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Economic Development

Economic Development
Moderator: Michelle Pérez Kenderish, Founder, Puerto Rico and Diseña co-founder ChicaPReneurs (NY, PR)
Ramphis Castro, co-founder, ScienceVest (NY, NY)
Dyanis de Jesús, co-founder, Puerto Rico Creative Economy Initiative (NY, NY)
Margarita Varela Rosa, member, Cenadores PR (Arlington, VA)

Michelle Pérez Kenderish


Ramphis Castro


Dyanis de Jesús


Margarita Varela


Michelle Pérez Kenderish founded Puerto Rico Diseña to support entrepreneurship on the island and co-founded ChicaPReneurs to facilitate knowledge-sharing and meaningful exchange among creative entrepreneurs and cultural innovators from Puerto Rico living in New York City. Her experience ranges from international development to marketing communications. Michelle previously worked for the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C., and for media giants HBO and Discovery Networks. She is launching her first brick and mortar venture in 2016. Michelle holds a B.A. in international relations and Latin American studies from Boston University and a master’s in business administration from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Ramphis Castro is the New York City Director for the Silicon Valley-based Founder Institute, the world's largest idea-stage accelerator, helping aspiring founders across the globe build enduring technology companies. He is a Kauffman Fellow, a community of over 400 innovation investors worldwide representing 160 venture firms and corporate venture groups in 26 countries on 6 continents, collectively deploying $50B in venture capital.

He is a founding partner of Mindchemy, a full-stack startup ecosystem acceleration & support organization that deploys programs facilitating experiential education to all stakeholders in a country. From entrepreneurs to emerging managers in the venture industry, Mindchemy has supported ecosystem growth in dozens of countries around the world. Most recently, he has been planting the seeds to launch the first Startup Weekend in Cuba.

As a long time Global Facilitator for UP Global/Techstars, a global organization dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, grassroots leadership, and strong communities, he has helped train hundreds of academics and lean startup instructors around the world on the principles and practices used for the Lean Launch Pad and iCorp programs.

Dyanis de Jesus is a creative strategist with experience ranging from advertising and design management to innovation and new business development. Dyanis has gained insightful multicultural and international experience working in Latin America, Italy and the United States for both national and global clients. She has proven ability to lead the creative process partnering with multidisciplinary teams and clients.

Most recently, Dyanis graduated top of her class in the Design Management Master's program at Pratt Institute, NYC. With this business degree, she strengthened her design thinking skills - using creativity to solve business problems, generate innovation and opportunity, while taking into account social, cultural and even environmental factors. More..

In 2014, Margarita Varela Rosa completed a rotation at the Pentagon. There she performed a cost assessment for the Next Generation Enterprise Network, the update to the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, which serves more than 700,000 Navy and Marine Corps users. She was commended by the Office of the Secretary of Defense leadership for exceptional performance.