Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winners

Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winners at Univision 41

The Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winners visited Univision 41 studios to be interviewed by Katiria Soto, presenter of “Contigo en la Comunidad,” a weekly program that showcases the pulse of the Latino community in the Northeast.

Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winners

At Univision 41 Contigo en la Comunidad (L to R) Katiria Soto, Susana G Baumann, Mary Dressendofer, Tania Molina

Susana G Baumann, Editor-in-Chief; Mary Dressendofer, founder and CEO, Princess Plie and Friends and first place winner in the competition; and Tania Molina, founder and CEO, Villakuyaya, were guests at the popular program that airs on Sundays at 7:30 am on Unimas.

“As a Latina entrepreneur for over 20 years, I have experienced most obstacles and barriers that small business owners face when they decide to run with their dreams. Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey, especially if you are a ‘solopreneur,'” Baumann said. “The goal of is to give Latina entrepreneurs the opportunity to tell their stories and gather in an event, the Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition, which allows them to highlight their products, their services and their dreams. We also provide the chance for larger promotion and exposure while meeting important contacts that could help them grow their business and fulfill their dreams,” she added.

    You might be interested: The Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winner takes $1000 Cash Prize

Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winners

Susana with finalists during the winners’ announcement

 Get up and dance to the sound of Princess Plié and Friends

Mary Dressendofer, Princess Plie and Friends, during her “pitch” to the Media Panel.

This year’s Pitch Competition participants found a unique spotlight to tell their stories. First place was awarded to Princess Plié and Friends while second place was a tie between Villakuyaya and Around the Way Girl Inc. These are their stories:

Mary Dressendofer came up with the idea of Princess Plié and Friends as a way to take every child into a magical world in which they create adventures, explore dance and have lots of fun.

“Princess Plié is a magical princess that comes to life out of her Music Box. Each storybook contains a music CD and can be used in classrooms throughout many dance studios as part of the curriculum or just as a special treat. Princess Plié also has her new friends FiFi and Freddy the hippity hopping frogs,” Mary explained.

Mary’s dream is to create an animation with Princess Plié and friends, where children can get up off the couch, learn a different genre of dance in each episode and start dancing. “This will also allow children that cannot afford dance lessons an opportunity to learn in the comfort of their own home,” Mary added. You can support Mary’s dream by visiting her website  Princess Plie and Friends. 

Emeralds from Ecuador to inspire friendships worldwide

Tania Molina, Villakuyaya, during her “pitch” to the Media Panel.

Tania Molina found Villakuyaya, inspired by lessons taught years back about cooking and spices from her grandmother, her parents’ love and support, and a healthy Zen approach to business –through the practice of yoga. Through Villakuyaya, Tania creates her organic dark chocolate bars with a lot of love and awareness.  She chooses the finest “Arriba Nacional” cocoa beans, working with cocoa farmers from the Esmeralda’s region in the northern pacific coast, who practice sustainable agriculture with Organic and Fair Trade Certifications.

“The fundamental idea of Villakuyaya is to share with customers and friends a sensory experience that begins with the fruity flavors and floral aromas of our cocoa bean; a simple single chocolate bar can inspire friendships worldwide,” Tania explained. You can find her products at Villakuyaya.

Empower your community by claiming your Latina identity

Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winners

Soley Berrios, ATW Girl Inc Board Member, during her “pitch” to the Media Panel.

In a second place tie, Soley Berrios, represented “Around the Way Girl, Inc.” a grassroots nonprofit organization that provides intentionally designed education-based programs for young women in underprivileged and marginalized communities. The founder and CEO, Maya Carr, claims her Black and Puerto Rican heritage as a way to empower women of color in a positive and powerful light.

“I had a desire to educate myself on true Puerto Rican history, the African Diaspora, and local level politics. I knew, at that moment that women from underserved communities, “the ghetto,” “the projects” were truly intelligent, kind, empowered women. Once I had that understanding, I made it my duty to empower young women with tools for personal and professional success because greatness belonged to us. I began my community service projects in the Spring of 2011, and ATWG, Inc. was birthed in 2013,” Maya asserted. You can support their mission at ATWGirl, Inc.

