SARASOTA, FLORIDA – A group of women restaurateurs from Antigua, Guatemala, participated in a six-day apprenticeship at Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar restaurants on the Florida Suncoast. The apprenticeship was part of the Business Council for Peace (Bpeace) mission to create jobs in the world’s challenged economies.
“More jobs means less violence,” said Bpeace co-founder Toni Maloney, CEO of nonprofit organization. Bpeace is an international network of business professionals who volunteer to help women entrepreneurs in conflict-affected countries to expand their businesses, create employment, and build a more peaceful future for their communities.
Maggie Mondragon, Lola Aycinena, Tatiana Palomo and Victoria Gonzalez, owners of Fridas restaurant in Antigua, participated in workshops and activities custom-designed for their business, including menu design, staff training, operations, marketing strategies, and a business plan review, among other topics. They also toured Daiquiri Deck Sarasota-area locations in Siesta Key Village, South Siesta Key, St. Armands and Venice.
Founders Mondragon and Aycinena moved from Mexico to Antigua in 1995 and opened a taqueria with only three tables. Named after the great Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, the restaurant now seats 135 diners and attracts a steady flow of international tourists as well as a growing number of locals. The apprenticeship will help Fridas achieve its goal of creating a franchisable concept, opening two smaller taquerias within the year, and expanding its catering service.
“This was a great opportunity to share our business knowledge with a hard-working small group of entrepreneurs looking to expand their company in a challenging region of the world,” said Daiquiri Deck co-owner Russell Matthes, who developed the apprenticeship program.
Bpeace reaches out to small-business entrepreneurs in challenged economies and connects them with volunteers (Skillanthropists). Through long-distance mentoring or in-country visits, Bpeace Skillanthropists share their expertise in HR, finance, strategy, marketing and manufacturing, and provide technical advice for industries ranging from food processing to technology to professional services.
Bpeace was founded in 2002, the year after 9/11, when Maloney and four other business women decided to help make the world a better place. “When people have hope for a better economic tomorrow, they are not so susceptible to recruitment by the Taliban, gangs, or other threats to peaceful communities.”
One of four entrepreneurs who apply are accepted to the Bpeace Fast Runner program. Bpeace advises between 60-75 entrepreneurs at any one time, working with more than 300 experts from companies such as Amazon, Morgan Stanley, PwC, Salesforce and Spotify. In 2017, 135 Skillanthropists provided pro-bono services valued at $1.4 million. The organization is currently mentoring businesses in Lebanon, El Salvador and Guatemala. To make a donation or become a volunteer Skillanthropist, please visit https://www.bpeace.org.
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For more information about Bpeace, please contact Sheila Brannan Longo of Thomas & Brannan Communications at (941) 355-3006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.