The founder of Hola America, Tar Macias, won the Outstanding Immigrant Business award at the 2018 Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit on Friday. His bilingual multi-media business started in Moline nearly 18 years ago.
“I believe there was a huge need for our community to have their voice being heard. I think a lot of times you hear the many stories about the Latino community in media when we do something bad. When we do good things and contribute to these communities, you hardly see those stories, ” says Tar.
He started his career at a bilingual news paper but once he saw it go out of business, he saw an opportunity.
“I thought maybe there was going to be a huge void and a big need for a bilingual publication in the area. So I started Hola America.”
At the age of 14, Tar and his family moved from Mexico to this house in Moline. It belonged to his grandfather.
He says questioning his sense of belonging after the move made him want to connect with those in the community.
“When i started Hola American, it gave me an opportunity to really embrace that and give the younger kids something to be proud of. Something that they can identify with.”
Macias would hand deliver the newspapers around the Floreciente area. One of his first clients, being this Mexican market.
Businesswoman Patty Casas says that this community engagement attributes to the serge of Latino businesses in the area.
” We started seeing it because of Hola America and Tar Macias became very involved. Started getting connected with those businesses. Getting their names out. Helping in the community,” says Patty.
Hola-America has also benefited the community by making college dreams come true.
They have helped Lulac fundraise $50,000 in scholarships this year.