Adriana Rodriguez-Rivera is a nurturer, cultivator, and entrepreneur at heart. This 23-year old, stay at home mom has spent her adult life nurturing everything she comes in contact with and has a knack for making it work. She began showing signs of promise as an entrepreneur in college, when she would cook plates of Mediterranean food and sell them to her classmates, in street fairs, and at farmer’s markets. She did the hard work of balancing earning money to pay for school with focusing on her studies to become an agronomist and saw the fruit of her labor when she graduated with her degree. Armed with both knowledge and passion for plants and helping things grow, she began working for a non-profit that worked directly with local coffee farms. While she enjoyed her worked and found it extremely meaningful, she decided to pause her work and pivot towards nurturing another love in her life: her now 8-month old son.

Although Adriana found joy and meaning in being a stay-at-home mother, her desire to plant and grow her own business never faded. Now, her focus wasn’t just on building a business for herself, but for her family as well. During her time at home, Adriana began visioning through what potential businesses could look like for her family and their unique skillsets. Since both she and her husband were trained agronomists who specialized in coffee, she determined that they would be well-suited to grow specialty coffee bushes to sell to Puerto Rican coffee growers. In addition to the coffee plant business, Adriana set her eyes on one of her earlier entrepreneurial endeavors — cooking Mediterranean food. She set her sights on opening a restaurant that made the dishes from organic produce that they would grow and then sell the surplus.

An example of a Puerto Rican coffee farm

The dreams and plans Adriana had were tremendous, and she was eager to get started. But she realized that her speciality was in growing coffee, not small business ventures. So she sought out the help of Operation HOPE small business coach Julisette from HOPE Inside Banco Popular Trujillo Alto – Fajardo Northeast Region, Puerto Rico. Adriana began attending the small business workshop in June 2021 through a partnership with an organization named Regrow, which has a focus on agribusiness. Through the training classes, Adriana and her husband both learned how to formally launch and structure a business, find local resources to help finances and grow the business, and technical skills needed to sustain the operation.

Now, Adriana is poised for success. She has planted the seeds of aspiration into the fertile ground of preparation, has watered them with hard work, and is now patiently waiting to see the fruits of her labor. As the agribusiness begins to grow, she has begun operating a small Mediterranean food kiosk on the weekends to generate cash flow to help her businesses grow. She’s excited to uses the skills and principles she’s learned from Julisette and cross-applying them to all of her small business dreams.

Adriana Rodríguez-Rivera, owner of Vivero Santa Rita, Yauco, Puerto Rico, ETP and Small Business Counseling, Operation HOPE Puerto Rico, Trujillo Alto-Fajardo region 

Julisette Collazo, EDA Puerto Rico Small Business and Disaster Recovery, Banco Popular Trujillo Alto – Fajardo Northeast Region, Puerto Rico