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Tiny Sprouts Foods

Meet Tina and Kim, two South-Asian moms planting seeds for healthier childhoods with their brand Tiny Sprouts Foods

These days, we understand the importance of nutrition and the impact our foods have on growing children. However, when Tiny Sprouts Foods founders Tina and Kim were growing up, their parents, like many others, did not know that 90% of our brain was developed by age 5, and that every bite we ate in our first few years of life could impact our health as adults.

Tiny Sprouts Foods

Tiny Sprouts Foods co-founder, Kim. (Photo courtesy of Tiny Sprouts Foods.)

It was only after experiencing health issues as young adults that the two friends developed a passion for nutrition. Food turned into their medicine, and seeds like flax, chia and hemp became staples in their diets.

Then, they each became mothers and their children’s nutrient needs were at the top of their minds. They began including seeds into their children’s diets as seeds are the world’s TINIEST superfood, packed full of all the essential nutrients a child needs to develop and thrive. 

During this time, the women began to wonder why there were no seed products designed for children? Seeds are a perfect, easy addition to any meal after all, with their small size, neutral taste, and versatility. They’re also an excellent way to sneak in some extra nutrition for even the pickiest of eaters. 

So Tina and Kim began brainstorming and finally the foundation of Tiny Sprouts Foods ‘sprouted’ and was ironically born on Mother’s Day 2020, at the height of the global pandemic. 

Uniting their passion for children’s nutrition and functional foods, along with their combined 30 years experience in the consumer goods industry, Kim and Tina bravely left their secure corporate jobs to fully commit to their mission of planting the seeds for healthier childhood development through their business venture. 

Tiny Sprouts Foods

Tiny Sprouts Organic Superseed Boosters, which combine wholesome ingredients and contain a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals. (Photo courtesy of Tiny Sprouts Foods.)

Today, Tiny Sprouts Foods is a minority-female-founded children’s nutrition company focused on producing easy, nutrient-rich products that offer functional health benefits to the developing child. 

Their top products are their Tiny Sprouts Organic Superseed Boosters, which combine wholesome ingredients and contain a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals while boosting your little one’s nutrition and help them meet their daily health needs. 

 

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From sprouting to thriving 

While they have overcome hurdles to get to where they are today, starting a small business at the height of the pandemic was not without its challenges. One challenge was the fact that both women lived in different countries. 

Tiny Sprouts Foods

Tiny Sprouts Foods co-founder, Tina. (Photo courtesy of Tiny Sprouts Foods.)

“We are a team of two South Asian moms who reside in different countries; Kim in the USA and Tina in Canada,” they say. 

However, despite the physical distance, they found their vision and passion for the business keeps them together. 

Another struggle that many entrepreneurs, especially those in the food industry understand, was supplying, manufacturing, and sourcing. Kim and Tina encountered many roadblocks, pushing back their original launch date, but quality and food safety was a top priority so they persevered through these hurdles. 

“From product development, ingredient sourcing, manufacturing through to testing of our final products, quality and safety of our boosters will always be our number one priority. With that, however, comes a ton of extra precautions thus adding costs and always more time!” Tina and Kim share. 

“We have had to change co-packers, deal with suppliers sending us incorrect materials, and ingredients not meeting our high-quality standards. All this combined led to a launch date that was severely delayed and time & money wasted. Surely, the thought of giving up came up endlessly, but we pushed through, got to the finish line and are extremely proud of the products we developed.”

Both Kim and Tina were raised by hard working immigrant parents, so they learned firsthand the value of hard work and determination, which they now apply to their daily work at Tiny Sprouts. 

“We saw the daily struggles and sacrifices that our parents endured to provide for our families.  It has made us more resilient and flexible in a world where minority female entrepreneurs still aren’t the norm.”

Tiny Sprouts Foods

“We pushed through, got to the finish line and are extremely proud of the products we developed.” (Photo courtesy of Tiny Sprouts Foods.)

Tina and Kim are also motivated to succeed and continue to grow their business and push past challenges when they hear feedback and review of how their products have helped parents and families. 

We hear the relief and happiness in their messages knowing that their babies and children are getting adequate nutrition despite ongoing picky eating habits or other mealtime issues. Mealtime stress is real and feeding children can be deflating and frustrating – knowing that we are making this easier and less stressful for fellow moms is the best reward we can get.” 

Knowing that they are not only helping to improve the health trajectory of the next generation, but are also providing parents with the peace of mind they deserve is a great motivator and the best reward. 

