TAMPA – One of the winners launched a tilapia importing company from Colombia. He called it PezCo. Another winner knew that the future of commercial waste management – call cell phones, computers, televisions, washing machines, sound equipment and microwaves, among others – is in the recycling and was not wrong.
A third winner found a niche in the market for babies with designs that stand out for their quality and originality.
The entrepreneurial excellence and drive of these Hispanics were recently honored by the Florida Hispanic Business Initiative Fund (HBIF). The recognition was made during the annual ‘Success Stories Luncheon’ contest, on October 14, at the Marriott Waterside Hotel, located at 700 South Florida Ave., in Tampa.
The businessmen awarded by HBIF were Juan Carlos Libreros, from PezCo Aquafarming; Tony Selvaggio, from e-Smart Recycling; and Michaelene Cadiz, founder of Bazzle Baby. The group was selected based on the growth and economic impact of its business, according to a statement from the organizers.
“Helping Hispanic entrepreneurs become successful business owners is the main purpose of HBIF. We are proud to contribute to its growth, “said Víctor Rivera, HBIF vice president at the state and west coast levels. “Their stories demonstrate the level of passion, commitment, work and ingenuity that allowed them to turn their dreams into prosperous companies.”
In the case of PezCo, Aquafarming is a Clearwater-based company that started operations in 2014. PezCo is moving forward at a steady pace in a market that focuses on key points in the tilapia marketing process. Its strategy: first level feed of tilapia, care and maintenance of aquaculture farms, sanitary certifications and presentation and packaging of the product.
PezCo imports to the United States the tilapia that is produced in aquaculture farms and facilities established in the Colombian region of Huila and Valle del Cauca. The operations go hand in hand with Piscícola Botero, one of the largest producers of Colombian tilapia more than 25 years ago.
The prize of Selvaggio, Venezuelan and 28 years old, highlighted his ingenuity to make his way in the world of business and trigger the idea of recycling. The result was e-Smart Recycling (‘Scrap on Spot’).
At the beginning of this year Selvaggio’s project was awarded a prize of $ 10,000 in a competition in which dozens of entrepreneurs participated. The call was sponsored by the Hillsborough County Economic Development Department and local entrepreneurs.
In the group of winners of the HBIF also figured Bazzle Baby, of Cadiz. The company is synonymous with ingenuity for its fashionable, functional and safe products for babies that, at the same time, help to make life easier for parents. The company offers bibs in a variety of sizes and other accessories, available in elegant and modern designs.
The annual meeting highlighted the efforts and goals that guided the start of HBIF’s operations more than two decades ago. The HBIF was founded in 1991 by community leaders and government officials, such as the former mayor and commissioner of Hillsborough County, Pam Iorio.
In the development and establishment of the foundation, the group identified the need to provide bilingual technical assistance and support to Hispanic entrepreneurs in the area.
HBIF has offices in the Tampa Bay area, Orlando and Kissimmee. It also has a presence in South Florida (Miami, Hollywood and Sweetwater).
The offices work to increase the number of viable and fiscally sustainable businesses with the purpose of creating jobs and helping the community to prosper.
For more details and additional information about the winners of 2015 visit the website HbifFlorida.org or call (813) 980-2765.
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