Doral Bank announced Wednesday the 20 winners of this year’s edition of its “Despegue Empresarial” initiative — a component of its Mujeres d Éxito community program — through which it will assign a total of $700,000 to support the professional and economic growth of women in Puerto Rico.
After receiving a record-breaking 130 applications, the bank pared down the list of winners that represent a variety of industries — baked goods (2), agriculture (4), services, mechanics, manufacturing, fashion, health, among others.
“We’re proud that Mujeres d Éxito continues to grow and support entrepreneurial and professional women through capital and mentorship on their path to success. This great increase to help support 20 entrepreneurs, confirms our firm commitment help them with the growth of their businesses and help impulse our economy,” said Jesús Méndez, executive vice president of operations of Doral Bank.
Of the winning group, five will receive $25,000 as a donation plus $25,000 as a loan, while another 15 will each receive $30,000 as a loan. Another 10 semifinalists will be offered participation in an educational workshop.
The five businesses women chosen to receive $50,000 each are: Dreams Hotel, Elena Pagán (Río Piedras); Hydro Vegetales Lareño, Sara Rivera (Lares); Sugar Lab Inc., Obed García (Caguas); Mi Madre Pique Inc., Alessandra Corea (Coamo-Aibonito); Agropek LLC., Cindy Cruz (Peñuelas)
The 15 women chosen to receive $30,000 each are: Marrero Auto Parts #2- Betzaida Marrero; Little Boat Sailing, Inc.- Margaret Mair; Dulcelimón- Shalysmar Santiago (Toa Baja); Yes Fitness- Denisse García; Jirah General Contractors, Programa Yo Reciclo, Liz Howell; Quick Delivery Laundry, Jharlyn Quiñones; Cafeitur, Libia González; Mega Agrocentro Los Colobos, Ruth Monjes; Karma NYC, Alison Ruiz; The Green Bow Maid & Management Services, Corp., Wilmarie Vega; Peace of Cake, Arlene Soltero; Productos Mi Pana, LLC, Izaris Rosario; Colegio Rudianette Inc., Jeanette Barreto; Laboratorio Clínico BioM.A.S., Mariangeli Figueroa; and RC Pon Inc, Rochele Montalvo.
“In Doral, we believe that empowering, educating and providing capital for women has a multiplied effect on the economy and in our community. A study by the United Nations about investing in Girls and Women, says that increasing the role of women in the economy is a solution to the fiscal crisis. And at the same time it is essential for its growth and sustainability,” said Lucienne Gigante, senior vice president of marketing, public relations and community of Doral Bank, referring to the “Investing in Women and Girls, 2009. UN Women” study.
“This data inspires us to continue supporting the economic growth of women, with our initiative we’ve been witnesses of this growth,” she said.
Training and mentorship
In addition to financial backing, the winners will also receive media exposure and participation in educational workshops.
“Access to education and capital are fundamental keys to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit of women, to be able to develop a culture of professional success. We do not want to limit ourselves to providing capital; we believe that women who are growing their businesses further need to educate themselves constantly to be able to achieve success,” Gigante said. “We’ve developed workshops to also support their intellectual growth.”
The women, and a member of their management team, will benefit from a specialized boot camp designed by Eva Vázquez, professor at Sacred Heart University. Mentoring will be focused on topics such as: key elements for success, marketing and sales, making capital, and professional etiquette.
The winners will also be supported by a $100,000 investment in advertising to boost their visibility.