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by Special — September 27, 2022 .
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CHAPEL HILL – Join UNC’s Innovate Carolina for a panel discussion to celebrate the success and resiliency of the Latinx community. This event is family-friendly and open to the entire community.
The event is set for September 28th from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM at MOSAIC at Chatham Park
Latinx business owners are encouraged to attend! Hear from a multi-industry panel of Latinx entrepreneurs and mentors about the challenges of starting a business and the resources that helped them overcome. Learn how their industries are changing for the better and where they hope to see systemic changes to level the playing field.
The panelists include Joe Ruiz (founder of Enzerna), Vania Ramos (Consultant at Prospera) and Angie Thacker, the co-founder, Carlos Liriano (Latino Program Director of the Carolina Small Business Development Fund) and CEO of Pinam Construction. See bios below.
Dr. Ruiz is the President of Enzerna Biosciences, a UNC-based gene therapy company. Dr. Ruiz has made several career changes including 13 years as a faculty member at two universities and a biotechnology entrepreneur who has launched two gene therapy companies (Enzerna Biosciences and Epigenos Biosciences) and a consulting firm (Emerging Biotechnology Development Services) focused on commercializing university-owned life science technologies.
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Vania Ramos Ponce is an entrepreneurial ecosystem builder and former business owner who is passionate about supporting Hispanic entrepreneurs. She works for Prospera USA, a nonprofit organization that provides business education and support to Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs, as a Business Development Consultant and is responsible for running the office in Raleigh, North Carolina. Prior to moving to the U.S., she received her bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Auditing, an MBA, and a Ph.D. in Political Economy of Development at the University of Puebla in Puebla, Mexico. She is certified as a Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst by the Corporate Finance Institute.
Carlos Liriano: Latino Program Director.Carlos Liriano is the Latino Program Director at Carolina Small Business Development Fund where he focuses on fostering economic development in underserved communities by supporting small business owners. He was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and has been living in the United States since 1999. He earned a Business Administration degree majored in International Business from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY. Carlos is a member of the Latin Business Resource Group for the Triangle area at Fifth Third Bank. He embraces his Hispanic heritage and is very involved with the Latin and minority communities. Carlos often volunteers at local events and is dedicated to creating awareness about financial literacy; he teaches about credit and paving the way to buying a first home. Carlos serves as a board member at Diamante, Inc., Centro Para Familias Hispanas, and is the Board Chair for the North Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He was recently appointed to serve a two years term as a representative with the Hispanic & Immigrant Affairs Board with the City of Raleigh.
Angie Thacker: Owner of Pinam Construction, a minority female-owned company located in Durham, NC. Pinam was awarded General Contractor of the year 2022 by The Hispanic Contractors Association of the Carolinas. Angie has over 20 years of experience in the field and has experienced the benefits and challenges in the industry as a business owner. Angie also mentors other young business owners that need help and guidance in the business world so they can prosper and continue to grow their businesses. She partners with other organizations such as Prospera and HCAC that bring resources and knowledge to the Latino business owners of the Carolinas. Her goal is to be the voice of all those Latinos that need help and to continue to knock on doors for the Latino communities.
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