Cisco’s 2015 Hispanic Heritage Month

 

Silicon Valley Latino had the pleasure of covering Cisco’s 2015 Hispanic Heritage Month .

Impacto Latino! That was the theme of Cisco’s first annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration  held on October 21, 2015 at its San Jose campus. Hosted by Conexión, Cisco’s Latino ERO, the event showcased the contributions made by Latinos, both at Cisco and across the globe, and also celebrated the unique Latino culture with food, music, art and dancing. The event coincides with the U.S. observation of HHM which is recognized from September 15 – October 15, the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries.

Cisco Hispanic Heritage Month 2015Over 200 attendees joined locally and from remotes sites in Mexico City, Brussels, Raleigh, NC, Austin, TX, and Boxborough, MA to hear from the great line up of speakers, network with their peers and celebrate. The agenda featured several Cisco leaders including Guillermo Diaz, Jr., SVP & CIO and Executive Sponsor of Conexion, Shari Slate, VP, Chief Inclusion & Collaboration, and Maria Dincel, Director, Sponsor Marketing and Head of Olympic Games.  In addition, a professional development component was offered and Gina Rudan, leadership coach and author of Practical Genius, delivered a keynote.

Event speakers:

Guillermo shared the impact Conexión has made over the past 17 years and highlighted the continued efforts to develop the next generation of Latino leaders at Cisco. He also shared the impact that Conexion had on his career and encouraged the audience to disrupt themselves and inspire exponentially.

Maria shared Cisco’s sponsorship plans for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics and the efforts Cisco is making in Brazil around country transformation.

Gina Rudan shared her 5 steps to leveraging your practical geniusand the importance of marrying the heart and the mind to create your genius.

Shari highlighted the power of partnerships to help unleash the power of our talent. She also shared the progress made by the Office of Inclusion and Collaboration to transform the company.

Following the main event, attendees in San Jose had the opportunity to network with their peers, learn Zumba, and connect with local Latino owned businesses – PONDL Winery, Vino Latino, Voces Wine, Tico Coffee Roasters, Teatro Vision, Ventana de Flores and Latino Art Expressions.  Conexión

Silicon Valley Latino looks forward to covering Cisco’s 2016 Hispanic Heritage Month event.

If you were a part of this event share your experience with the Silicon Valley Latino community.

Don’t just look for a Mentor: Develop your Personal Board of Advisors!

Article originally posted on LinkedIn by Cultura Ambassador Leandro Margulis

In this series, professionals thank those who helped them reach where they are today. Read the posts here, then write your own. Use #ThankYourMentor and @mention your mentor when sharing.

“You need a mentor.”

 

If you’re like most working professionals, this is one of the first pieces of advice you heard around college graduation or upon landing your first job.  (Stressed out at work? Get a mentor. Not sure how to navigate office politics? Get a mentor. Want to know whether going to grad school or switching careers is the right option for you? Get a mentor. Ad nauseum.)

But whether you received this advice from one of your professors, your mom, your neighbor, or a co-worker, finding a mentor is a lot easier said than done. (It’s not only hard to locate someone with the professional chops and time to help you out, it can be even harder for some people to ask for help in the first place.) And how do you know whether the mentor you do eventually hook up with is the right person to help you with your current challenges, let alone professional issues you encounter five or ten years from now?

Here’s the thing—you don’t.

The reality is that we need more than one mentor throughout our careers. We need many different mentors for many different things. We not only need different mentors over time as our careers grow and change, we also need different mentors at the same time.

Again, easier said than done, right? Well, not if you play your cards right.

You probably aren’t close friends with the all the people you spent every weekend with in high school anymore. Why not? Because you’ve changed a lot since high school, that’s why—you have an adult life with adult responsibilities. And just like you’ve moved on from several of your old high school friends, the close confidants you have at your current job or career stage may not be able to relate to you a decade down the road when you’re navigating the complex issues a top manager or executive faces, either.

Mentors are human—they have their own strengths and weaknesses, just like you do. They grow and change, just like you do. And the people you look up to as role models now might not be the role model you want a decade or even a year from now. Or you may find yourself needing help in a pinch for a unique business or personal situation that your current mentor has no concept of.

You Need a Team

This is where having a team of mentors, rather than just one, can come in handy. Take it from me—I once relied on only one professional mentor. But I soon found I needed more than that. So I eventually evolved past having just one mentor to having what I like to call a Personal Board of Advisors.

My advisors come from many different walks of life. Some are young—even students—while some are my age or older. Some work in my field, and some come from other fields. Some are still working, and some are retired. In all cases, though, they have a certain type of expertise or experience that I’m lacking—whether it’s a deep trove of professional contacts, financial acumen, the ability to speak frankly about difficult topics, or wisdom gained from many years of experience. (Or in the cases of my young/student advisors, it’s often youthful energy and a better understanding of new technologies like Snapchat, Periscope, or other emerging social-media platforms.) This allows me to have a variety of people I can choose from when I need specific advice about different topics at different times.

