- 1 Al Dia’s Best Entrepreneurs of 2023 are announced
- 1.1 Student programs
- 1.2 AL DIA Top Entrepreneur Awards
- 1.3 Julia Lopez
- 1.4 Founders of iGrow
- 1.5 TOP RESTAURATEUR: Sofia Deleon, Chef & Owner of El Merkury
- 1.6 BUSINESS INNOVATION: Hector Nuñez, Founder & President of Wooder Ice, “Your Scoop on Everything Philly”
- 1.7 PARTNERSHIP AWARD: Alma Romero & Marcos Tlacopilco, Owners of Marcos’ Fish Market & Alma del Mar.
- 1.8 CHANGEMAKER AWARD: Mazzie Casher, Co-founder of the Philly Truce Foundation
- 1.9 BRICK AND MORTAR AWARD: Neydary Zambrano, President of Magic Memories
- 1.10 PIONEER AWARD: Richard Olaya, Architect & Principal at O Z Collaborative
Al Dia’s Best Entrepreneurs of 2023 are announced
Al Dia’s Top Entrepreneurs program recognizes entrepreneurs who achieve success in their field. Each year, this prestigious honor receives a cash prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to Silicon Valley, including airfare, hotel accommodations, and rental car. In addition, awardees have the opportunity to speak at the AL DIA conference, communicate with other company managers and participate in an interactive workshop.
The Entrepreneur Of the Year program is a national celebration of America’s top business leaders and entrepreneurs. Since 1986, the program has recognized more than 10,000 entrepreneurial visionaries. It has expanded to nearly 60 countries around the world. Induction ceremonies will take place on April 27, 2023 at Cipriani Wall Street.
Each year, the program recognizes a business leader, student and social changer. These individuals are known for solving big problems and creating new businesses. Unilever, which has been a pioneer in sustainable business, will be honored as a corporation. This innovative global brand aims to create a winning outcome and improve people’s health.
The University of Washington is one of the best engineering, computing and healthcare campuses in the world. OU students have access to innovative programs and experiences to accelerate their ideas and add value to the community.
Northeastern University’s entrepreneurship ecosystem is interdisciplinary and expanding to other cities. At the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, students have access to the latest business principles and design thinking. They also have a semester in Silicon Valley and an active network of mentors.
AL DIA Top Entrepreneur Awards
The Al Dia Top 50 awards ceremony took place last Saturday at the new state-of-the-art headquarters in the city of Philadelphia. As always, the festivities were top notch. Attendees were treated to lunch and cocktails in the cavernous main hall, and also had the opportunity to socialize with peers and colleagues. A number of awards were presented, including to young entrepreneurs, many of whom have participated in the organization’s top-notch mentoring programs. In addition to showcasing young start-up business stars, the event was a good opportunity to recognize the city’s long list of individual and organizational award recipients.
The organization also announced a partnership with WSFS Bank to promote home ownership among local residents. In honor of the bank’s prominent role in the community, the organization hosted a special cocktail and catered dinner for members and guests. The soirée was a well-attended affair, a fitting tribute to the many hardworking people who have helped make the city one of the best in the country.
One of my favorite things to do in life is learn more about my industry and the people who make it happen. I have met many amazing people and made many good friends. But the best part is that when I’m with them, it’s like a family member. I think the most exciting part of being in a group with smart people like me is that you never know what they’re going to say next. Honestly discussing your field makes it a lot more fun. It’s a great way to keep the magic alive and well.
Founders of iGrow
If you’ve ever wondered who the top entrepreneurs of 2023 will be, you’ve come to the right place. These five founders have big goals for the next several years. They are ready to bring their ideas to the public.
One of the biggest benefits of being a day one founder is the community. With the help of the Day One network, you can build your confidence and learn how to build your business. By meeting other founders and understanding their perspective, you can identify areas you need to improve and build the foundation of your business.
Another benefit of being a Day One founder is the ability to raise funds. Whether you need to raise money for an upcoming product launch or your startup’s expansion, Day One can help. After a successful demo day, your co-founders will give you instructions on how to prepare an investor package.
In addition to fundraising, the Day One co-founder wants to introduce his platform to as many parents as possible. The team also continues to develop partnerships with leading universities.
AL DÍA’s first event of 2023 – AL DÍA Top Entrepreneurs – is just over a month away and the company is delighted to announce its six winners.
Launched in 2021, AL DÍA Top Entrepreneurs Forum & The induction event celebrates the entrepreneurial leaders who are building and supporting successful and dynamic businesses throughout the Philadelphia region.
The purpose of the event is to recognize the go-getter mentality, as well as the resilience embodied in our region. As entrepreneurs and their businesses improve the quality of life in our communities, the AL DÍA Top Entrepreneurs event shines a light on the stories of some of our region’s most inspiring and successful business owners.
This year, awardees are selected from six categories:
Following the application process for the competition, the advisory board has made a selection of this year’s honorees.
Here are the best AL DÍA entrepreneurs of 2023:
TOP RESTAURATEUR: Sofia Deleon, Chef & Owner of El Merkury
El Merkury was born in 2017. It was a concept that began as a pop-up, catering service and virtual restaurant. Then, on May 5, 2018, Sofia Deleon fulfilled her longtime dream by opening her first brick and mortar operation. El Merkury is a fast casual Central American street food and churro bar.
At the age of 12 – in his hometown of Guatemala – Deleon’s journey into food entrepreneurship began. His brother gave him an ice cream machine. Soon after, he noticed a gap in the Guatemalan market for ice cream options, and Deleon decided to offer homemade ice cream at the school. From there, his ice cream business grew into a small catering business for family and friends.
