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Puerto Rico District Office

Success Stories

Success Stories

Nairda Hernández

Woman Entrepreneur Succeeds at Business Ownership with Great Faith, Perseverance and SBA Assistance

When she was five or six years old, Nairda Hernández dreamed of someday becoming a supermodel.

She would saunter out in her mother’s high heels, slide a rubber band on her small wrist with a nail-clipper hanging from it like a medallion, and beg to be introduced to her parents’ friends visiting their home.

“I would ask, ‘Mami, Mami, introduce me!” Nairda recalls. “And she would say ‘ladies and gentlemen, with you, Nairda Hernández! I would walk out shaking my wrist and striking a pose.”

Time and again Nairda would plead with her mother to enroll her in modeling classes, and each time she got the same response: “when you’re a little older.”

“Since I was so little, I thought that meant when I was in the sixth grade, so I asked then, and again when I was in the ninth grade.  I never got a different answer, so I decided to wait... Read More

Dorca had a dream – to one day become a successful business owner.

Fashion had always appealed to her and, when this single mother of three was compelled to resign from her job a few years ago, due to a neck affliction, she began selling a line of sophisticated magnetic jewelry. With her home as an office, Dorca became an entrepreneur. 

During her first weekend Dorca sold $1,800 in jewelry and within months had recruited eight representatives for the jewelry line, becoming a leading consultant in Puerto Rico’s eastern region.

Realizing her talent, Dorca’s dream of entrepreneurship became even stronger.  She had a business degree from the University of Puerto Rico, where she had majored in Accounting. Dorca went through her old school papers and found a guide on how to write a good business plan. 

“I then started adapting the business plan model to the type of business I wanted to establish,” says Dorca.

Aware that some time had passed since her... Read More

Human Capital Expert Exports Services, SBA Supports the Deal

In 1997, Brenda Marrero left her job as Human Resources Administrator for the Business Administration Unit of a multinational pharmaceutical corporation to start her own business, focused on providing her potential customers with superior external recruitment services.

“I knew there was opportunity to do something different, and provide the quality services I looked for in my role as a Human Resources professional,” Brenda says. “My former employer became my first client. One day I put together a service proposal, presented it to my boss, and here I am today.”

On her own, working from home or in small offices she borrowed from friends, Brenda built a staffing business that has since evolved to become a leader in its industry, not only in Puerto Rico, but in more than eight countries. Brenda Marrero & Associates (BMA) was born from its founder’s desire to place high-caliber professionals in the right job, while at the same time helping meet clients’ needs, and... Read More

Natural-Born Entrepreneur Finds Niche in Food Distribution Industry

Rafael Rodríguez-Toymil has been an entrepreneur all his life. 

It should come as no surprise.  His father –Rafael senior— opened a gun shop after working in the insurance industry for many years, and the young Rafael spent a great deal of time helping out in the business any way he could.  One day, his dad gave him a couple of boxes filled with promotional key chains, and Rafael sold them to his friends and neighbors, getting his start in the business world. 

After graduating high school at Colegio Maristas in 1991, Rafael attended Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. His classes were conducted quarterly and, as part of a cooperative education program, after his freshman year Rafael was expected to study for six months and work for the next six.  Upon graduating in 1996 with a double major in Accounting and Management Information Systems, Rafael had already worked at accounting firms, supermarket chains and hotels. 

While those experiences gave Rafael the... Read More