“There is no greater motivation than helping fellow parents do the same for their own children.” 

You might be interested: Black and Latina moms are becoming entrepreneurs now more than ever 

To other minority women entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners, Kim and Tina offer a few words of advice learned from their own journey. 

“The struggle is real,” they say, “but the reward is unreal. There will be some very tough times, but if you truly believe in your idea, stick with it and the reward will come. It’s a journey.  It takes grit and determination to start a new business from scratch. Always keep the end goal in mind, and always remember your mission. This is what truly got us through the hard times.” 

podcast

5 Podcasts every Latina entrepreneur should be listening to

These days, everyone’s listening to a podcast, and if you’re not then you should! Podcasts are not only a great form of entertainment—especially for the busy multitasker—but they can also be educational and inspirational. If you’re a Latina entrepreneur or career driven woman looking for a few new podcasts to motivate and inspire you on your journey, then check out our top five podcasts by Latinas for Latinas! 

Latina to Latina 

Latina to Latina is an interview series hosted by journalist Alicia Menendez. In this series, Alicia talks to remarkable Latinas about “making it, faking it, and everything in between.” The episodes are wonderfully candid and often hilarious with guests sharing both the challenges and triumphs they’ve faced on their journeys to success. As you listen, you’ll feel like you’re right there with them in these intimate and honest chats. 

 

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Café con Pam

Café con Pam is a weekly podcast featuring stories from fearless Latine/x and People of The Global Majority that break barriers, change lives and make the world a better place while living in the US. Hosted by business coach Pam Covarrubias, this podcast is the platform where Latinx are able to share their stories and inspire one another through conversation of course while enjoying a fabulous cup of coffee! 

latina podcast

cafeconpampodcast On this #internationalwomensday let’s talk about women in podcasting.
COLLECTIVE ACTION.
COLLECTIVE VOICES.
#ClaimPodParity
🤲 COLLABORATE. Women are essential to innovating podcasting in exciting and critical ways, bringing awareness to the talent and expertise of those historically excluded.
What was a male-dominated enterprise is no longer and women podcasting experts are driving this culture shift.
If you’re a podcaster, use and share #ClaimPodParity as we join together in collective action to make our collective voices heard.
Thank you all for being here and supporting my dream of sharing our stories 🙌🏽
#latinapodcasters #womeninpodcasting #womenwhopodcast #latina

 Going Forward with Angie Carillo

Going Forward with Angie is the podcast for any Latina entrepreneur looking to advance their personal and professional development. This podcast is about building a life and business you love. Hosted by content creator and entrepreneur Angie Carillo, Going Forward provides advice and actionable tools for you to move forward in your personal and professional development by creating the life and work you love without stress and burnout. 

All Things Latina Podcast 

All Things Latina is a podcast centered around business and career motivation topics. It’s uplifting, motivational, and educational. Hosted by co-founder of Latina lifestyle brand Latina Approved, Tania Estefany shares her expertise as an entrepreneur and digital marketing manager. Tania’s mission and passion is helping others find their “super power” and thrive. 

 

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Yo Quiero Dinero

Yo Quiero Dinero podcast is all about money!  In each episode Latinx and POC changemakers share their personal finance stories and inspire you to take your dinero to the next level. Hosted by Latina thought leader, speaker, and content creator Jannese Torres-Rodriguez, Yo Quiero Dinero helps to educate marginalized communities on topics such as financial literacy, investing, entrepreneurship, and building generational wealth. 

You might be interested: 6 Latina financial experts you should be following on social media

A ‘lost in translation’ moment as a new immigrant inspired Elisabete Miranda to launch CQ fluency

Elisabete Miranda is the President and CEO of CQ fluency— a translation and language services company specializing in cultural adaptation with a focus in healthcare and the life sciences. 

CQ fluency was born from Elisabete’s own experiences navigating the healthcare system through language barriers when she first immigrated to the U.S. in 1994. A serial-entrepreneur, Elisabete owned twelve small businesses at different periods of time in Brazil. Eventually, she and her family decided to pack up and move to the “land of opportunity.” 

“We arrived in the U.S. with very little money, not speaking one word of English, and the hope of providing a better life for our family,” said Elisabete. 

The biggest challenge they soon faced was not only the language barrier but the cultural differences, especially in healthcare spaces. 

