Busi­ness ties

Pro­gram unites Latino, Caribbean, ABQ en­trepreneur­s


Pro­gram unites Latino, Caribbean and ABQ en­trepreneur­s

Rebel Donut lovers could soon taste some dis­tinctly Caribbean fla­vors in their dough­nuts with fruits and spices newly in­tro­duced to the lo­cal bak­ing team by a Haitian candy maker.

Like­wise, pa­trons of Marie Flore Morett’s “Délices” con­fec­tionery busi­ness in Haiti could soon sa­vor dough­nuts along­side the soft can­dies her team sells in Port-au-Prince.

Morett has been work­ing with Rebel Donut since early Oc­to­ber, shar­ing recipes and learn­ing how the Albuquerqu­e busi­ness man­ages its op­er­a­tions.

She’s one of 10 en­trepreneur­s from var­i­ous Latin Amer­i­can and Caribbean coun­tries now in Albuquerqu­e un­der a Pro­fes­sional Fel­lows Pro­gram run by the U.S. State Depart­ment’s Young Lead­ers of the Amer­i­cas Ini­tia­tive. The pro­gram is spon­sor­ing 250 fel­lows for four-week stints this fall in 24 U.S. cities, al­low­ing them to en­hance their busi­ness and pro­fes­sional skills through work­shops, men­tor­ing, net­work­ing, and in­tern­ships at lo­cal busi­nesses.

“The fel­lows all met up in At­lanta and then headed off in teams to cities around the coun­try, in­clud­ing 10 that we’re host­ing in Albuquerqu­e,” said Adelle Lees, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Global Ties ABQ, the lo­cal arm of the State Depart­ment’s Global Ties U.S. net­work.

All the Albuquerqu­e fel­lows are now em­bed­ded in lo­cal host busi­nesses and non­prof­its that fo­cus on the same in­dus­tries in which the vis­i­tors are in­volved at home, Lees said. Some, like Morett, are im­mersed in day-to-day op­er­a­tions. Oth­ers are work­ing on joint projects with their hosts.

The fel­lows are also at­tend­ing the weekly net­work­ing meet­ings 1 Mil­lion Cups Down­town and Taza at the South Valley Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter.

Both fel­lows and hosts say the pro­gram is mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial.

Rebel Donut founder and CEO Carissa Ven­der said she’s now test­ing some typ­i­cal Haitian con­fec­tionery in­gre­di­ents in dough­nuts, such as fresh co­conut, spicy chile and pas­sion fruit.

“Marie has en­cour­aged us to re­think some in­gre­di­ents we might have over­looked be­fore,” Ven­der said.

Morett, in turn, is ac­quir­ing criti-

cal busi­ness skills to bet­ter man­age her op­er­a­tions in Haiti. A so­cial worker by pro­fes­sion, Morett es­tab­lished Délices to pro­vide in­come for strug­gling sin­gle mothers who grow the raw in­gre­di­ents for can­dies.

“I’m a so­cial worker, and be­ing a busi­ness leader doesn’t come nat­u­rally to me,” Morett said.

Juan Manuel Arel­lano of Mex­ico said Albuquerqu­e soft­ware de­vel­op­ment com­pany Mat­ter­form is help­ing him im­prove the tech­nol­ogy be­hind his new busi­ness, Medicheck, which of­fers a web plat­form and mo­bile app to con­nect Mexican doc­tors, clin­ics and pa­tients on­line.

On the other hand, his host, Mat­ter­form CEO Michael Her­rick, said he’s be­come more aware of po­ten­tial busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in Mex­ico.

Other fel­lows said they may seek to repli­cate busi­ness pro­grams they’ve seen in Albuquerqu­e.

Suri­name fel­low Ja­son Jones, whose firm Bril­liant So­lu­tions em­ploys univer­sity stu­dents to build on­line plat­forms for small busi­nesses, may launch a cod­ing boot camp mod­eled on Cen­tral New Mex­ico Com­mu­nity Col­lege’s Deep Dive Cod­ing pro­gram. And Daniela Ber­rio of Colom­bia, who runs a hos­tel in Medellin that con­nects vis­i­tors with lo­cal arts and cul­ture, is con­sid­er­ing a lo­cal ver­sion of 1 Mil­lion Cups and Taza for her city.


Ja­son Jones of Suri­name, right, gets ad­vice from John Meluso dur­ing a meet­ing at 1 Mil­lion Cups. Jones is among 10 en­trepreneur­s from Latin Amer­i­can and Caribbean coun­tries vis­it­ing Albuquerqu­e.

An­gel­ica Hearne from Ar­gentina, left, and Da­maris Guardado from Nicaragua, right, wave along with a group of peo­ple who at­tended 1 Mil­lion Cups.

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