In this way, my personal board of advisors is similar to the boards of directors that advise CEOs at major corporations. Corporations make a point to build advisory boards where each member contributes according to a different specialty or strength. Why not have the same kind of board for your professional and personal development?

As my own personal board of advisors illustrates, not all mentors are gray-haired businessmen in drab suits. They are young and old, male and female, working and retired, in your industry and outside it.

Your own Personal Board of Advisors is out there, waiting to help you. You just need to go out and find them, and build those relationships. (Be prepared to mentor them in return, too—a big part of relationship-building is reciprocity.)

Modern Latina presents Fashion Fights Back Event

 

A runway event benefiting Latinas Contra Cancer

 

It will be a night of fashion, culture, and community honoring and celebrating breast cancer survivors. Guests will have a great time as they enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres, while viewing the latest fashion, including the reveal of the finished looks from our Frida Kahlo Inspired Look contest. Guests will have the opportunity to shop from our participating local artists, crafters and small businesses and have the opportunity to bid on the many unique silent auction items!

Latinas Contra CancerVIP reception includes some pre-festivity pampering, networking and VIP treatment with an exclusive gift bag, drawings and a sneak peek at the silent auction items. At the VIP reception, guests will meet Modern Latina’s Commemorative 10th Anniversary Edition Featured Latina, Tina Aldatz. Tina is a self-made, successful Latina entrepreneur who founded Foot Petals and is now the CEO of Savvy Travel. She will be sharing her compelling and heartwarming personal story of success against all odds from her book, “From Stilettos to the Stock Exchange.” Books will be available for sale and book signing.

All proceeds from the ticket sales and silent auction benefit Latinas Contra Cancer, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about cancer in the Latino community, increasing access to quality care, working to decrease mortality and improving the quality of the health care experience. Latinas Contra Cancer provides support services and resources for the Latino cancer patient and their family; collaborate with other small agencies to provide education and outreach services; partner with health care institutions to bridge the gap through culturally competent outreach and medical care.

This wonderful program will be emceed by community leader Mrs. Guisselle Nuñez, Director of Marketing, Public and Government Relations for the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District. Fashion will be featured from local Latina designer Sindy Hernandez de Cornejo who will debuting her 2015 #SINDYCollection as well as styles from Banana Republic and Dress Barn. The looks will be modeled by members of Latina Coalition Silicon Valley.

Enjoy a fun evening out while helping to raise awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer.

 

Location: San Jose Woman’s Club, 75 South 11th Street, San Jose, CA 95112

Date: Thursday, October 1, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT) ; 6:00 VIP entrance

 

General Admission $35 (After 9/23/15 $45) Entrance at 7pm

General admission includes entrance to fashion show with wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres. Entry at 7 pm.

 

VIP Reception Admission $55 (After 9/23/15 $65) Entrance at 6pm

VIP Reception Admission includes early entrance at 6 pm to enjoy some pre-festivity pampering, networking and VIP treatment that includes an exclusive gift bag, drawings and sneak peak at the silent auction items.

 

Purchase Tickets: http://bit.ly/1dzzsRp

 

 

Cultura Ambassador Isabel Valdés appointed to U.S. SBA

 

We are excited to share that SVL Cultura Ambassador Isabel Valdés has been appointed to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region IX Regulatory Fairness Board by SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

Isabel has been a long time supporter of not only our small business but many others and this comes as a result of all her hard work and dedication to the Latino Community throughout the country.

 

 

News Release

Untitled

 

 

Release Date:

Contact: Marlow Schindler (415) 744-6771
Release Number: Internet Address: http://www.sba.gov/news

 

California Small Business Owner Isabel Valdés Appointed to Federal Advisory Board

 

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco small business owner Maria Isabel Valdés has been appointed to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region IX Regulatory Fairness Board by SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

Regional Regulatory Fairness Boards in all 10 of SBA’s regions represent the voice of small business on regulatory fairness issues. Each Board is comprised of five small business owners who serve as a resource and point of contact for small business owners who feel they have experienced excessive federal regulatory enforcement and compliance actions.

Regional Regulatory Fairness Board members advise the Acting National Ombudsman, Yolanda Swift. Together, The National Ombudsman and Board members host regulatory fairness hearings and outreach events nationwide where small business owners report concerns about burdensome federal regulations.

“With extensive multi-cultural communications and marketing experience working with Fortune 50 as well as 1000 companies, across business categories such as retail, healthcare, financial services and insurance, as well as entertainment and media, Ms. Valdés is uniquely positioned to understand and advocate for small businesses,” Swift said. “As a member of the Region IX Regulatory Fairness Board, she will play a vital role in insuring that the voice of small business is heard by federal regulators, while facilitating regulatory solutions that save small business owners time and money.”

As a Region IX Regulatory Fairness Board member, Valdés will serve as a local resource for small businesses and will work with small business trade groups and other entities to address regional concerns about federal regulatory enforcement and compliance issues. SBA Region IX includes California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, and Guam.

