Chilean women gather in California for entrepreneurial seminar

Hosted by the Renaissance Center, seven female business owners and entrepreneurs from Chile learned to develop better support networks for those in their position.

In a groundbreaking seminar for Chilean women in the U.S., seven entrepreneurial vanguards from the Andean nation made their way to the Bay Area in April to participate in a seminar held by the Renaissance Marin Center.

Founded in 1985, the prestigious center has the lofty mission of empowering economically and socially diverse groups of men and women. According to its website, the organization’s goal is to, “strengthen our communities through the creation of sustainable new businesses, new jobs, and the promotion of financial self-sufficiency.”

The elite seven women hailed from the Association of Women Entrepreneurs for the Fifth Region (AGEP-V), founded in 2000. This association seeks to offer support networks for entrepreneurial women in Chile under the banner of: “Alone women are invisible … united women are invincible.”

Those who participated include Carolina Arroyo – a lawyer, professor, and small business owner, Alejandra Berríos – a graphic designer, Genoveva Badilla – electronics and computation specialist, Rudith Escobar – a spa owner, Patricia Alcaíno – hostel and boutique owner, Orieta Biso – a commercial embroiderer, and Edith Arce – a baker.

A special guest joined the ladies on their U.S. adventure. A Chilean expat currently living in California and Marin Renaissance Center graduate, Paula Tejeda, was a proud participant in the event.

“Every time I go back to Renaissance for a workshop or a networking event, I realize how important these opportunities are for me and my business,” Tejeda said. Tejeda currently runs a thriving delicatessen-cum-coffee shop specializing in Chilean style empanadas. With fond memories of home, Tejeda named her brainchild Chile Lindo [Beautiful Chile].

“Renaissance has the right combination of good people, structure, and human understanding to meet the needs of local entrepreneurs,” Tejeda described. “I’m excited to bring my Chilean counterparts to Renaissance.”

In the intensive seminar the AGEP-V representatives learned about different case studies of prosperous entrepreneurship support programs offered by Renaissance and other partner organizations in the Bay Area. The event was held in Spanish for the convenience of its participants.

With high expectations for the linchpin event, manager at Marin Renaissance Center Boko Kodama had the following message:

“We hope women entrepreneurs from Chile will [take away] helpful tips and will feel inspired to strengthen small business support communities back at home.”