October is Latin American Heritage Month and Hispanic Heritage Month, where
we celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of Canadians from Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean and Central and South American descent.
We’re excited to share with you four of our favourite Hispanic and Latin-American owned businesses and entrepreneurs and why we love them. We encourage you to celebrate and support these businesses not only this month, but all year long.
A pioneer in bringing top start-ups to Canada and helping them scale globally from Toronto
Miryam Lazarte is the founder of LatAm Startups, a Toronto-based accelerator that brings start-ups from Latin America to Canada and scales them globally. LatAm Startups is a designated sponsor for Canada’s Startup Visa program. Miryam founded LatAm StartUps in 2017 and has experienced high growth, helping start-up companies from Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and more. Lazarte has a passion from strengthening the economic ties between Canada and Latin America. Born in Colombia, entrepreneurship was part of her childhood. Miryam has many illustrious accomplishments which include winning the 2019 Startup Canada Newcomer Entrepreneur Award. Since 2017, she has been a member of the Program Advisory Committee for Business Administration, Entrepreneurship and Small Business at Seneca College and works closely with both Canadian and Latin American angels in pursuit of cross-border investment opportunities. We love Miryam for her ‘serial entrepreneur’ mindset and her drive to support other Latin American start-ups.
Creating a circular economy with Upcycling
Moving from Mexico City to Toronto for a graduate degree in Chemical Engineering, Ricardo quickly noticed the discrepancy between North American abundance and the struggles witnessed in Mexico. This is what drove Ricardo to address the issue of scarce resources on a global scale. Ricardo is the President and Co-Founder of Terra Bio Inc., where his experience as a bio-process specialist and process engineer supported him as an entrepreneur in the sustainable production space. He believes there is a huge opportunity to maximize efficiency for production and reduced waste. His combination of data science, strategy, and project management skills will help in shifting the paradigm of linear supply chains, benefiting the economy and the environment. We love Ricardo for merging his education and experience to create social and environmental good.
The North meets the South
An Ontario-based company, Sombrero Latin Foods specializes in Latin American food products, including over 350 authentic products from Mexico, South America and the Caribbean, many of them made locally by other immigrant-owned businesses. Originally founded in 2014 as a wholesaler, the company expanded their business plan to include home delivery. Though not part of their initial plan, expanding to Canada-wide delivery was spurred by the restaurants closing due to the pandemic. We love Sombrero Latin Foods because their founders and their entire team are composed of Latin immigrants who work hard to bring a piece of Latin America to Canada.
From a three-person start-up to a multinational brand in five years
Cornershop, a Chilean-Mexican start-up focused on last-mile grocery delivery, entered the Canadian market and was acquired by Uber in 2019. The three founders launched Cornershop in 2015 with $500,000 in start-up capital. Cornershop initially sought out a larger share of the Canadian grocery market through a partnership with Walmart. After Walmart’s failed attempt to purchase Cornershop in 2018, Uber announced they were acquiring the majority of Cornershop in late 2019. We love Cornershop because it is a true success story with global scale.
This is just a sample of our favourite entrepreneurial success stories that we wanted to highlight. We are inspired by these stories of immigration, resilience and passion that led these founders to pursue their thriving ventures.
(Photo description: Women in blue sweater sitting at a desk using a laptop while smiling.)