Valdés is the president of IVC, a boutique marketing consulting firm. Valdés is also a VP of the Chile California Council (CCC) and is the Chair of the Center for Multi-Cultural Sciences, with previous positions with PepsiCO/Frito-Lay’s Advisory Board; The National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI); and The Latino Community Foundation (LCF) San Francisco. Valdés can be reached by email at isabel@isabelvaldes.com or by phone at (650) 444-3924.

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), created five-member Regulatory Fairness Boards in each of SBA’s 10 regions. As representatives of their local and regional small business communities, Board members provide insights and recommendations on regulatory challenges facing the small business owners they represent – perspectives that are critical to eliminating ineffective, duplicative, or outmoded regulatory business barriers to small business success. For more information about the Office of the National Ombudsman and the Regional Regulatory Fairness Boards, visit www.sba.gov/ombudsman.###

What’s the Secret to Great Networking? Become the Missing Link!

 

Article originally posted on LinkedIn by Leandro Margulis

Networking can be intimidating even to the most seasoned business people. It’s especially daunting when you don’t know anyone at the beginning of your career, or you’re starting out in a new industry (or country!) completely from scratch. But in today’s competitive business environment, the best opportunities often come to us from the people who already know and trust us. Without a solid professional network in place, you could miss out on these opportunities.

But how do you start building that professional network?

Let me tell you what’s worked for me. My name is Leandro Margulis and I am originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I moved to the United States twelve years ago to attend school and pursue business interests, and, at that point, did not know many people in the United States.

Like many working professionals, I did not have a strong network.

As time went by, I discovered that interacting with other people energized me, and I wanted more of that. I enjoyed bouncing around ideas with others, as well as learning about other people’s customs and culture.

I also discovered that not everyone felt the same way about networking as I did. Some people preferred to avoid interaction with others altogether. Some were shy, some feared rejection, and some had other reasons not to connect, like family obligations that took up a lot of their time. These people had even more difficulty building networks than most—but I’ve found that everyone has networking challenges to some degree.

This discovery showed me that I could add value to both individuals and organizations by helping to connect people I met in different places and through different sources. Sometimes one person I met was looking for what another person I knew could offer. But these two people would not have met unless I made the connection, because they frequent different circles.

In other words, I became their “missing link.”

The Missing Link As Snowball Effect
Everyone in the professional world should constantly be asking themselves this question: how do I add value? When I was thinking about what tagline to use on my LinkedIn profile, I realized that the best way to describe my personal business value is to show how I can connect people in ways that can benefit both them and their businesses.

I also realized that the more I connected people, the more events I was invited to. Each connection led to many more connections, snowballing upward and outward at a rapid pace. People started coming to me for referrals when they had trouble finding the expertise they needed. Not only that, people from my network began to call me for advice on an array of different issues.

In other words, I had not only managed to grow my network on a grand scale, I had also become a trusted advisor to my network. My personal brand as a connector of people continued to grow, too—attracting even more professional connections.

By leveraging my personal interest in meeting and socializing with new people and places, I became an essential business asset to my network. Being resourceful earned me access to contacts I did not have before. It also helped me enhance my reputation among different clusters of people. I became the “go-to” person for finding talent and ideas across wide groups—and the more people who consulted me, the more my credibility grew.

It didn’t happen overnight, of course—but networking is something that tends to build upon itself over time. You get out of it what you put in.

The Weakest Link Is Also The Strongest Link
Another term for “the missing link” is “the weakest link” Think of the person in your cluster of contacts who seems the least engaged. Maybe that person is only someone you run into occasionally at the coffee shop or gym. Maybe it’s the person on your work team who is the most reserved and least outgoing. Maybe it’s a person you worked with several years ago and liked, but have since lost touch with.

That person might seem like the weakest link in your network. But if you take the time to reach out to this person and find out more about what makes him or her tick, you might discover he or she has hidden talents, interests, or contacts that are exactly what you or someone else you know is looking for. By exploring the weakest links in your network, you might discover stronger links in their network. Or you might even find that the so-called weakest link can do something someone in your own network is dying to find.

For example, what if the shy software developer who never speaks up in weekly department meetings has a great idea for a new product or service one of your other contacts might be interested in? What if your former secretary who retired last year has relatives in the venture-capital world that could fund a startup? What if the intern who makes your coffee and organizes your files knows something about the sharing economy in Brazil because she backpacked there last summer?

The possibilities are endless. You never know until you ask.

Believe it or not, there is science supporting this theory. When I was a student at the Yale School of Management I learned about learning to leverage the weakest links in our networks  from Joel Podolny, who is now Dean of Apple University. (Talk about building great connections!)

During his research on the subject, Podolny created a graph similar to the one below to illustrate how the weakest link in one social cluster could be the strongest link between two or more social clusters:
Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 9.15.43 AM

The so-called “weakest” link might even be you! Contrary to its name, it’s a very strategic position to be in, both personally and professionally.