She experienced a literal “lost in translation” situation when her six-year-old daughter received a false positive tuberculosis diagnosis. Due to a lack of cultural knowledge, the school nurse did not know that in Brazil children are vaccinated against tuberculosis. Luckily, Elisabete found a physician who luckily understood the family’s cultural profile and the situation was resolved. However, had her daughter been given treatment for tuberculosis, the remains of the vaccine could easily have been reactivated, infecting her with the very thing they were trying to cure. 

This situation was an eye-opener for Elisabete on the challenges people face in the healthcare system when there is a cultural and language barrier. This experience is what ultimately inspired CQ fluency’s focus on healthcare. 

Today, CQ fluency is a purpose-driven, certified woman-and minority-owned and operated, award-winning company with global operations servicing Fortune 500 companies. CQ fluency partners with the world’s leading life science and healthcare organizations to supply culturally relevant translation solutions in over 170 languages.

 CQ fluency nimbly responds with leveraging the best platforms and harmonizing them to work well together for a truly customized language tech stack for each client. This focus on customized language technology is what has helped drive their growth.

CQ Fluency

Elisabete shares the story of CQ fluency’s origins and the ‘lost in translation’ moment that sparked the business. (Photo courtesy Elisabete Miranda)

We are on a mission to improve lives by leveraging Cultural Intelligence (CQ) by translating meaning and feeling to cultivate real human connections that ultimately improve health outcomes,” said Elisabete. 

Being an underdog and following your heart as a Latina entrepreneur

As a woman-and-minority-owned company, CQ fluency is ‘people-centric’ and passionate about diversity and inclusion. Elisabete attributes the strength and success of the company to their people. 

“We exist to improve lives, every life we touch – our people, clients, vendors, and partners, this is the strength that drives us to do what we do every day. You cannot grow a company alone.  I hold myself to the same standards to which I hold our people, and there is not a single thing that I would ask them to do that I wouldn’t do myself,” she said. 

The diversity and inclusiveness of our people contributes to our success. I bring my true self to work every day and encourage our team to do the same.” 

Elisabete’s true self is one who is passionate, unconventional, and a bit of an underdog. Working since the age of twelve, Elisabete developed an incredible work ethic early on. After immigrating to the U.S. she quickly learned English and finished her Business Degree. Along every step of the way, Elisabete has pushed past obstacles and succeeded. She believes that hard work, persistence, and passion are the keys to success. 

“It’s less about the eagerness to achieve success and more about the commitment to serve that resulted in success. I always want to be the best I can be so it was also very important to me to focus time on my own personal development. You can’t grow a company if you don’t grow yourself.” 

While being an ‘underdog’ against competition continues to be a challenge at times, Elisabete’s unconventional approaches have often led her to triumph over competitors. 

“For me, it’s more important to follow my heart and be true to myself.” (Photo courtesy Elisabete Miranda)

“It’s not that I don’t know the traditional way of doing business, it’s just that sometimes I decide not to follow it. For me, it’s more important to follow my heart and be true to myself,” said Elisabete. “I believe that we are ‘one person,’ professionally and personally. I know that suggesting you lead with your heart might sound crazy to some, but against all odds I can say that I have achieved success, and it worked for me.” 

Recently, CQ fluency had a request for proposal (RFP) opportunity, but lacked some of the global presence the client required. To increase their chances of success, they partnered with one of the largest translation companies in the world. Despite providing a very solid response to the RFP, they were initially eliminated and told they would not be moving on to the presentation phase of the process. However, Elisabete followed her heart and took the unconventional approach. 

“You can ask anyone that knows me, one of my favorite sayings is ‘you don’t get what you don’t ask for,’ so we politely asked them to please reconsider to at least allow us to present,” said Elisabete. “Next thing we knew, we were given a date and were among one of the three finalists.” 

Up against two of the largest translation companies, Elisabete and her team were once again the underdogs. Still, they found a unique way to stand out. What really set them apart was their ability to truly listen to the needs of the client. 

“We asked the right questions and clarified information they were looking for during the presentation, and in the end-that is what won us the business,” said Elisabete. “Business is not always about the money. This client for sure will not be our largest but is one we will be most proud to serve as they share our mission of improving lives especially for the most underserved populations in the world.”

You might be interested: Tania Molina, the architect who left her career for her chocolate dream

“Learning to think big and be bold were catalysts to my success” 

With hard work, persistence, and passion Elisabete has grown her business into an award-winning global company. Her story is an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere that you too can follow your heart and make your business a reality. 

