Nashville's Ricardo Santiago, owner of Mexico Depot, is one of five finalists in a national small business contest sponsored by Ford Motor Company and AOL Latino:
Ford Motor Company and AOL Latino revealed the Top 5 finalists for El Visionario (“The Visionary”), the online Spanish language contest for small business owners. The five entrepreneurs were recognized by Ford and AOL Latino executives, celebrities, business and community leaders at the event, and will now rely on the public’s online votes to determine the grand prize winner.
Ford launched the online contest powered by AOL Latino in July 2005 to discover the next Hispanic business visionary. The visionary should embody the entrepreneurial spirit and demonstrate that Hispanics are leaders in successful small business ownership. From September 28th to October 5th thousands of votes were received electronically at the Ford Mi Negocio website for the Top 50 semi-finalists. The five contestants who received the highest number of votes were named finalists.
The Top 5 finalists are: Luis Baron, owner of TV Net Productions in Sarasota, FL; Carlos Vassallo, owner of Latin Vision Media Inc. in New York, NY; Ricardo Santiago, owner of Mexico Depot in Nashville, TN; Sandra Escobar, owner of Highland Food Resources Inc. in Sunrise, FL; and Carlos Devis, owner of Bosa Systems Corp. in Potomac, MD.
“The five El Visionario finalists possess leadership skills and determination required to succeed as a business visionary for the Hispanic community,” said Armando Ojeda, director of Supplier Diversity Development, Ford Motor Company. “They are a prime example of why Ford is committed to supporting Hispanic entrepreneurs and we wish each of them the best of luck in the future.
From October 18th until November 11th, the general public is invited to vote for their favorite El Visionario finalist by visiting the Ford Mi Negocio website, www.ford.com/go/minegocio. The contestant that receives the highest number of votes will be named El Visionario during the week of November 14th. Online voters are eligible to win prizes such as digital cameras, subscriptions to business magazines and gift cards during this phase.
The Top 5 finalists are competing for a grand prize that includes a $25,000 cash award towards his/her small business, a brand new 2006 Mercury Mountaineer, $25,000 in business services (legal, finance, and/or marketing) and a business profile in Hispanic Business and Hispanic Magazine, for a total estimated value of $100,000.
“My dreams of growing my business are closer to becoming a reality and I thank Ford for making it possible,” said Mr. Baron, Top 5 finalist and owner of TV Net Productions, Inc.