Latin America

Wenceslao Casares

Wenceslao Casares is CEO of Lemon.

He founded Lemon Bank, a Brazilian retail bank for the poor, in June 2002. Lemon Bank became the largest microfinance institution in Brazil and was acquired by Banco do Brasil in 2009.

He is also the founder of Wanako Games, a US-based developer of console video games that seeks to leverage the creativity of Latin American talent. The company won the "Game of the Year" award for Xbox Live in 2006 and was acquired by Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI).

Margarita Melo de Vaquer

Maria Margarita Melo de Vaquer was born in Washington D.C., USA, but is an Argentinean citizen.

Daughter of an Argentine diplomat, Mrs Margarita Melo de Vaquer lived and studied in Brazil, Peru, France, Algiers and Switzerland. She graduated as an Economist from the University of Buenos Aires and started her career in the banking sector, working for Boston Bank Foundation in Buenos Aires, and the Credit Lyonnais in Paris and Argentina.

Cynthia Guy

On the morning of April 16, 2006, Dr. Cynthia Guy woke up to find that her 84-year-old husband Stuart had suddenly become totally deaf. Months of strained communication and despair followed until Stuart received a cochlear implant. This surgically implanted electronic device stimulates the hearing nerve in the cochlea, giving people with severe to profound hearing loss a sense of sound and speech. Four months later, after a course of speech auditory rehabilitation, Stuart was able to hear and speak again. He can even enjoy music and speak to his children and grandchildren on the phone.

Paulina Avila

For people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, finding the right thing to eat can be a challenge. Many feel that they are condemned to a life of eating water and lettuce leaves. Faced with an array of tasteless, unappetizing products, some even jeopardise their health by eating the wrong kind of food.

Isabel Acevedo Lopez

Large corporations worldwide have long recognised the value of information and communication technology (ICT) in business development. In Colombia, major corporations already make extensive use of ICT, but what about small and medium-sized companies, or PyMES as they are known in Latin America? With smaller budgets, fewer employees and limited training resources, these companies are often unable to capitalise on the benefits of ICT solutions. Isabel Acevedo Lopez is seeking to change this through her company, Pymelibre.

Rosario Monteverde & Magdalena Rodríguez

In March 2007, systems engineer Rosario Monteverde and graphic designer Magdalena Rodríguez set out to create a web agency with a social conscience. Their company, PRO Internacional, trains people with an elementary knowledge of web design to develop customized, cost‑effective sites for clients including the World Trade Center and Ceibal, a one‑laptop‑per‑child program.

Gabriela Enrigue & Leticia Jáuregui

In 2008, economists Gabriela Enrigue and Leticia Jáuregui launched PROSPERA in Mexico to aid women-led microenterprises, small businesses with 10 or fewer workers. Gabriela and Leticia provide the female owners with mentoring, training and business support services. Their goal: to empower women and eliminate the need for migration by creating sustainable employment opportunities within rural communities.

Elizabeth Campillo

With demanding work schedules and little vacation, employees in Mexico frequently suffer from stress and exhaustion, affecting their performance and well-being. Traditionally, their companies have not taken measures to address these issues. However, as awareness of healthier lifestyles has increased, this corporate culture has begun to change. Recognising an opportunity to contribute to this evolution, Elizabeth Campillo started Work Up Bienestar Empresarial in 2008.

Cristina Martinez de Silva

In the growing market of health and well-being, Colombian stores are all too often limited to old-style herbal shops displaying jars and vials hidden behind a counter. Cristina Martinez has transformed this model by launching Biomarket, a chain of modern natural goods stores catering to those looking to live a complete natural lifestyle. The stores’ bright design, modern technology and extensive product range set them apart from the ‘old school’.

Thereza Bukow

Brazil’s economy is one of the fastest growing emerging markets and its expanding middle classes are rapidly acquiring wealth. Female purchasing power has increased tremendously, yet 28 year-old Thereza Bukow has found that many middle-class women don’t know how to manage or invest this newfound capital. With a majority of Brazilian women running everyday household budgets, she decided the market was ready for the tools and resources offered by Bolsa Cheia, an Internet platform to educate and empower women financially.


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