Do you want to become the missing link that could solve other peoples’ business problems? It’s easier than you think. Start out by learning to hang out in many different crowds across both your personal and professional lives. Keep your eyes open for new contacts—even unusual or shy ones—and actively listen to what people are saying. More than that, learn to read between the lines. (Your best friend’s rant at the bar last night about what a hard time he’s been having at work might be a clue that his business needs a smart consultant to help them solve a problem!)

And most of all, become the “go to” person everyone wants to invite to their meetings, parties, and social gatherings. Have the information and insight that people are looking for. Make introductions, and also seek them out. And never turn a blind eye to someone with an interesting story to tell, even if it’s not work-related. You never know where these contacts might lead you!

Share your thoughts with us and tell us how you become the missing link!

6 Latina Self-Made Entrepreneurs Seizing Technology and Building Winning Businesses

 

This article was originally posted on Hispanic PR Blog

6 Latina Self-Made Entrepreneurs Seizing Technology and Building Winning Businesses

 

Seasoned or budding entrepreneurs, all of these women have a few things in common. They’re Latina, self-made, have untraditional business models that have been built from the ground up, and are leveraging the tech world in smart and innovative ways.  They are without a doubt changing the face and perception of Latinas in business.  Here they are in alphabetical order:

 

  1.    Jessica Alba, The Honest Company – Making “Toxic-free” Trendy

Jessica Alba may be a well-known Hollywood starlet, but she has also proven to be a phenomenal business woman – growing her non-toxic, e-commerce business into a multi-million dollar machine with a current valuation of $1 billion.  The Honest Company’s product lines, which range from baby care products to household cleaners, are now also making their way onto retail shelves across America, including retail giant Target.

 

  1. Marie Forleo, B-School – Her Life As A Brand

Despite landing enviable positions on Wall Street and in magazine publishing, Marie Forleo could not shake off the feeling that there was something better out there for her. Naturally a people-person, she decided to take an online course and pursue a less familiar career path as a life-coach – a title that she admits she initially found to be “cheesy.” After deciding to develop a newsletter on the topic, Forleo leveraged her personal network to establish a loyal following.  Today, Forleo is a marketing and lifestyle expert, bestselling author, and Oprah certified business woman (yes, Oprah interviewed her).  She is teaching individuals how to succeed in business and life through B-School, an online business school for modern entrepreneurs developed by Forleo.

 

  1. Laura I. Gómez, Atipica – Tech Diversity Guru

In spite of having arrived to the United States at the age of 10 as an undocumented immigrant, Laura I. Gómez has proven to be a force to be reckoned with.  Gomez went on to graduate from a top college, receive U.S. residency, and work with leading tech companies including Twitter, YouTube, and Jawbone. She is now taking her tech know-how to the next level with her recently launched startup.  Her company, Atipica, helps the tech industry address its diversity challenge by working directly with hiring managers to improve companies’ recruitment and retention efforts.

 

  1. Maria Theresa Kumar, Voto Latino – Transforming The Latino Millennial Electorate

Since its founding in 2004, Voto Latino (VL) has registered nearly a quarter-million voters. Founder and CEO, Maria Theresa Kumar, started VL out of her apartment in New York.  Her vision: develop a platform that will empower Latino millennials through civic engagement. Today, VL is stronger than ever and recently launched what many are calling its most innovative program yet – VL’s Innovators Challenge. The program helps Latino millennials translate their “tech savvy” into technology work and is helping pave the way towards greater Latino entry into the Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math (STEM) fields.

 

  1. Michelle Rosado, Raging Babe – Engineer Turned Boxing Promoter

Michele Rosado may have started off as an engineer but her passion for the sport of boxing has led her down a road less traveled, perhaps untouched by most Latinas. Her company, Raging Babe – originally founded in Arizona – is taking the boxing community by storm and has significantly contributed to the resurgence of the sport in Arizona.  Today, Rosado is taking her business to an entirely new level with a Raging Babe online store, radio show, and a social media following that is helping to promote her brand to more than just your typical boxing aficionado. Rosado is blazing new trails for women and smartly leveraging technology to help build her boxing empire, which today extends well beyond Arizona.

 

  1. Lynette Spano, SCI Consulting – Triple Threat

After working as a receptionist for a software company, Spano’s interest in technology quietly developed into one of the largest woman-owned federal contracting companies in the country – SCI Consulting.  But serving as CEO of a multi-million dollar IT firm is not all Spano does, she is also a Latin recording artist – a path she pursued after suffering from a life threatening brain aneurysm. In 2010, Spano founded Stars, Stripes, and Hearts, a nonprofit initiative that raises funds for Hispanic service members suffering from mental health conditions.

 

Laura Berrocal is a Contributing Writer on tech and diversity issues at Silicon Valley Latino.  Follow her on Twitter at @1LauraB

 

Tico Coffee Roasters bringing you a smile every morning

 

Is this your first venture/company?
Yes, this is my first venture. I was born and raised in Costa Rica; before I came to the USA I worked in several industries like the coffee industry, finances and agroindustrial biotech.

