8 Latina business owners finalists for AccessLatina accelerator

AccessLatinas finalist with co-founders Lucienne Gigante and Marta Michelle

AccessLatinas finalists with co-founders Lucienne Gigante and Marta Michelle

AccessLatina announced the names of eight Latina business owners chosen as finalists for its accelerator competition. Together, they generated more than $1.2 million in revenue during the last two years.

AccessLatina, the first multi-market accelerator program designed to help Latina business owners in various sectors reach their entrepreneurial and economic potential, announced its last round of eight finalists competing for $25,000 grants.

Chosen by a panel of over 40 judges, the selected Latinas in business have already shown success with the help of technology and a positive impact in building opportunities for underserved community around their served geographical areas.

AccessLatina co-founder Lucienne Gigante told LIBizus that she is very excited about this opportunity to work with a diverse group of Latina business owners with high growth profiles. “We were impressed by the level of innovation and creativity of these Latino women,” she said. Although the group has generated $1.2 million in revenue in the last two years, the companies’ scale remains small –less than 25 employees.

“Latina-owned businesses have increased nearly 200 percent over the past decade and we want to help them grow through access to mentorship, networks and opportunities,” added co-founder Marta Michelle Colón.

In fact, renowned global entrepreneurship and innovation professor Antonio Dávila hosted a one-day seminar on the challenges in managing startup growth for the finalists of the 501(c)3 accelerator. The seminar was hosted at District Cowork in Manhattan, New York.

Francesca Kennedy, AccessLatina finalist

Francesca Kennedy, AccessLatina finalist

They discussed examining the management challenges of a startup as it moves from the entrepreneurial to the growth stage, similarly to the stage of their business. The seminar, based on Professor Dávila’s book, “Building Sustainable High Growth Startup Companies: Management Systems as Accelerators,” examines how to best address the management needs of a growing business.

“It is very interesting to work with people like these Latina business owners who are enthusiastic about building companies and organizations that are helpful to society, said Professor Dávila. “It has been a pleasure to be a part of a non for profit helping women achieve their goals,” added Dávila.

And the selected Latina business owners are:

Francesca Kennedy’s artisan sandals donate clean drinking water to children in Guatemala for every purchase made. Francesca has been featured by Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Her sandals have been worn by A-listers such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Amanda Seyfried, and Rachel Roy, among others, and has collaborated with top brands such as GAP, Anthropology, and J Crew.

Victoria Flores2

Victoria Flores, a former Morgan Stanley executive, and Leslie Namad’s launched the first ever affordable and luxury hair extension and beauty product subscription box. They are also the founders of Press On Hair by SOBE Organics, sold at mass retail, and have pitched on Shark Tank. Flores is on-set for the 2016 Housewives of New York of Bravo.

Michelle Perez Kenderish’s e-commerce platform feature independent designers, makers, collectives and local brands. She’s also the founder of ChicaPReneurs, a monthly meetup and platform for collaboration that brings together creative entrepreneurs and cultural innovators from Puerto Rico living abroad.

Trina Bardusco’s digital branded content company specializing in women. She’s also the creator of the documentary series, Wanderlust. Her original web series’ for Yahoo Mujer that ran from 2008-2014, boasted 25 million unique monthly visitors, and came in second to People en Español’s most trafficked site by Latinas in the U.S.

Catherine Lajara’s clinical and pharmaceutical research company aims to reduce disparities in clinical trials and runs trials for pharmaceutical companies looking to develop new treatments. Lajara had very few connections and savings when she launched her business. The company today has five clinical studies. Lajara is passionate about health equity, women’s leadership, entrepreneurship and community development.

Matilsha Marxuach, AccessLatina finalist Latina business owner

Matilsha Marxuach, AccessLatina finalist

Matilsha Marxuach’s marketplace for fair-trade, environmentally responsible, and local artisanal tote bags has a mission of practicing sustainability.  Marxuach is a designer and entrepreneur who’s inspiration comes from local culture as well as from traditional lifestyles and knowledge. She also serves as an avid advocate of the concepts of fair trade and local consumption.

Cindy Cruz’ agricultural business to export exotic and natural goods grown locally in Puerto Rico. Cruz has made it her mission to use innovation and sustainable agriculture to advance local crops.

Sacha Delgado’s full immersion and cultural language school. Delgado is an educational entrepreneur and is the Co-Founder of a Waldorf Inspired School.

In addition to the finalists, and as part of AccessLatina’s alliance with Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurship show hit3001.com, AccessLatina awarded a spot in the Advanced Education Module, for Decennia Vega’s Semila, LLC- a company dedicated to the wholesale of clones of cocoa trees. 

Selection criteria for AccessLatina accelerator

AccessLatina’s criteria for selection included owning at least a 20 percent share in businesses within STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math), social innovation and urban agriculture industries (including ag-farm and ag-tech) that are headquartered in New York, Washington, D.C., Florida and Puerto Rico.

The finalists will receive three Advanced Education Modules with top global leaders. Then, the judges will select up to five winners that will receive a $25,000 grant and a crowd-funding round, publicity, mentoring and access to a high-profile network of professionals including entrepreneurs and investors.

AccessLatina is composed of a group of dedicated social and business entrepreneurs and is supported by Georgetown University’s McDonough Graduate School of Business, Kiva Zip, Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, Golden Seeds, Guayacán, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Oriental Bank and the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, among others.

 

About Susana G Baumann

Award-winning journalist, author, multicultural expert, public speaker, small business advocate and the Editor-in-Chief of LatinasinBusiness.us. Susana is an Argentinean immigrant who started her own small business over 20 years ago. Now, through her new digital platform and social media channels, she advocates for the economic empowerment of Latinas in the United States.
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  1. […] Puerto Rico is most well known for its famous beaches, all year round good weather and great food but one industry is slowly gaining national attention, plant cloning. And one smart entrepreneur, Decenia Vega Rodriguez, is a fast rising star in this area of innovation and one of eight finalists at AccessLatina accelerator program. […]

  2. […] With the use of social media and the quality of her products, her business began to pick up. Soon she saw tourists venture over to her shop instead of the ritzy malls. She could hardly keep up with production, and the rest is now history. She recently was one of eight finalists of the AccessLatina Business Accelerator program. […]

  3. […] Over the past 5 years, the Lux Beauty Club has been booming. Victoria has created a small network of customers and followers and her clients from housewives to celebs and corporate women who simply want to look gorgeous with their hair. But most importantly, she bypassed many of the pitfalls that happen to new start ups by building a successful business. She was recently selected as one of 8 finalists at the AccessLatina accelerator program. […]

  4. […] Kennedy, one of eight finalists at AccessLatina accelerator, is a truly inspiring Latina entrepreneur, designer, environmentalist and advocate for the […]

  5. […] AccessLatina announced its round of finalists for the first-ever multi-market accelerator program developed to reach one of America’s fastest […]

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