NINA VACA: Trip to Ecuador shows how the future is bright for Latina entrepreneurs.


I am proud to be a female entrepreneur. But more than that, I am ecstatic to be a female, Hispanic entrepreneur as we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. Each year, I look forward to this month to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

This year, I was able to celebrate the kickoff of National Hispanic Heritage Month while taking part in a dialogue with girls and entrepreneurs in my home country of Ecuador before cutting the ribbon on a 40-home community for earthquake victims, which was built through a partnership with the Nina Vaca Foundation, Cinemark, The Rotary Club of Quito, and of course funds donated by friends and family from around the world.

My mother always encouraged me to remember my roots, so while I was in Ecuador, I spent time encouraging others to pursue their goals and be crazy good at whatever it is they do.

One of the opportunities was speaking with two groups of students in the Quito area. The first group of students was comprised of teenage girls, much like my own daughters, celebrating their school's 50th Anniversary. Colegio Los Pinos is marking five decades of empowering girls to be the best they can be.

The second group of students were adults working towards their degrees and furthering their education. These students, enrolled at Colegio Tecnico Ecuador a Distancia, are completing distance education, while simultaneously balancing many other personal and professional responsibilities.

During this visit, I also had the distinct honor of sharing my insights with entrepreneurs. Since 2014, when President Barack Obama gave me the distinction of being a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship, I've been privileged to travel to five different continents inspiring entrepreneurs worldwide. I've always aspired to one day be given the opportunity to speak in Latin America, but it was my dream to be able to do so in my home country, where my parents and my grandparents were born. During this trip, that dream became a reality.

It was humbling to be invited by the U.S. Embassy to meet up and coming entrepreneurs and serve as a judge for a pitch competition featuring their world-changing business ideas. It also meant a great deal to me to join in an authentic dialogue with women entrepreneurs at Seminarium, a women's leadership conference opened by...

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