Many Fortune 500 companies turn to entrepreneur Henry Cardenas—founder, president and CEO of the Cardenas Marketing Network (CMN)—for his expertise in reaching the Latino consumer. With over 50 million Hispanics in the United States, the companies—aware of the almost $1 trillion in purchasing power of this market—recognize they need to know how to connect with this fast-growing demographic as part of their marketing efforts.
Henry Cardenas has spent the last 30 years managing and producing live entertainment events. At age 17, sponsored by his uncle, he came from Colombia to Chicago—and has lived here ever since. CMN started in Chicago, and has since become one of the leading multicultural event-marketing sponsorship agencies in the country.
This year, CMN will produce over 700 events, including live concerts, grassroots campaigns, soccer matches and mobile marketing events, focused on Chicago and other cities with strong Hispanic populations. Though the events are national, their home and headquarters are in the River West area of Chicago, where they are creating jobs and supporting the local economy. Cardenas came to Bank of America for the basics like treasury management and online banking, as well as to secure an umbrella line of credit; CMN needs working capital to finance large-scale events that have significant upfront costs. The bank team also works closely with Cardenas’s senior management to strategize about new ventures. According to Minal Patel, Client Manager at Bank of America, “It’s very collaborative. Henry often comes to us with his new ideas, and we serve as a sounding board for him.” Cardenas concurs, “I value them as a partner. Bank of America has become a trusted advisor to my organization; their thought process provides input to our key business decisions and growth.”
In three of the last four years, Crain's Chicago Business named CMN to its “Fast 50” roster of fast-growing firms. The company has increased its staff by 30% in the last year and a half, and increased revenues by 40% in 2010. During the past several years, Bank of America has partnered with CMN to keep the company on a growth track, and to help develop a strong business plan that will create jobs, and continue to have a positive impact on the local economy.
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