The Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD) held its first entrepreneurship Let’s Talk About Business workshop on June 8, 2018, in Providence at the Rhode Island State House. The workshop was followed by a Day of Portugal commemoration in the State House and a networking reception.

The program, which is directed at Portuguese and Luso-Americans living in the US, is aimed at people looking for an opportunity to create their own company, and to acquire training and education in the field of business innovation; as well as entrepreneurs wishing to affirm themselves and grow their businesses sustainably in the US market.

From left to the right: João Pacheco, Diana Rodrigues, John Medeiros, Carmen Monereo, Paulo Martins, Manuel Lopes, Ellis Paris-Miranda and Silvia Oliveira

The initiative has three main components: workshops; a mentoring network; and a study of encompassing professionals from different fields of knowledge and successful experience directed to the Portuguese community of entrepreneurs in the US. In short, it is a multifaceted and innovative program which aims to add value to entrepreneurs and all those who seek to start an entrepreneurial activity, enriching the economy and the societies in which they live in. It also aims to provide a working knowledge of entrepreneurship to young people of different academic fields seeking to create their own job. The program intends to make available to this segment a comprehensive array of hard and soft skills which are vital in the current business world.

The event was part of the series Entrepreneurship: Learn the Right Hard & Soft Skills to Enter the Business World that will be taking place across New England during 2018 as part of FLAD’s “Let’s Talk About Business” program, According to Carmen Monereo, speaker and coordinator of FLAD’s Business Program “the goal is to provide aspiring Portuguese-American entrepreneurs with education and resources, as well as insights regarding current business trends”.

Carmen Monereo, coordinator of the LET’S TALK ABOUT BUSINESS Program.

Carmen has extensive experience in the business sector. She is a consultant, mentor, manager, and a specialist in marketing and communications. Carmen Monereo holds a degree in Management, a Masters in Communication from the Catholic University of Lisbon and is currently a researcher at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Carmen coordinates and teaches training programs for executives in Portugal and Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Angola and Cape Verde.

The workshop exhibited presentations by members of the local Portuguese-American community discussing the hard and soft skills required to be a successful entrepreneur.

Paulo Martins, Counselor for the Portuguese Communities in New England and Co-Founder of LusoLinks, LLC

Paulo is Counselor of Portuguese Communities in New England and co-founder of the Digital Marketing Services Company LusoLinks LLC, responsible for the publication of the e-magazine Feel Portugal in the USA,

Presenters include Rhode Island State Senator Daniel da Ponte, Orlando Mateus, the President of the 2018 RI Day of Portugal; and guest speakers such as João Pacheco, Sílvia Oliveira, Ellie Paris-Miranda, Diana Rodrigues, Manuel Lopes and John Medeiros.


Rhode Island State Senator Daniel da Ponte

Daniel da Ponte is of the youngest senators elected in the US. He was elected to the RI Senate at the young age of 20 while still a student at the University of Rhode Island. His first experience as an entrepreneur came at 8 years of age when he and his brother started a lawn mowing business in the neighborhood. He later moved on to a DJ business and later ran for public office. Daniel said “to be elected you really need three things: first you need to be a good candidate and have a good platform, the second thing you need is an organization out there to support you and the third thing you need is money”

Daniel da Ponte is a Member of the Senate Committee on Finance, the Senate Committee on Rules, Government Ethics & Oversight. 

Senator Daniel is a graduate of La Salle Academy (1996), at University of Rhode Island with a B.S. in Business Administration (2000) and Kansas State University with an M.S. in Personal Financial Planning (2014).
President & Chief Compliance Officer of Axis Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor in East Providence, RI.

Orlando Mateus, President of the RI Day of Portugal 2018

Orlando Mateus welcomed the Let’s Talk About Business workshop to the RI Day of Portugal activities and mentioned some of the upcoming Day of Portugal happenings.

Orlando is the President of the RI Day of Portugal 2018, a non- profit Organization, which preserves and promotes the rich history, language and culture of Portugal. 