What inspired you to start your own business?

Tico Coffee Roasters is a boutique company that specializes in unique and exclusive coffees and the finest teas from around the world. Coffees are hand roasted in small batches and the teas are carefully curated to guarantee product freshness and consistency. Our goal is to provide a truly unique experience.

Tica Coffee Roasters

I grew up in a small family in the Central Valley in Costa Rica, surrounded by coffee
plantations. It was a joy to play there, to see the coffee pickers and the trucks full of the red cherries and to experience the delicious smell of the coffee flowers.

I have been drinking coffee all my life. I often share that when I was a little girl I used
to wake my mom up early on the weekends, so she could brew me some coffee! 🙂
It is part of our culture, coffee time is really an oasis in a busy work day, we pause and deeply enjoy this delicious drink.

I love nature and always wanted to follow a career that allows me to be in contact and working with nature and at the same time and to make a contribution to sustainability. I studied Agricultural Economics at the University of Costa Rica and worked with coffee farmers from whom I learned a lot and also learned to respect and admire the dedication they put into growing this crop.

Tico Coffee RoastersWhen I moved to the USA I was missing that connection and relatedness that happens in the neighborhoods or the coffee houses. I was missing that great cup of coffee. I visited many independent coffee shops looking for a better coffee and it was hard to find it.

I researched how to import coffee, about the equipment and so on. I really wanted to create beautiful flavors and to be sure of the entire process, value chain and the end result. So I chose to roast the coffee myself. And I said, if I’m going to start this I’m going to start with the best. I buy only specialty coffees which means they have 85 points and higher (out of a scale from 0 to 100 points – like in wine, coffees have scores and different qualities). I also buy only micro lots which is a coffee which comesA from a specific part of a farm, region and country.

For the teas, I also did a lot of research and tasted many of them. After a while a found the ones that I really liked; they are loose leaf teas that range from the traditional black, green and white tea to other more exotic, some fruit and herbal teas as well.

What type of impact do you envision your company having in the market?

I hope I can make a difference in the Latino market in the USA, in a way so that they see and value their coffee and tea. But specifically for coffee, I want them to learn  and bring them closer to a product that has a face and a real story of someone from their country.

I want to continue working with the traditional American market and share with them what Latinos are capable of doing, that we can and want to work hand in hand to bring innovative products of the highest quality to the United States.

I want to positively impact the life of farmers and their families and communities back in the coffee lands, that they are rewarded and appreciated for what they produce

And finally I want to provide a product that is sustainable and that is growing in harmony with the environment, coffees and teas that are healthy and share all this information with consumers so they can make wise purchases.

How did your team come together?

I have a degree in Agricultural Economics and another in Business which contribute to the success of fast pace in sourcing coffees and developing and nurturing the relationships with our farmer and partners as well as creating partnerships in the Bay Area to expand our impact.

My husband and I wanted to build a business together and something that we both felt passionate about.  He is German and has fallen in love with coffee and with Costa Rica. In the numerous trips back home he has appreciated more and more the work of coffee farmers and he even became a judge for a competition called Cup of Excellence that allows our company to find exquisite coffees.  He is a successful engineer who brings all his knowledge in IT, and previous entrepreneurial experience to our team.

How has your journey been so far?
It has been an amazing experience! I have learned a lot especially because I jumped into this idea soon after I moved to the USA.

We are now selling not only online (direct and on Amazon) but also in several specialty supermarkets and are providing our products to restaurants, cafes, wine bars, tea houses and spas in the Bay Area.

When I see my customers happy, then I know we are helping them to create an experience with their end consumer, then I know it is worth the effort.

What would you like the community to know about you and your company?

I would like them to know that this is a latino woman owned business who is working directly with farmers in different countries in Latin America, that is making a difference for people in those countries improving their income, their communities. I would like them to know that for every product I bring, I have thought of them here in the US because I have listened what they like, what they feel proud of, where they come from and that they would like to drink coffee from their home country…. I’m still working on some origins!!

I also want to share with them that here is no middle man intervening in the negotiation since we buy directly form the farmers. We go every year to visit the coffee plantations and we can see how they grow the coffee, talk with them about the sustainable practices they use, we can see if the reuse resources at the farm level and also if they are incorporating new technologies that will help them reduce resources like electricity or water. We also provide them with new ideas and help improve their practices, so they also can get better results in their products and with that improve their lives and their communities.

What advice do you have others that are thinking of starting their own company?

I would tell them that if they have the opportunity and they are really passionate about what they do, if they feel deep inside that what they want is going to make a positive impact, then they should go for it. I would tell them also to be patient and have love and compassion for themselves. Being and entrepreneur is not easy and implies a lot of sacrifices but here is where your passion has to be big and strong so it will keep you going despite the bad moments that will happen.

