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Perspectives from Cuban Entrepreneurs on the Private Sector in Today's Cuba

Americas Society / Council of the Americas

November 14, 2019


(Claudio Palaez Sordo)

Registration: Free admission for AS, COA and YPA members. Admission is $15 for nonmembers. *COA corporate members to register via email to

Join AS/COA's Young Professionals of the Americas (YPA) and the Cuba Working Group (CWG), together with Cuba Educational Travel (CET) for a panel discussion offering the perspectives of Cuban entrepreneurs on the private sector in today’s Cuba. The event will bring together experts from the fashion, tech, film, and cultural sectors for an insightful discussion on building businesses from the ground up on the island. The evening will be followed by a networking reception with hors d'oeuvres and wine.


  • Adriana Heredia, Beyond Roots, a start-up sharing Afro-Cuban culture with the world
  • Carlos Gómez, Wajirosfilms, an independent production company
  • Lauren Fajardo, Dador, a forward-thinking Cuban fashion and lifestyle brand based in Havana
  • Brett Perlmutter, Head of Google Cuba (moderator)
  • Alana Tummino, Head of AS/COA's Cuba Working Group and Executive Director of YPA (introductory remarks)


Event and membership information: Lee Evans | | +1 (212) 277-8384

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About the topic:

Cuba’s nascent private sector is comprised of over half a million Cubans operating and staffing small businesses in a number of areas, ranging from hospitality and retail to transportation and design. The sector has grown in size and importance over the years, due to relaxed regulations from the Cuban government and an increase in American visitors since late 2014. With high taxes, stringent regulations on earnings, and the lack of a preexisting structure for private enterprise in Cuba, entrepreneurs face a daily struggle to succeed – but many do. We are lucky to be joined by four leaders from Havana’s private sector to discuss their businesses, challenges, and what inspires them to keep going.

Adriana Heredia

Founder, Beyond Roots

Adriana Heredia is a young Cuban with a degree in Economics from the University of Havana (UH). For her day job, she works as a professor at UH and as coordinator of InCuba, an innovation incubator. Her passion for education and entrepreneurship led her to found Beyond Roots, a start-up sharing Afro-Cuban culture with the world. Heredia hosts various Afro-Cuban experiences in Havana to educate foreign visitors about this subject.

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Carlos Gómez

Founder, Wajirofilms

Carlos Gómez is a Cuban producer and filmmaker. He graduated with a degree in journalism at the Universidad de Oriente and then worked with the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television. Later, he founded an independent production company called Wajirosfilms, and through his company he has produced over twenty films in Cuba and worked on films in Venezuela, Spain, Germany,

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Lauren Fajardo

Co-founder, Dador

Lauren Fajardo is a Cuban fashion designer. A graduate of the Institute of Design in Havana, her work encompasses a variety of international projects including films, stage performances and commercial shoots as fashion designer, costume designer, stylist and producer. She is the co-founder and creative director of Dador, a forward-thinking Cuban fashion and lifestyle brand based in Havana.

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