For immediate release

United States Department of State


U.S. Department of State, America’s Small Business Development Center, INBIA and Partners Name Finalists for the 2018 Cohort of the La Idea Incubator Program

The U.S. Department of State, ASBDC, InBIA, and partners are proud to announce the 2018 La Idea Incubator Program Food & Farm Cohort Finalists:

Jolies, Founder: Tatiana Berrios, Location: Costa Rica
Jolies produces pure nut butter free from chemicals, sugars, substitutes, and preservatives. Their line includes high-quality peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter.

La Bendecida, Founder: Andrea Lurecia Fion Gongora, Location: Guatemala
La Bendecida specializes in the production and retail of top quality rural honey and also promotes environmental awareness and conservation.

Lacteos San Miguel S.A., Founder: Miguel Guardia, Location: Costa Rica
Lacteos San Miguel S.A. produces gourmet aged and fresh cheeses using Swiss techniques and environmentally friendly practices.

Maraguas Farm, S.A., Founder: Anny Inestroza, Location: Honduras
Maraguas Farm, S.A. produces and packages locally grown sweet potatoes for international export.

Mercadito by EtyaLab, Founder: Susana Lau, Location: Panama
Mercadito by EtyaLab is a software development company which promotes national production and supports farmers in their sales process.

Preparato, Founder: Enrique Vives Blen, Location: Costa Rica
Preparato offers frozen and refrigerated food options including sandwiches, burritos, rice, and other options with an emphasize on frozen pizza.

Rancho Alemania, Founder: Gustavo Alvarez, Location: Belize
Rancho Alemania sells cattle, both for breeding stocks and food lots, piglets, and an assortment of vegetables including tomatoes, onions, and a variety of peppers.

SB Café Los Santos, Founder: Sindy V. Sevilla, Location: Costa Rica
SB Café Los Santos produces and ships a variety of ground and whole bean coffee blends.

Tapir Chocolates, Founder: Mauricio Varela, Location: Costa Rica
Tapir Chocolates makes hand-crafted, vegan chocolates to aid in Tapir conservation efforts.

About the La Idea Incubator Program/Small Business Network of the Americas

For more information on this initiative, please visit:

This grant is funded and initiated by the United States Department of State, the La Idea Incubator Program is a powerful initiative focused on strengthening entrepreneurship and job creation across Central America. The program is a collaboration between America’s Small Business Development Center (ASBDC), International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), CENPROMYPE in El Salvador, and the University Texas, San Antonio. The La Idea Incubator Program is designed to encourage trade and commerce between Central America and the United States.

The program provides entrepreneurs from Central American countries access to advanced incubation services in the United States, resulting in investment opportunities, customer interactions, mentorship from subject matter experts, and additional guidance for successful business launches. The La Idea Incubator Program, which selects its participants through a highly competitive vetting process, provides a five-day “boot camp” for entrepreneurs from Central America to explore and/or develop a strategy for entry into the U.S. market for business opportunities. At the conclusion of the five-days in the U.S., participants will receive up to six months of additional virtual coaching and mentoring support as they return to their home nations to continue building their businesses.

The program encompasses three separate, industry-themed cohorts: manufacturing, services, and food & farm. This round of selected participants (10) is the second program cohort, and will be dedicated to the services industry, beginning March 19th, 2018. The cohort will be hosted at InBIA member and Soft Landing designee, the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians. This cohort will dive into pivotal services topics such as value proposition design, market research, negotiation tactics, funding options, and availability and customer relationship management.

About InBIA

International Business Innovation Association is a global nonprofit organization that has welcomed and supported entrepreneurial organizations for over 30 years. Serving a diverse group of entrepreneurship centers, program managers, directors and policymakers, we help guide, mentor and develop sustainable entrepreneur support programs in every industry and demographic around the globe. Our goal is to enrich the entire ecosystem by providing industry resources, education, events and global programming to help our members better serve the needs of their unique communities and regions.  For more information on InBIA, please visit

About America’s SBDC

America’s SBDC (Small Business Development Center) Network is a partnership uniting private enterprise, government, higher education and local nonprofit economic development organizations. It is the Small Business Administration’s largest partnership program, providing management and technical assistance to help Americans start, run and grow their own businesses. Learn more at

About Cenpromype

CENPROMYPE seeks to develop initiatives that foster market activities based on the level of development of the region and the role played by MSME in the integration of Central America, and programs that enhance the management capacities of MSMEs, to influence public-private partnerships and focus on development policies. In this way we create the foundations upon which to build and promote an equitable and stable Central American society.  Learn more at

About UTSA

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is one of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the UT System. UTSA hosts the Institute for Economic Development, a leading economic development organization with diverse programs that serve regional, national and international stakeholders. The Institute is host to the South-West Texas Border SBDC Network, which is leading the expansion of the SBDC model across 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere.  Learn more at

About World Trade Center St. Louis  

World Trade Center St. Louis’ (WTC) operating license is granted by the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) in New York and established the WTC as a regional entity serving not only the St. Louis metropolitan region, but also the entire Missouri and Southern Illinois markets, excluding the Kansas City region. We are part of an extensive global association of over 300 World Trade Centers, with overall goals to enhance international trade, promote local economic development, and ultimately foster peace and stability through trade. Established in 1993, our mission is to develop a comprehensive international agenda for the region by bringing together the human expertise and the government resources for international business growth. Learn more at


About the Helix Center Biotech Incubator

The Helix Center Biotech Incubator lab provides 33,000 square feet of wet and dry lab space and offices for bioscience research to St. Louis’ community of entrepreneurs and biotech innovators. The incubator is geared toward fast-growing companies and entrepreneurs in the early stages of research in the plant and life sciences and in the commercialization of new technologies.

Sponsored by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership in conjunction with the Helix Fund, the Helix center is designed to offer adaptable, affordable office and lab space to tenants, with modular flexibility to meet tenant space needs. Learn more at