Also, please share anything that you may feel that may be interesting for our readers.

We have some workshops and presentations about coffee and tea, like processing, origins, brewing methods, coffee cupping, coffee and tea tastings. They are open to the public so everybody can come to learn and have fun. They are always announce in our website, newsletter and social media

www.ticoroasters.com <http://www.ticoroasters.com/>

www.facebook.com/ticoroasters <http://www.facebook.com/ticoroasters>

www.twitter.com/ticoroasters <http://www.twitter.com/ticoroasters>

www.instagram.com/ticoroasters <http://www.instagram.com/ticoroasters>

www.pinterest.com/ticoroasters <http://www.pinterest.com/ticoroasters

Make My Quince modernizes the planning of your Quince!

 

What’s your elevator pitch? What problem you trying to solve?

  • MakeMyQuince is the first to bring online event planning and crowd funding to Quinceañeras. Our goal as a company is to build trust and provide great customer service to the Latinos; our entry point to the Latino market is through Quinceañeras. A Quinceañera is a once in a lifetime event and Make My Quince creates their solution of guiding Quinceañeras and their parents through the planning and funding of their family event.

Team Intro Kick-OffHow do you see your start-up disrupting the space it’s in? What type of impact do you envision your start-up having in the market? What inspired you to do your start-up? 

  • Make My Quince is taking planning tools, such as visualization, checklists, and budgeting, and bringing them together with the option to padrino fund items needed to create the perfect Quince event. We used the idea of padrino sponsors used traditionally by some Quinceañeras and applied it to our event planning service. Make My Quince is disrupting the way Quinceañeras and their families plan one of the most important events their families will celebrate and refining it to be available online or moblie. Latinos (teens and their parents) are already online and on mobile; Latinos are early adopters to new tech trends and top engagers on social platforms. The Latino market is a starving market as well as one of the most influential in purchasing power. Make My Quince strives to provide great service to our users and exceed their expectations in the planning of a Quinceañera.
  • Our inspiration behind Make My Quince stems from our experiences with Quinceañera events. Families are currently planning Quinceañeras the same way they did 20 years ago; we see Make My Quince making this planning process more efficient and fun. We also have the vision to use Make My Quince to empower Latino teens and their parents to practice skills such as budgeting, fundraising, and decision-making together as a family.

venturescape MMQ team

Is this your first start-up venture? How did your team come together?

  • Our team has a variety of individual professional and personal experiences and have all attempted entrepreneurship in the past. Make My Quince is the first start-up we have worked together on as a team.
  • Our team met at StartUp Weekend Sacramento in November 2014. Co-founder Fatima Ruiz pitched the idea of “crowdfunding for Quinceañeras” and as a team we developed a business plan, revenue streams, brand identity and won 2nd place that weekend. We have continued as a team since November 2014. We have had three focus groups and each one lead to big “AHA” moments – these have shaped our direction and validated the need and desire for our service.

 

How has your startup journey been so far?

  • After winning second place as StartupWeekend Sacramento in November, our team came together weekly to work on our project “Make My Quince”. We did not think that less than five months later we would be pitching Make My Quince, now an incorporated start-up, to serial entrepreneurs and leaders in the Silicon Valley. We have received great feedback and excitement from our daily interactions in pitching Make My Quince as well as learned what our users want from us. Our users want guidance on one of the biggest events of her life, while having the independence to make her event her own and Make My Quince will make this happen.

 

What would you like to achieve during your time with Manos?

  • We are communicating with users on a daily basis and adjusting our features to make them the best they can be for our users. We hope to have Make My Quince ready to be tested as an application and redesign our website. We also are looking for key Quinceañera vendor partnerships. Our first month at Manos Accelerator has been very enlightening. The access to a great network of mentors and networks have been influential in shaping our direction as well confirming the problem we are solving as Make My Quince.

 

What type of funding are you looking for?

  • We are currently looking for bridge funding of $500,000 for the development of two application and new user acquisition.

 

If you are part of a Latino owned startup and would like to be featured and connect with our Cultura Ambassadors please reach out to us via our website or any of our social media channels.

 

 

SmileyGo bringing smiles to Nonprofits & Corporations

 

SmileyGo (smileygo.org)

  1. What’s your elevator pitch? What problem are you trying to solve?

SmileyGo (www.smileygo.org) is the tech platform that is integrating the corporate world with the nonprofit sector, matching the philanthropic needs of a company with the requests of a nonprofit. We are creating opportunities to bring positive results in the fulfillment of CSR efforts and societal needs across the globe.

So, what is the problem? Nonprofits spend more than 40% of their time plus an allocated percentage of their budget on fundraising, which often distracts them from focusing on their mission. At the same time, companies spend a tremendous amount of time and money on PR and marketing, often searching for nonprofit alliances and community outreach opportunities to align their brand with. This diverts their focus from meeting and exceeding their customer’s needs and expectations. Ultimately, Corporate Philanthropy is difficult work and that is why we are working on a product that will automate and facilitate this process, while maximizing social impact on a global scale.

