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Photo: Vice President Kamala Harris Twitter
Kamala Harris and Nanette Barragán recently led a cohort of Latina business leaders at the White House. Photo: Twitter- Vice President Kamala Harris 

VP Kamala Harris, Rep. Nanette Barragán host D.C. Latina business leaders at the White House

The political and business leaders recognized Hispanic Heritage Month and talked about how the pending infrastructure bill will help enterprise growth.

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On Wednesday, Sept. 29, Vice President Kamala Harris and Rep. Nanette D. Barragán met with a small group of Latina small business owners in the Ceremonial Office at the White House.

The meeting was set up for two reasons; to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and to discuss how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and the Build Back Better Act will help them grow their companies.

“It’s a testament to the VP and her commitment to the Latino community, and to bring them to the table for Hispanic Heritage Month and hear from them is huge,” Barragán told The Hill.

Five Latina entrepreneurs joined Harris and Barragán, all of whom operate thriving businesses in the Washington D.C region.

Daniella Senior is a Dominican-born restaurant owner who runs the Cuban cafe and bar Colada Shop, the cocktail bar Serenata, and the Latin American pop up market, Zumo. Senior is also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.

Rosa Caldas, also a Dominican native, is an engineer who founded an information technology (IT) firm called ZemiTek, which delivers solutions to the federal government by supporting agencies such as the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and more.

ZemiTek has operations in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Caldas has over 30 years of experience managing large enterprise-level IT projects, and her professional journey began with implementing software development projects in the Caribbean region.

Paola Moya is the Founder and CEO of the architectural firm, Moya Design Partners, which has designed a host of public and private spaces, including Diane’s House, a housing complex for people vulnerable to homelessness.

The Washington Business Journal recognized Paola as one of the region’s “Power 100 Playmakers,” a top “40 Under 40” professional and a “Minority Business Leader of the Year.”

Myrna Peralta is the president and CEO of CentroNía, an affordable, bilingual and multicultural early learning center in Washington, D.C. 

Peralta’s career has included serving as Executive Director for D.C Children and Youth Investment Trust, Deputy Director of the Center for Community Change, and Senior Associate with the National Association of Social Workers.

Maria Hicks is the founder of Meridien, a construction company that has remodeled major public spaces, such as the South Plaza of the Department of the Treasury.

“One of the areas that I've been focused on with a great deal of attention is what we can do to increase access to capital for our small businesses with a particular emphasis on minority and women, on small businesses, who among our small businesses have historically faced the greatest challenges in terms of access to capital,” Harris said at the meeting.

After the meeting, Harris posted a photo of herself, Barragán and the five Latina business owners, stating that it was a success, and that these women play a “vital role” in their communities. 

“We heard how they have navigated the pandemic, and we discussed how our Build Back Better Agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will help entrepreneurs grow their companies,” Harris wrote. 

“These women told stories of resilience and perseverance and how they overcame challenges in building & growing their businesses,” Barragán tweeted. 

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