Orlando is a Creative Director and Designer, who graduated with a BA from the Rhode Island School of Design. His is experienced in print, packaging, brand identity, licensed brands, point of purchase and promotional advertising.

João Pacheco, Counselor for the Portuguese Communities in New England and Real Estate Agent.

João Pacheco spoke about the differences between the real estate business in Portugal and the US. Specifically the fact that there isn’t a central real estate listing organization in Portugal. He went on to say about his career
“One thing that I have learned, in any business you have to show honesty, sacrifice, motivation, hard work, and perseverance.”

João lives in Providence, RI. He is a Counselor for the Portuguese Communities in New England and a licensed Real Estate Agent in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Sílvia Oliveira, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Portuguese Studies at Rhode Island College

Silvia’s presentation highlighted the importance of the Portuguese language in today’s business world by providing graphics about the increasing trend of Portuguese as an economic language.

Sílvia Oliveira is a Ph.D., Associate Professor of Portuguese Studies at Rhode Island College. Sílvia is a member of the Board of Directors, Rhode Island Day of Portugal. 

Ellie Paris-Miranda, Ph.D.

Ellie Paris-Miranda, born in Cabo Verde, spoke about the challenges and opportunities of being an entrepreneur.  She emphasized the fact that being a non-English native speaker can create business opportunities. As an example, she told a story about how she went from selling t-shirts from the back of her car to opening a store.

After writing her first quote on a t-shirt “I Have The Cape Verdean Dream Attitude” she said, “I was basically forced to open my company, people were calling me, I was selling t-shirts off of my car, everywhere that you can imagine…

Ellie is a Ph.D. graduate from UMass Dartmouth, a former FLAD fellow, and an entrepreneur. Dr. Ellie Paris- Miranda holds a BA in Psychology and a Post-Baccalaureate in Intercultural Relations from Portugal, and an MA in Portuguese Studies, as well as an MBA in International Entrepreneurship and International Supply Chain from UMass.

Diana Rodrigues is a social media and event management consultant

Diana spoke about how businesses can take advantage of social media in today’s business world. She brought up the fact that many Portuguese businesses are not utilizing social media to its full potential. She also highlighted the importance of effective branding which reflects their business identity.

Diana is a social media and event management consultant. She is a graduate of Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School, where she developed her passion for marketing and event management. She currently works with various Portuguese-American Organizations across the United States, from Massachusetts to California.

Diana currently serves as the Social Media Coordinator for the International Portuguese Music Awards, based in Fall River, MA. Connect with Diana on Twitter and/or Instagram. Diana is also a contributor to Feel Portugal in USA.

John Medeiros, Owner of  Tahoe Jewelry

John Medeiros spoke about the challenges of being an entrepreneur as well as the persistence needed to be successful when opportunities arise. He went on to say “to have a successful business you have to put your heart and soul into it and hire the right people to do the right job”

John is a successful Azorean entrepreneur based in East Providence, RI. After coming to America at the age of nine, John Medeiros began working on production lines, after school, in the jewelry district of Providence, RI at the young age of 12.

In 1985, he established Tahoe Jewelry, providing the jewelry industry and prominent designers like Gucci with intricate polishing and stone setting services. Influenced by the skilled and talented artisans of the Renaissance and a vision to produce the highest quality, affordable jewelry, at night he would sketch and conceptualize his ideas. The vision became reality with the launch of John Medeiros Jewelry Collection in 2000. The Collection is one of the few jewelry lines still produced from concept to completion in Rhode Island.

Manuel Lopes, Director, Program Management at Fidelity Investments – Retired

All the guest speakers are active, successful and renowned members of the Portuguese language community. They also had interesting personal and professional stories to share and inspire the participants. The workshop was very dynamic and enjoyed the participation and involvement of all those in attendance ending with a networking opportunity between presenters and participants.


About Author

Paulo Martins and Feligenio Medeiros are the co-founders and editors of the digital magazine FEEL PORTUGAL IN THE USA.

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