Via SmileyGo, we are streamlining the CSR process and helping companies do philanthropy more efficiently, via our low-cost, online platform, while generating greater social impact and smiles around the world.

SmileyGo at Manos Accelerator launch

  1. Is this your first start-up venture?

SmileyGo is the first for-profit global venture for many of us. Having a diverse team working together to solve a global problem, we all bring different experiences to our team, and most importantly, we all share a passion for helping others make the world a better place. Pedro started a non-profit when he was 16 during high school: www.yatayperu.com, a social enterprise connects teachers in American Schools in Peru with local Andean children in the highlands. Michael also founded two ventures, Conservosmart, a solution for kWh usage within homes, and MultiSite Professional (http://www.multisiteprofessional.com), a reliable, personal option for website development. Maria who is passionate about civic technology founded encire in 2014, which is an online platform that connects users to key information on the issues that affect their social, political, and economic lives. Dante founded esQela.org last year, an ed-tech platform to empower Latino students in their Quest to attaining higher education. By working together, we leverage our passions and experiences to develop a unique solution to making it easier for companies to make smart investments with long-lasting social impact.

  1. What inspired you to do your start-up?

The SmileyGo Team shares an innate desire to help others at a global scale. We all possess the SmileyGo DNA: passion, drive, and energy. We all have a passion to help others, the drive to revolutionize corporate philanthropy, and the energy that is required to change the world. In particular, the life experiences of Pedro David Espinoza and Dante Alvarado-Leon revolved around giving back to their communities. Both having lived in developing countries in Latin America saw the need to create solutions to help those in need and took action at a young age. Pedro’s main inspiration came from looking at all of the opportunities and positive impact his mother’s nonprofit created for young women in Peru. When he met Juana, a young woman from the Anders region of Peru, who told him that her future was going to work on a farm, Pedro and his mother helped her and opened the door for many opportunities for her. In the end, Juana enrolled in a higher education institution and graduated as an engineer. Similarly, Dante was inspired by the stories of children he met at an orphanage that he volunteered with his family in Mexico. Dante recalls the words of one of the children in an orphanage in the city Tijuana who told him, “I want to be like you and help those in my community when I grow up.” Ever since that day, Dante continued to give back to his community through service and by using his education to help those around him. These two stories combined with the diverse backgrounds of all of the members of the SmileyGo team led to the creation of SmileyGo, a global venture aiming to stimulate companies to give back to nonprofits at a global scale.

4.  How do you see your start-up disrupting the space it’s in?

SmileyGo is taking the lead in showing that companies as a whole can give back in a meaningful way that has a lasting impact. Other organizations may encourage individual employees to go volunteer or make donations toward a certain non-profit. However, at SmileyGo we want to make sure that companies – not just the individuals that comprise it – are socially responsible and that the resources being donated are being used properly. We strive for a simple, straightforward process that creates transparency. This transparency won’t only be helpful for consumers and companies, but will hopefully get non-profit organizations to effectively allocate and manage resources. Ultimately, we wish to revolutionize the way business is done, and prove to the corporate world that business is not only about making revenue, but it is also about creating impact, and that companies can do well by doing good.

  1. What type of impact do you envision your start-up having in the market?

We see SmileyGo as the catalyst for companies to do well, while maximizing social impact worldwide. By directing philanthropy toward charities and non-profits that will effectively use it, we aim to encourage more corporations to give back to communities in need around the world. Here at SmileyGo we are revolutionizing the way business is conducted. We want to make companies more aware of the needs of the world, and make it easy for them to become catalysts of change. Essentially, we are streamlining the process for both the non-profits and companies and helping them collaborate to help each other out. By matching the requests and needs of a non-profit with the resources and funding of a company via our tech platform, we will be able to foster a win-win situation and help companies make smart investments that will have long-lasting impacts on the non-profits.

  1. How did your team come together?

The co-founders, Pedro David Espinoza and Dante Alvarado-Leon brought together a diverse and talented team that shares the same vision and passion for a global cause. SmileyGo naturally attracts those who are passionate about corporate social responsibility and want to see a change in the way businesses give back to society, help non-profits in their struggle for resources, or a combination of the two. Our team is comprised of students from around the world, from the U.S., Mexico, Colombia, China, India, Africa and many other places. Most of us met at the University of California, Berkeley, and since then we have become a family of student leaders and young entrepreneurs with the vision to change the world, the heart to help others, and the spirit to dream big.

