Maria Elena Ibañez builds her third entrepreneurial venture giving El Latino brand regional reach, eyes going national
Maria Elena Ibañez describes herself as tenacious, never giving up on her goals. That, she says, is a quality behind her success as she built three top-performing companies from the ground up.
After entering two relatively untapped technology markets, Latin American and Africa, earlier in her career, Ms. Ibañez is now focused on growing her newest venture, Intermark Foods.
The Doral-based company produces El Latino products, which are sold in national chain and local supermarkets across South Florida. She formed the company in 2002 after returning from her second attempt at retirement, realizing business was what made her happy.
Today, her focus is growing El Latino brands, which she says has accelerated since the recession began, growing 32% this year. The downturn has also allowed her to hire more trained personnel.
"I have been able to recruit more chauffeurs, more sales reps," Ms. Ibañez said. "During the real estate boom, I was losing my drivers to the construction industry."
And while her immediate goal is to acquire more market share locally, in the future she sees the company going national.
"My focus is to continue what we are doing right… become a stronger brand," she said. "On the way, we will find a way to go national."
Ms. Ibañez shared struggles and triumphs in business and her plans for growing Intermark Foods with Miami Today reporter Yudislaidy Fernandez at her offices in Doral.
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