Enterprise Academy_Cohort 25_Long Prairie
Members of this cohort of Long Prairie Enterprise Academy include (back row, left to right): Karina Morales Banks; Jaime Madera; Rosemarie Alvira Castillo; Rolando Baez; Eusebia Ovalles; Micki Czech; and Yaritza Nieves. (Front row, left to right): Noel Sosa; Miozoti Nieves; Jennifer Guerrero; Omelis Guerrero Dominguez; and Luis Bonilla Hidalgo. Not all graduates are pictured.

14 Graduate From Long Prairie Enterprise Academy Class

The Initiative Foundation is celebrating the graduation of 14 new entrepreneurs who are dedicated to building their homegrown business ideas in the Long Prairie area.

These entrepreneurs recently completed Long Prairie’s Spanish-language Enterprise Academy course—an Initiative Foundation business-building program that features a 12-week training program matched with free and ongoing business coaching plus access to flexible loans and other capital. Participants build skills and receive support in starting and running a business. Delivery of the program was supported by the Long Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce.

“These 14 entrepreneurs worked hard through the 12 weeks of classes, learning how to build a business plan, keep track of financials, market their business and more,” says Zach Tabatt, vice president for economic opportunity at the Initiative Foundation. “We will continue to support them in their business journeys to help them achieve success.”

The following were among the Long Prairie graduates:

Rolando Baez: Rolando enrolled in Enterprise Academy to gain business knowledge to help him start a trucking business. Originally from Puerto Rico, Rolando has worked in security, as a machine operator, and in the trucking sector. He is married and has four children. In his free time, Rolando enjoys playing with his children.

Karina Morales Banks: Karina previously lived in Puerto Rico and New Jersey and moved to Minnesota in 2021. She launched Karina’s Creations in April 2023 with a focus on making appetizers, desserts and other creations. Karina studied sonography in Puerto Rico at Ana G. Mendez University and currently works at Dan’s Prize. In her free time, Karina enjoys spending time with her family.

Rosemarie Alvira Castillo: Originally from Puerto Rico, Rosemarie wants to start a coffee shop with Puerto Rican and Dominican Republic-style sweets. She has been baking out of her home for about four years and looks forward to opening a storefront. Rosemarie is thankful for all she has learned in Enterprise Academy to help her get started in business. A current employee at Long Prairie Packing, Rosemarie has a partner and two children.

Omelis Guerrero Dominguez: Omelis has owned Las Colecciones OG, a nail and hair salon, for about two years. She enrolled in Enterprise Academy to learn how to better manage her business. Originally from Puerto Rico, Omelis has worked as a hair stylist and nail technician for her entire career. She has five sons and enjoys watching movies and listening to music in her free time.

Jennifer Guerrero: Jennifer has owned her business, JD Guerrero Store, for about three years. She designs and sells flower arrangements and would like to expand to teaching flower arrangement classes. Jennifer currently works as a machine operator and has one daughter. In her free time, she enjoys staying up to date on sales practices and creating flower arrangements.

Luis Bonilla Hidalgo: Luis is originally from the Dominican Republic and owns Inverciones Hidalgo, a real estate business where he manages rental houses, apartments and commercial buildings. Luis has owned his business for about three years and looks forward to achieving financial freedom. He currently works in road construction and enjoys spending time with his partner and three children.

Jaime Madera: Jaime is studying recipes to someday open a vegetarian/vegan restaurant with a goal of introducing a new culinary experience in Central Minnesota. Jaime has a culinary arts degree from Escuela Hotelera de San Juan in Mayagüez. He previously worked in several restaurants in Florida and Puerto Rico. Jaime is married and has three children.

Eusebia Ovalles: Eusebia currently owns and runs Universal Grocery. She started the grocery store to help her community access culturally familiar foods. Eusebia is thankful for the skills she has learned in Enterprise Academy and hopes to one day add a kitchen and butcher shop to her store. In her free time, Eusebia enjoys spending time with her family and walking to the park with her grandson.

Miozoti Nieves: Miozoti owns Gentle Deer Properties, a real estate business, and Viva Tobacco and More. Through Gentle Deer Properties, she wants to continue to add apartment properties to help provide the area with quality housing. Miozoti has a partner and three children. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family.

Yaritza Nieves: As pet lover, Yaritza wants to start a business providing pet care services and boarding for dogs, cats and birds. Enterprise Academy has helped motivate her to continue with her business dream. She currently works at Long Prairie Packing and has a side business making personalized desserts. Yaritza is married and has twin girls.

Noel Sosa: Noel wants to start a shipping and moving business. He currently is a forklift operator and obtained his education in the Dominican Republic. Noel’s dream is to see his company become stable. In his free time, he enjoys playing with his son and watching baseball.