  1.     How has your startup journey been so far?

The start-up journey has been quite a thrill thus far. We are always making progress, but the progress has been far from anything like a straight, upward line towards success. The journey has been filled with twists, turns, loops and sometimes backtracking too. But through the entire process, we learn more about our company’s goal as a whole and have a deeper understanding of what we need to implement to create the best possible product. We are not the typical startup that rushes, seeks money and never sleeps. We rest, we bond, we are a family of winners, students, young leaders and learners. We have had to make many sacrifices to develop and create a global solution to corporate philanthropy, however, we have a passion for what we are doing that drives us to keep on going. To sum it up, our journey so far has been one of the best experiences in our lives. All of the work we put in every day, all the miles we have traveled together, and all of the time we have spent together to make our idea come to life has shown us that SmileyGo is our passion. We, the SmileyGoers, all share a common dream to work together as a family of young leaders and entrepreneurs. At the end of the day, we want to inspire and encourage others, especially our generation to dare to dream big, to be innovative, and to embark on their own entrepreneurial journeys to develop solutions to the challenges that we are facing today, while always remembering to smile.

  1. What would you like to achieve during your time with Manos?

During out time in the Manos Accelerator, we hope to achieve a clear direction in which we will head, so we bring to clarity to the problem we are solving, the solution we are providing, and how we can be sustainable throughout the process. At the moment, we are working towards developing an attractive, innovative, and concrete business plan that will allows to develop an efficient platform. One thing that Manos has definitely helped our company with–as a result of mentors and the number of resources we’ve been given–is setting a stable and simple foundation for what we aim to do and how we will implement an effective plan to create our tech platform to produce greater social change. By Demo Day, we hope to have a working and updated prototype so that we can begin connecting the corporate world with the nonprofit sector.

  1.     What type of funding are you looking for?

We are looking for seed funding, so that we can build the most efficient and reliable tech platform and stimulate our progression with SmileyGo. By the end of the summer we will possibly look for angel investments, if needed.

 

If you are part of a Latino owned startup and would like to be featured and connect with our Cultura Ambassadors please reach out to us via our website or any of our social media channels.

Dream Tuner empowers unsigned Musicians

 

We had a chance to visit with Dream Tuner and ask them about their startup being accelerated at Manos Accelerator in San Jose.  Are you a closet musician waiting to be discovered?

  • Is this your first start-up venture? You could say that it is at this scale. I had a couple of businesses in college and during my MBA that would generate extra income such as getting web designers in South America to develop pages for US companies at a lower rate (2006-2010).

Dream Tuner

What inspired you to do your start-up? I can say that music plays an essential role in my life, I still remember listening to The Beatles White Album and Let It Be with my mom and brother in our house when I was 7 years old, while She and my dad were getting divorced. Music became an outlet for my brother and I. He picked up the drums and I the bass guitar and for many years I guess that kept us sane from all the craziness that was going on.  Later on we had to go to college, get jobs and basically grow up, and left behind the instruments but we never left the music. The Aha moment came when I was visiting my family and my kid brother (ten years younger than me, from my mother’s second marriage) asked me to give him a ride to the local college station so that he could drop off a demo of his band to a DJ. That is when I realized that so much had changed thanks to technology and the internet but musicians were still dropping off their demos as had been done by young musicians since the early 60’s and 70’s.  I knew that I had grown up and had given up on the dream, but why should so many others follow that same path.

 

  • How do you see your star-up disrupting the space it’s in? Dream Tuner wants to empower the unsigned musician. We want to help them achieve their dreams while making it easier for their music to be discovered. At the same time we want to target listeners that label themselves as trendsetters, evangelists mavens. That one friend you have that is always promoting new music. We feel that both of these, the artists and these types of listeners are under served. We want music to be for the people and by the people.

 

  • What type of impact do you envision your start-up having in the market? We want to be the place to go for unsigned musicians to catapult to the next level. In baseball terms, we want to be the farm to help them make the leap to the big leagues. What product hunt is to app discovery we want to be to music discovery.

 

  • How did your team come together? Our team is composed of 2 brothers. A drummer and a bass player. I came up with an idea and called my brother in Los Angeles ( I was in Austin TX) to tell him that I had an idea in my head for about a month. it made sense to talk to him since he had studied music production and now worked at a music production company. We took it from there and kept developing the idea to a business plan even after I moved to Miami. After that, it just made sense that I should move to LA where my co-founder is and where so many musicians arrive every day with huge dreams and hopes.

 

  • How has your star-up journey been so far? It has been quite a ride. From a simple idea in Austin Texas, to winning a pitch contest in Miami, to developing the idea and then being in Silicon Valley. We never thought we would make it to where we are and the journey has always been uphill but exciting. We have learned a lot and have been questioned by many and have even been called naive by others for pursuing this dream, but we carry on. You learn to think fast, adapt, be persistent and know that for every 1 startup that makes it there are thousands that fail, in a way, it resembles musicians, for every one band that makes it there are thousand that see their dreams crushed.

 

  • What would you like to achieve during your time with Manos? Learn and keep learning. The ecosystem in Silicon Valley is like no other in the planet. The ideas that are generated here change the world and we want to be a part of it. We want to take full advantage of the opportunity Manos has given us to create a great product and at the same time collaborate with other startups. We hope to share our vision at Dream Tuner with the world soon.

 

  • What type of funding are you looking for? We are currently looking for angel investors to help with seed funding.