You can be among the next Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winners!

Do you have a small business? Do you have a story to tell and dreams to achieve? Then you can be the next r! participant at the Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition. Contact to promote your business and your story, and connect with real opportunities for success.

A version of this article will be published in the January/February edition of Abasto Magazine. 

Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winner

The Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winner takes $1000 Cash Prize

The Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winner last night took the Grand Prize of $1000 in cash, a Magnum bottle of Moet&Chandon and the opportunity to be promoted in several regional and national media.

Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winner

Susana G Baumann with Pitch Competition Participants at the Latina SmallBiz Expo

Princess Plie and Friends was chosen among 11 Guerreras (warriors) who participated at the Pitch your Business to the Media Competition last night at the Campus Center Atrium in NJIT, Newark NJ. Second place was a tie between Villakuyaya Emeralds from Ecuador, a company that imports and sells gourmet organic chocolate fused with teas and other non-traditional ingredients, and Around The Way Girl Inc., a national organization based in Washington DC that supports girls of color.

Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winner

The winner of the competition, Mary Dressendorfer, creator of Princess Plie and Friends with Susana G Baumann

“I have a special place in my heart for Latina entrepreneurs,” said Susana G Baumann, founder and Editor-in-Chief, and the organizer of the event.  “Entrepreneurship is an amazing ride, and the ups and downs are totally worth the journey. So I want to tell MIS GUERRERAS and all of you starting and building your businesses to find and cherish your vision; learn who you are –your unique story, your personal brand– your aspirations and your purpose; then make a habit of letting the world know who you are! Become an expert at telling your story! And always keep that fire inside you growing every day! Persist, persist and persist,” she shared.

Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winner

A tie in second place winners belonged to Sol Berrios (L) , Board Member of ATWGirl Inc. and Tania Molina (R) founder of Villakuyaya

The winner receives:

  • A $1000 cash prize from
  • The opportunity to win an additional $1000 and great service when she opens a business account with Bank of America
  • A Magnum Bottle of Champagne courtesy of our Supporter Moet&Chandon
  • A ticket to attend next Friday Red Shoe Movement signature event in NYC –a value of $119
  • Special promotions donated by our sponsors and supporters
  • The opportunity to be featured and interviewed at all present media
Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winner

Ivetter Mayo, a powerful Latina leader, came from Texas to support the event

“Entrepreneurship is not an easy road and Latina entrepreneurs find many obstacles. But as I said in the beginning, you don’t have to do it alone. There are hundreds of Latina leaders and organizations willing to help you on your journey,” Baumann said.  “We were very fortunate to have some of these Latina leaders last night with us to support our work. We are very grateful to them! Women need to support each other as men do,” Baumann said.

Minue Yoshida and Yai Vargas, Latina leaders present at the Pitch Competition

Among the Latina leaders present at the event were the fantastic networker, public speaker, and contestant that came all the way from TEXAS, Ivette Mayo, founder of Power on Heels Network and Yo Soy Expressions. Texas was in the house!

Other Latina leaders that gathered to support the event were Yai Vargas, leader of The Latinista, an organization that gathers thousands of women around the country; Minue Yoshida, who prepared some of the contestants for the Pitch Competition; and Carolina Robles, -co-founder of WeLIFT. “These leaders are building community around them and helping others rise with them. These powerful Latinas deserve our recognition and support.” Baumann said.

Present at the spectacular night counted were 46 exhibitors that provided great support to the participants. It was a night of making connections and finding resources for Latina entrepreneurs. donated $2000 from General Admissions tickets to the Latino Networks Coalition to be destined to Puerto Rico and Mexico Disaster Relief.

“Several people are asking already when is the next one, and some sponsors have already committed their support for next year. We are thrilled that our dreams have come true. It happened, it did happen!” Susana concluded.

Latina SmallBiz Expo Pitch Competition winner

Beth Maramolejos, President of Prospanica NY Chapter receiving the $2000 donation from Susana G Baumann, to Puerto Rico and Mexico Disaster Relief Fund.