Elisabete Miranda

From underdog to award-winning global company, Elisabete Miranda followed her heart to success. (Photo courtesy Elisabete Miranda)

“Being a woman and a business owner is not easy and many women think they can’t have it all, but that is false! You absolutely can have it all if you surround yourself with the right support system of people who have your best interest at heart and want to see you succeed,” Elisabete advised.

Organizations that sponsor and promote women-owned businesses, such as NMSDC, WBENC, EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women, DA4S, and even Latinas in Business, are great places for women entrepreneurs to get started and find like-minded women.

“I love the concept ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ Getting involved in those organizations solved that for me – I met plenty of successful women who became my role models and some of my friends,” Elisabete shared. 

Lastly, Elisabete encourages aspiring women entrepreneurs to step outside of your comfort zone. 

 “Learning to think big and be bold were catalysts that converted the hard work, persistence, and passion to my success as an entrepreneur!  Henry Ford said: ‘Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right!’ – just believe you got this, because you most certainly do!”

First Lady of New Jersey

First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy emphasizes women entrepreneur leadership

First Lady of New Jersey Tammy S. Murphy addressed women’s leadership at 2019 Entrepreneur Empowerment Lunch organized by Latinas in Business Inc.

strategic alliances

The Power of WE NYC and four Latina entrepreneurs building strategic alliances to succeed

The Power of WE NYC presented a panel “en español” leading to discuss the topic of “Building Strategic Alliances”(Construyendo Alianzas Estratégicas). WE NYC (Women Entrepreneurs NYC) is an initiative based out of the New York City Department of Small Business Servicesdedicated to helping women start and grow their businesses.

The Power of WE NYC Spanish Panel (L to R) Diana Franco, WE NYC; Susana G Baumann, Latinas in Business Inc.; Juanita Galvis, The Assemblage; Bisila Bokoko, BBES International; Sarah Valdovinos, Walden Green Energy; and Rosario B. Casas, VR Americas.  (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

“While there are almost 359,000 women entrepreneurs in NYC and women contribute approximately $50 Billion annually in revenue,” says WE NYC,  “according to our research, men own 1.5 times the number of businesses, have 3.5 times the number of employees, and generate 4.5 times the amount of revenue.”

strategic alliances

Diana Franco, Director, WE NYC (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

I was grateful for the opportunity to be invited as a panel moderator for this event, and to be able to meet with the WE NYC team led by Diana Franco, Director, Women Entrepreneurs NYC. In her remarks, Diana prompted the audience -mostly Spanish speaking entrepreneurs or to-be entrepreneurs- to think of strategic alliances and partnerships as ways of building and expanding their businesses rapidly and more effectively.

strategic alliances

Susana G Baumann, Founder, President and CEO, Latinas in Business Inc.

As explained on their event’s brief, “The WE NYC research conducted in 2015, found that 75% of the WE cited the lack of business networks as a challenge. Creating these networks will be especially helpful to obtain clients and build partnerships. There is no better approach to solving challenges than the famous saying ‘two heads are better than one,’ harnessing the strengths and abilities of others from different corners of the ecosystem is one of the most strategic ways for businesses to scale.”

How hard is it to be a Latina entrepreneur?

We know how difficult it is to be an entrepreneur … Moreover, when you carry what I call “the triple qualifier”: being a woman, an immigrant –or a descendant of immigrant parents or grandparents– and a Latina … working and struggling to sustain and grow your business.

We had the opportunity to listen and interact with a panel of women entrepreneurs who benefited from different types of strategic alliances and collaborations and with them facilitated the success of their respective companies.

Juanita Galvis: An enterprise based on collaborations
strategic alliances

Juanita Galvis, co-founder and Chief of Social Impact, The Assemblage. (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

Juanita Galvis is Co-Founder and Head of Social Impact of The Assemblage, spaces of co-participation designed specially to promote growth, creativity, and personal and business well-being. These spaces can be used for work, community building and even flexible stays and event production and promotion.

The vision of Juanita’s company describes the values ​​that sustain their model as: collaboration, innovation, relaxation, growth, balance and impact. In the topic of collaboration, for example, they mention the assembly or connection with other creatives, leaders and entrepreneurs to develop projects that inspire social change and disrupt the established order.

Juanita spoke about her biggest challenge, which is a to be part of a family business with her ex-husband. “We have created a different type of relationship between us,” she said, “personal and professional. We established certain rules and we defined our areas of expertise so decisions are made that way. It is not impossible,” she explained.

