The innovative entrepreneur putting the spotlight on Philadelphia’s talent
For him and his team’s work making Wooder Ice a cultural hub, Hector Nuñez has been chosen for the 2023 AL DÍA Top Entrepreneur Business Innovation award.
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AL DÍA is proud to announce this year’s Top Entrepreneurs, recognizing those that have forged their own way forward as they seek to realize their dreams.
The Business Innovation award recognizes entrepreneurs who knew what they wanted to achieve and had the drive to act on it, capitalizing upon their passion.
This year’s honoree is Hector Nuñez, founder of Wooder Ice, an online platform that seeks to bring attention to local figures, small businesses, and notable parts of Philadelphia that are easily overlooked.
In an interview, AL DÍA spoke with Nuñez to learn more about his work and what the Business Innovation award means to him.
Lifting up and shouting out
As a Philadelphia resident, Nuñez seeks to uplift the voices of those around him, providing a platform for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and members of the city community to have a place to speak and be heard.
“Philadelphia in general gets a bad rap for violence, negative news, and so forth. We like to show positive news and show all the beautiful places and beautiful people of Philadelphia, to show that there's a lot more good than bad out here,” Nuñez explained.
Rather than let violent incidents dominate people’s perceptions of Philadelphia, he wants to show people the city’s good side by seeking out and highlighting Philadelphians striving towards success.
Before Nuñez writes about the ongoings of Philadelphia, he dedicates several hours of his day to searching for new changes, upcoming events, and people making a name for themselves.
Having done this work for the past nine years, Nuñez has grown a network of local entrepreneurs, marketing public relations agencies, and Philadelphians who provide him with information he can share, with Nuñez balancing their information with his own findings.
Like many others, during the pandemic Nuñez and his team lost the space they had been working out of for the past three years. Working from home hasn't stopped Nuñez from covering events in the city, and neither has it removed the desire for a proper workplace again, where they can work together and celebrate their mutual successes.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Nuñez doesn't limit his and his team's efforts to just articles, with Wooder Ice hosting their own podcast alongside their regular articles. Out of the hundreds of entrepreneurs Nuñez has interviewed for the podcast, he estimates that 80%-90% of them have been people of color.
Despite Wooder Ice's popularity, Nuñez says he avoids promoting himself on the platform, keeping it focused on the community around it.
[Our achievement] is being able to create this platform... that people know and understand and recognize us as one of the trailblazing forces that has organically grown to become a staple [in the entrepreneur community]," Nunez said.
"Recognizing that capacity has been rewarding. It's the brand in itself; it's not anything particular to the team... it's a community that we built here in Philadelphia,” he continued.
For Wooder Ice, AL DÍA’s Top Entrepreneur Award will be the first award the platform will receive in its near decade of operation. But AL DÍA isn’t the first recognition Nuñez and his team have gotten.
Nuñez recalls when Wooder Ice received the Comcast RISE grant, which funded their work, led to an opportunity to air a commercial on television, and put Nuñez on a billboard, advertising their site. A documentary about the program is set to air in March, with Nuñez having interviewed as a part of it.
As Wooder Ice grows, Nuñez looks forward to continuing his work of shining a spotlight onto the city’s better side.
What began as a blog discussing the latest developments has grown into a multimedia resource for the city, growing far beyond its humble beginnings.
“I want to be able to support anyone who's looking to chase their dream,” Nuñez explains. “So if anyone that's out there does want to chase their dream in the form of an entrepreneur, or create some sort of movement in the city, we're here to be of assistance to them.”