonio, San Marcos, and Victoria. That year Houston had both a Hispanic and Mexican-American chamber, while San Antonio had a Mexican and a Mexican-American chamber. In 1992, twenty-eight chapters in the state represented 5,000 persons. Hispanic chambers were particularly strong north of San Antonio; only the Harlingen chapter represented Texas south of San Antonio. Ninety-five percent of TAMACC's members are small business owners. Most own service and retail businesses with five or fewer employees. Nonprofit groups are also members.
Cadena was the first president. Outstanding presidents have since included Zepeda and Abel Quintanilla (Odessa). In 1992 TAMACC had an elected policy-making board of directors composed of two delegates from each local chamber. There were also committees for finance, international relations, legislative, networking, education, and economic development. In 1984 TAMACC established a headquarters in Austin. In 1992 the association provided technical assistance to its locals through regional workshops, information distribution, and special-project development. It also sponsors trade missions to Mexico. TAMACC holds quarterly meetings and an annual convention and trade fair that draws about 1,200 people. In 1989 the TAMACC Educational Development Foundation, which awards scholarships, provides leadership training, and seeks to promote the American system of free enterprise, was established. Since 1984 TAMACC has sponsored a program called Step Up to Success, which promotes business and career knowledge among Hispanic youth. In the 1970s TAMACC focused on business, civil rights, and education, but since the mid-1980s, business has increasingly taken precedence over other concerns. The association has attempted to form several community-development corporations. It supported state legislator Eddie Bernice Johnson's Minority Business Enterprise bill requiring that minorities receive 20 to 30 percent of the state's contracts. (In 1992 they received only 3 percent.) TAMACC took an active role in the 1991 Workers Compensation Bill and in 1992 supported the free trade agreement with Mexico, although the association expressed concern over how its border members would be affected. TAMACC publications include TAMACC Newsline, previously called TAMACC Journal. In 1988 the association produced a Texas Purchasing Directory that listed Hispanic businesses. TAMACC is affiliated with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.