At the age of 17, he decided to leave home and travel to Michigan, where he received a scholarship to study food industry management at Michigan State University. At the same time, he held various marketing and management roles in San Diego, Miami, and West Chester, PA. He eventually made it to Philadelphia when he acquired St. Joseph’s University with a Master’s Degree in Food Marketing.
Originally, his idea was to move into a leadership role in the company’s food industry and open a restaurant later in life. However, as the political landscape changed, sparking a wave of increased negativity around immigrants and Latin America, Deleon felt it was the right time to quit his job, follow his passion and try to make a difference.
She has been able to do just that – shining a positive light on underrepresented countries like Guatemala and others like El Salvador and Honduras – through the kitchen.
In 2021, after surviving the pandemic, Deleon opened a second El Merkury location in the Reading Terminal Market.
BUSINESS INNOVATION: Hector Nuñez, Founder & President of Wooder Ice, “Your Scoop on Everything Philly”
Hector Nuñez began his entrepreneurial journey in 2014 when he saw the need for a platform that would not only showcase the great things this city has to offer, but also help strengthen the voice of local small businesses and entrepreneurs. .
He launched Wooder Ice when Instagram was still in its infancy and the term “influencer” hadn’t been coined. Still, he was an influencer back then, blazing a trail and illuminating the who, what and where of Philly.
Nuñez got into entrepreneurship after graduating from Temple University, where she landed in several roles that helped develop the skills she needed to launch her business.
This included positions such as PR and project manager at marketing and SEO agencies that helped equip her with the right tools.
Many of the businesses that Wooder Ice has helped promote since its launch did not have the means or budgets for traditional advertising, so these entrepreneurs relied on the platform to help promote their events, services and products. As a result, it helped many to land notable clients from Roc Nation, Forbes, Motown Records, Revolt and many others.
In addition to Nuñez, the Wooder Ice team also includes Ja-mel Vereen, Lauren Linder and Farah Farag, who have helped the brand expand into other verticals, including content creation, podcasting, event consulting and an apparel line.
PARTNERSHIP AWARD: Alma Romero & Marcos Tlacopilco, Owners of Marcos’ Fish Market & Alma del Mar.
Alma Romero and Marcos Tlacopilco both embody the American dream. Both arrived in Philadelphia in 1998 with the odds stacked against them. They overcame several obstacles when they started working at the fish market and eventually started Marcos Fish Market & Alma del Mar.
The former is a family-run seafood restaurant located in an Italian market, while the latter has established itself as a space that celebrates delicious Mexican cuisine with a modern twist, a place to bring the community together and share music and culture. and joy.
Since opening their doors for business, both Marcos Fish Market and Alma del Mar have helped create a number of jobs that contribute to the overall economic development of Philadelphia.
Romero and Tlacopilco have also proven themselves as community leaders and tireless advocates for the advancement of the Latino community, demonstrating hard work, resilience and inspiration for the immigrant community.
CHANGEMAKER AWARD: Mazzie Casher, Co-founder of the Philly Truce Foundation
Mazzie Casher is the professional creator and brainchild of Philly Truce, an app that seeks to connect mediators near the community to resolve conflicts that can lead to gun violence.
On that front, he has established himself as a leader in the city in the fight against gun violence. He realized there was a program along with his good friend Steven Pickens and decided “it was [their] time to be leaders.”
The app allows children to turn to it when faced with a difficult situation, instead of violence. In addition, it has also helped combat the “swamp mentality” that has continuously fueled further violence and ultimately fear.
A longtime creative mind, Casher’s journey into creative expression began in 1998 as a recording artist.
BRICK AND MORTAR AWARD: Neydary Zambrano, President of Magic Memories
Neydary Zambrano is from Venezuela and came to the United States with no money or resources about 25 years ago. Since arriving, she has been able to pay for her master’s degree in education while working at nonprofits and learning how to build a business.
About ten years ago, Zambrano bought his first early development center, which later became the property of “Magic Memories”. As the new owner, she devoted time to learning about early childhood education and effective ways to build and strengthen the center’s operations. After 7 years, he bought eight more centers.
“Magic Memories” was created to provide a loving, caring and stimulating environment for young children. It offers a safe, healthy environment, balanced meals and a caring staff dedicated to creating a warm, trusting and homely environment. The overall mission is to ensure the emotional safety, self-esteem and social development of the children in their care with a strong value system of respect, courtesy and love for one another.
Today, Zambrano owns nine early learning centers in Chester and Montgomery counties. His company currently employs more than 200 staff and has provided early childhood education opportunities and a safe space for hundreds of children in the area.
PIONEER AWARD: Richard Olaya, Architect & Principal at O Z Collaborative
Richard Olaya has been working in architecture for almost three decades.
His many years of experience include practice with a variety of project types, including museums, religious buildings, universities, and high-rise and multi-family housing.
Originally from Bogota, Colombia, he arrived in the US where he built his own architecture firm out of his home, which has since grown into the current O Z Collaborative. Olaya’s multicultural background gives clients a unique cosmopolitan perspective.
In addition to his architectural work, Olaya is also an active member of his community, contributing his time to various arts and cultural organizations in Philadelphia, while keeping his Colombian background alive through both his professional work and hobbies.
2023 AL DÍA Top Entrepreneurs Forum & The reception will be held on Friday, February 24, 2023, at the Pyramid Club from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Click here for more information or to secure your ticket.