“Celebrating Entrepreneurs Through YLAI” — Interview with Frank Solorzano

A man proud to be born in Honduras, Frank is definitely the real life multi-tasker in business. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering with an orientation in Logistics and Manufacturing from UNITEC at Tegucigalpa, Honduras. He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Caité Shoes while simultaneously working as the General Manager at Comercial Los Gemelos. Frank has also developed Branding abilities in Marketing and Advertising, as his work has engaged over 25,000 people with Caité, throughout social media campaigns in Central America. “Dreamer and Achiever”.

Frank Solorzano

Please tell the readers who you are and how you found out about the YLAI Program.

Hello, my name is Frank Solorzano and I am from Honduras. I am a recent addition to the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Alumni which was held from October 3rd to November 8th 2017. I was selected among 249 other Fellows for this year’s program out of over 4,000 applicants. This was the first time that I applied to the program. I heard about the YLAI Program from the U.S. Embassy in Honduras, and so I decided to apply. It was the best decision that I made.

What is the name of your company and what type of service do you provide?

Caité is a brand that manufactures footwear in Honduras and that promotes the Central American region through the designs incorporated.

Take a look at Caité’s New Collection…

Tambores — traditional dance known as “punta”
Orquideas — Honduras national flower, Brassavola orchid
Jarrones — the culture of the Central American working family and to their passion for the art of pottery

And let’s not forget that quaint promise that completely describes Caité;

100% Made in Central America

50% Cuerina

50% Tarpaulin

100% Love

What problem is your company solving and how many people have you helped since being launched?

Through Caité we are promoting Honduras as a unique destination and we are creating a product that makes people feel proud of where they’re from, where they’ve been and where they’re going. Locals feel identified and proud of their roots by wearing Caité.

How did you prepare for the competition?

I prepared by creating a structure for my pitch that delivered the exact message I wanted to tell. Having conversations with my business partners and co-workers about the beginning of the company and our core values brought a lot of inspiration for the pitch content. Once it was ready, I just made the decision of talking about what I love doing and why I do it, and that gave me the confidence I needed.

How did you feel when you were told that you were selected as one of the ten finalists?

I felt very happy and exited and nervous. But mostly I felt honored to represent my country in such a cool way.

Pitching Caité at the Final Pitch Competition in Washington D.C.

What was your biggest challenge during your fellowship?

Finding a way to manage my time. Given that there is a lot going on with my business in Honduras, I had to find an strategic way of being present in my fellowship but also being always aware of the decisions being made back home.

What do you intend to do with your winning grant?

We are planning to reinforce a business model which consists of contributing the profit of one model for every collection to an specific NGO that will work on the conservation of culture for the inspiration source. The investment will go on a Design Lab that will focus on the creation of designs with meaning and quality, taking in consideration every detail involved in the process.

Announcing the 3rd place winner
Proudly showing the national flag of Honduras
Receiving lots of love from supportive Fellows and “Team Frank”

What are 5 tips that you would give to the next generation of YLAI Fellows?

  1. Be confident 2. Be strategic with time 3. Learn to listen 4. Trust in what you are doing 5. Learn to collaborate

Do you plan on doing anything back in your home country to encourage them to apply to YLAI 2018? What do you have in mind?

We are creating awareness for the program through social media and regular media outlets like radio and local tv interviews.

How do you plan to celebrate or observe Global Entrepreneurship Week in your country?

I am planning to tell and to publish as much as a I can in social media about the event, with the hope that people who follow me can learn as much as I am going to.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Frank, for agreeing to be featured in this initiative. I truly believe that sharing his story of success thus far will serve as a catalyst of inspiration, for Entrepreneurs and young artesians in St. Lucia and around the world. And to top it off, in addition to his prize of a US$2,500 grant, Frank was also awarded an all expense paid trip to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India along with the first and second place winners! On behalf of the SLUDTERA Team, we wish Frank all the best on his journey to achieve the company mission — Promote national identity and pride of cultural roots through our products, and we know that he is not too far long to reach the company vision — To reach the international market and be able to manufacture Caité for each country and culture of the world, starting with Latin America, becoming the ideal product for tourism and its promotion.

Some great news for St. Lucians

Shoes from Caité will soon become available to St. Lucian customers through its partner and retailer Fab-Fetale Island Exclusive (Apparel & Accessories) a St. Lucian based online clothing, shoes, accessory and beauty store. So be sure to “like” their Facebook page to know when the first collection of Caité Shoes will become available.

Watch Frank’s video interview below. If you’d like to watch the full episode, click here.

If you are interested in getting in touch with Frank, please use the following links;

caitestore.com

franksolorzano@caiteshoes.com

https://www.facebook.com/caitestore/ https://www.instagram.com/caiteshoes/

2017 YLAI Fellow, Entrepreneur

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