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Trailblazer Businesses Rush To Join County Executive Baker On Cuba Mission Trip


Jim Coleman, EDC President and CEO of PGCEDC joins Margaret Pulles Machado, President of VamosGlobal and Tehani Collazo, Senior Education Advisor and Daisy Rickert, Latin Affairs Liaison from County Executive Baker’s Office take questions from the more than 20 business owners who are interested in doing business in  CubaLargo, MD, August 24, 2016 – Today, Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President and CEO Jim Coleman, along with County officials hosted an Information Session to outline County Executive Rushern L. Baker’s upcoming Cuba Business Exploratory Mission Trip that he will lead this fall. More than twenty businesses attended the information session, eager to learn more about growth and development opportunities in Cuba. With only 20 seats available to business delegates, many reserved their spots today for this once in a lifetime event.

“County Executive Baker is a thought leader and a trendsetter and he is looking at Cuba as a place where Prince George’s County can establish itself over the next few years. He believes in building bridges, not walls, to the international community by leading Prince George’s County businesses on this historic mission,” said Coleman. “One of the best ways we can help our companies to grow is by encouraging them to be ‘pack leaders’ and not ‘herd followers.’ By attending today’s event, local companies are already setting themselves up for success. The doors are open to Prince George’s County; the Gateway to the U.S.”

County Executive Baker’s historic Cuba Business Exploratory Mission trip will take place from November 15 through November 20, 2016 and will be the first led by a Maryland official and one of the few official missions following the re-opening of embassies in both countries.

Daisy Rickert, Latin Affairs Liaison, and Tehani Collazo, Education Policy Advisory for the County Executive’s Office highlighted County Executive Baker’s four-point, long term plan for international business development, which he unveiled earlier this year. The plan includes hosting local International Business Development Summits; co-hosting trade missions with the Governor’s Department of Commerce; executing County-hosted, targeted international trade missions; and rapidly preparing and enabling our local businesses to export their goods and services to the world.

“This is an exciting time for Prince George’s County to begin to establish relations with Cuba,” said Daisy Rickert, Latin Affairs Liaison, Prince George’s County Executive’s Office. “County Executive Baker is very excited about this mission trip and really wants to be sure that Prince George’s County moves forward and its businesses are at the forefront of economic development, education and healthcare.”

Attendees received an overview of the mission itinerary from VamosGlobal President and CEO Margaret Pulles Machado, including pricing, accommodations and the business meeting schedule. Ms. Machado outlined the strategic meetings to be held with Cuban officials to discuss business and investment interests of the mission delegates. Meetings will include key representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Ministry of Commerce and Foreign Investment, ProCuba, the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Cuba, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health.

“There is an urgency to get things moving in Cuba and I appreciate the foresight of County Executive Baker to go there and help them catch up on lost time,” said Pulles Machado. “The past is merging with the future that many of the businesses here can become a part of. It is important to understand that Cuba is a nation that needs to be built- not rebuilt. We are going to create the opportunity for this mission to be mutually beneficial for Cuba and for Prince George’s County, Maryland.”

Mission delegates will have the opportunity to establish relationships with businesses in Cuba and to develop relationships with officials from the Capital City of Havana. The mission will also focus on creating an “Artists Exchange” program between Prince George’s County and Cuban artists and developing education-related programs between the State of Maryland and Cuban-based educational institutions.

“I am interested to learn how my company can benefit from County Executive Baker’s mission trip to Cuba,” said Javier Torres, President and CEO of the Corporate Group, LLC, a facility maintenance company in Clinton, MD. “The opportunities to develop relationships in Cuba right now are just beginning. If we can capitalize on that, within the next three to five years, companies such as mine will be able to go into Cuba to assist the building and maintaining its infrastructure. Its proximity to the United States makes it well worth the effort.”

Annette Johnson, President and CEO of CMT Services, Inc., a consulting, management and technology firm in Hyattsville, MD also expressed a sincere interest in participating in County Executive Baker’s Cuba exploratory mission trip.

“My company is a business services solution provider that does training in five industry areas and is very interested in environmental sciences and environmental health,” said Johnson. “Being a part of this mission trip could definitely expand our business and hopefully be a benefit to Cuba as waste management is very important to us.”

The total cost for each delegate to participate in County Executive Baker’s Trade Business Exploratory Mission Trip to Cuba is $5,850 per person. This price includes: round-trip airfare from BWI to Havana Cuba, five nights at the Nacional Hotel, security, local transportation, meals, entertainment and other essentials. Final payments for the Trade Mission must be paid by Friday, September 9th.

For more information on this once in a lifetime mission trip, contact Nichelle Holmes, Development Manager (naholmes@co.pg.md.us) or call 301-583-4621.