The North Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce named Hilda Gurdian, publisher of the state's leading Spanish-language newspaper, La Noticia, the "Latina Entrepreneur of the Year" at an awards ceremony over the weekend.
The Dec. 8 event, the chamber's first Latino Entrepreneur Award Celebration, commemorated the growth of the chamber and the accomplishments of its members.
A Venezuela native, Gurdian, 58, founded La Noticia in Charlotte in 1997, five years after she immigrated to the U.S.
The weekly newspaper has since expanded with separate weekly editions in Asheville and Raleigh, reaching an estimated 225,000 people statewide every week, Gurdian said.
"We have grown, and that is due to the fact that the Latino community is growing," Gurdian said. "We take very seriously our responsibility to act as a communication bridge (between) the community at large and the Latino community. We believe in integration. If we (Latinos) stay in one little corner and don't integrate, we know we won't be successful."
Gurdian also is President and CEO of La Noticia Foundation, a nonprofit organization that awards at least four $2,500 college scholarships each year to deserving Latino students.
President and CEO of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Javier Palomarez was the gala's keynote speaker. The national chamber is an advocate for nearly 3 million Latino-owned businesses and more than 200 local Latino chambers throughout the country.