Rosario B. Casas: Technology and strategic alliances
strategic alliances

Rosario B. Casas, Co-founder, VR Americas.  (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

Rosario B. Casas is Co-Founder and CEO of  VR Americas, a company dedicated to expanding the borders of immersive technologies –Virtual Reality, Augmented, Mixed– in industrial applications. Rosario is a Colombian entrepreneur based now in New York with more than 7 years of practical experience in data and technology platforms and management roles.

She is also an enthusiastic advocate for growth of Women in Technology (STEM), co-founder of several strategic partnership models, member of the Big Data Advisory Board at Rutgers University, and has been a lecturer at TEDx, The World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship , and The World Innovation Network TWIN Global, among others.

In addition to its virtual reality products, perhaps the most well-known project of VR Americas was the Telemundo AR campaign for the 2018 World Cup. Through an application, fans of the world could follow and support their favorite teams and players, witness crucial moments of the championship, share it in networks and even play with their favorite effects.

Rosario explained how she started her virtual reality company with two partners that understood their roles. “One is a nerd like me,” she said,” the other one is our out-and-about person, who finds clients partners.”

As a company that needs to develop a portfolio of present customers and at the same time increase the capacity of their company with a vision to the future, they are constantly looking at who their potential clients are and who can benefit from the technology they offer. “Remember that you need to solve a problem, a ‘pain’ that your customers cannot resolve by themselves,” Rosario said.

strategic alliances

Sarah Valdovinos, Co-Founder, Walden Green Energy.  (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

Sarah Valdovinos: Access to strategic capital

Sarah Valdovinos is Co-Founder of Walden Green Energy, a company focused on renewable energy projects. In addition to her work at Walden, Sarah makes investments in companies that fight climate change, including solar energy distribution companies in Latin America, charging station networks for electric vehicles, and other sustainable technology companies.

Previously, Sarah worked 10 years in investment banking. She entered the field of energy over twenty years ago at Southern California Edison. Sarah is first generation of a Mexican family, and she has also been the first of her family to graduate from college.

Getting capital from investors is one of the most important obstacles for all small businesses, especially for minority-owned companies. Many do not have the family network and social relationships that can become initial or angel investors.

Sarah defined early on that she was interested in sustainable energy but saw that money was an issue to achieve her goals. “I decided to pursue an MBA and work for a few years in the financial industry, where I not only acquired the knowledge to build my own business with two partners, but also the contacts and relationships I needed to fund my projects,” she explained.

Most impressive is Walden Green Energy’s rapid growth. In just 7 years, they started the construction of two projects that produce 150 MW of solar energy. “To give you an idea, it powers about 50,000 to 60,000 families,” Sarah explained.

Bisila Bokoko: Alliances for international expansion
strategic alliances

Bisila Bokoko, Founder, BBES International. (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)

Bisila Bokoko is an award-winning bilingual speaker, television personality and advisor to world leaders. Bisila is the founder of BBES International,a business development agency based in New York that represents, promotes and markets brands to reach the global market. She also serves as an advisor to emerging leaders, providing guidance on personal branding and leadership that prepares them to move to the world stage and share their experience at a global market.

Bisila has shared her professional experience and her inspiring journey with audiences around the world during her 18-year career, and has been a presenter in diverse places such as the United Nations Organization in Switzerland, a keynote speaker in the Dominican Republic and in South Africa.

Bisila presents her company as a passport to other markets and she introduces herself as the “ambassador” of the brands she represents. “An Ambassador, like in real life, is someone who represents your brand with total knowledge and expertise about your company and is completely embedded in your company’s vision and goals. It is someone who can speak intelligently and convincingly to global strategic partners and get them interested in your product,” she explained.

BBES International mostly represent Spanish brands that have entered international markets such as Europe, South Africa, Latin America and the United States. “Before I take a new client and develop an international marketing strategy, we evaluate the company to see if they are ready for the jump, and the markets that best fit their needs,” she shared.

        You might be interested: Ready to Run® Conference and Eleccion Latina pushes for more diversity in politics

The audience then got to make questions to these fantastic Latina entrepreneurs who are rapidly growing their businesses and sharing their experiences. We thanked them for their time,  it was truly an extraordinary panel about strategic alliances, and we learned from their successes!

strategic alliances

Q&A Session after the Building Strategic Alliances panel – Dr Ginny A. Baro. (Photo Credit: Afrikanspot.nyc)