San Juan, Puerto Rico – Doral Bank revealed today the results of Despegue Empresarial’s second edition, initiative within Mujeres d Éxito, a community program that looks to support the professional and economic growth of women in Puerto Rico. This year the call to these entrepreneurs broke a record on the number of applications received, over 130 women submitted their businesses to participate for the opportunity of being 1 of 20 winners, that will receive $700k in total for the growth of their businesses. Additionally, they will receive other benefits that include media exposure and an advanced educational workshop.
“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. This data inspires us to continue supporting the economic growth of women, with our initiative we’ve been witnesses of this growth,” explained Lucienne Gigante, SVP of Marketing, Public Relations and Community of Doral Bank.
Doral reported a change in the types of businesses selected, with representation in areas around the island. With more agricultural businesses on the rise, the winning businesses represent the following industries; baked goods (2), agriculture (4), services, mechanics, manufacturing, fashion, health, among others.
30 finalists were selected from which 5 businesses were chosen to receive $25,000 as a donation and $25,000 as a loan. 15 others were chosen to receive $30,000 as a loan. These loans will be offered with more flexible terms than those currently on the market and with closing costs covered by Doral. The 10 semifinalists will receive an educational workshop.
The 5 businesses-women chosen to receive $50k:
- 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 businesses-women chosen to receive $25k:
- 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.- Lcda. Mariangeli Figueroa
- RC Pon, Inc- Rochele Montalvo
“We are 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 Puerto Rico.
A committee of external advisors made up of entrepreneurial women, whom are widely recognized for their work, were in charge of the selection of winners.
The committee was composed of: María Teresa Szendrey, partner of the law firm Fiddler, González y Rodríguez; CPA Dervin Cabassa, Senior Tax Manager of BDO Puerto Rico; Eva Vázquez, professor from University of Sacred Heart; Tere Dávila, partner and creative director of the advertising agency Lopito, Ileana & Howie; Patricia de La Torre, editor of Caras magazine; Cristina Collazo, owner of Valija Gitana; Desirée Lowry, co-owner of the Miss Universe Puerto Rico franchise and president of Runway Media and ‘Desirée Lowry Centro de Refinamiento y Modelaje’; and Lucienne Gigante, SVP of Marketing, Public Relations and Community of Doral Bank.
Training and Mentorship
“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 understand that women who are growing their businesses further need to educate themselves constantly to be able to achieve success. We’ve developed workshops to also support their intellectual growth,” indicated Lucienne Gigante, SVP of Marketing, Public Relations and Community of Doral Bank.
The winners will also benefit from a specialized ‘boot camp’ for them and a member of their management team designed by Eva Vázquez, professor at the University of Sacred Heart. Mentoring will be focused on topics such as; key elements for success, marketing and sales, gaining capital, and professional etiquette that speaks success. The opportunity to participate would also be offered to the 10 semifinalists.
Also, the winners will be supported by an investment of $100k in advertising that will get their businesses a lot of publicity and visibility.
*Estudio: Investing in Women and Girls, 2009. UN Women