The Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration recently chose Eniel Torres-Ojeda, president of Productos La Finca Inc., to receive its “2014 Puerto Rico Small Business Person of the Year” award, during the closing ceremonies of Small Business Week on the island.
With a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez Campus and a degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico’s School of Law, Torres-Ojeda established Productos La Finca in 1995, dedicated at first to the production of seasonings in the now famous flavors of “pavochón” and “pollochón.”
Since then, he has developed more than 100 additional products, such as cereals, pancake mix and snacks under the brand names Maga (its flagship product line), Jukiao, Buono, Madre, Dulce, and La Finca Orgánica. It also manufactures products for private labels like Selectos, Econo, Del Mejor, Mr. Special, Iberia, Happy Mornings, NutriPlus, Supermax and FamCoop, among others.
In addition to Puerto Rico, the Maga product line can also be found in Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, as well as the USVI, Barbados and Dominican Republic. Since 2010, Productos La Finca revenues have increased by 102 percent and its workforce has increased by 108 percent to meet market demand, company executives said.
“At SBA, we are pleased to have Eniel Torres Ojeda represent Puerto Rico at the National Small Business Week competition in Washington, DC,” said SBA District Director Yvette T. Collazo. “He found his calling at a young age and since then has worked tirelessly to provide for his family, create jobs and help foster our island’s economy – that’s what entrepreneurship is all about.”
Along with Torres, the SBA honored José F. Soto, president of Agroempresa Porcina Soto, as “Young Entrepreneur of the Year;” TENA Rock Corp. as “Family-Owned Business of the Year;” Dorca López, president of Dolly’s Dreams Closet LLC, as “Business Start-up of the Year;” and Kiomara Bonilla, owner of Aroma Xpress Café and Bookstore, as “Encore Entrepreneur of the Year.”
In addition, the SBA also bestowed the following awards to participating lenders that during fiscal year 2013 provided more than $75 million in financing under the agency’s 7(a) Loan Guaranty program: Platinum Award to Banco Popular de Puerto Rico; Gold Award to Banco Santander Puerto Rico; Silver Award to Scotiabank de Puerto Rico, and Bronze Award to Economic Development Bank for Puerto Rico.
Marketing Small Business Finance Corp. received a Star Award for highest growth between fiscal years 2012 and 2013, with 100 percent and 294 percent increase in loans and dollar value, respectively. The SBA also presented the Third-Party Lender Award to Oriental Bank for its outstanding achievement in the SBA’s 504 Loan program. PYMES Financial Partners received the Certified Development Company of the Year Award.
The SBA also presented the District Director’s Special Award to Everardo Vélez, loans director of Corporación para el Financiamiento Empresarial del Comercio y de las Comunidades (COFECC, as it is known in Spanish), for his dedication and commitment to SBA programs.