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About Lina

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Lina with Presidential AwardA native of Honduras, Central America, Lina Hortensia Martinez Loredo, is an entrepreneur and the founder of Wabagari Distribution, which produces and markets flavored cassava under the brands of O’Big Mama and Laru Beya. Lina’s vision of generating employment and income for women cassava producers led her to create her own business in 2002, Wabagari Distribution, where she serves as General Manager.

Lina’s educational background and training have prepared her well for her current business endeavors. In 1985, Lina became a recipient of a scholarship from USAID under the program Central American Peace Scholarship, becoming the first Garifuna to be awarded a long-term scholarship under this program. In 1988 she graduated from Harding University, in Searcy, Arkansas, USA with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management. Since then Ms. Martinez has worked in the banking industry, and with government and non-governmental institutions in Honduras. She completed her Master in Business Administration in the National Honduran University (UNAH) in 2000.

Lina’s hard work has been recognized, as she continues to participate in training that will improve the impact of Wabagari Distribution. In recognition of her initiative and contribution to the economic development of women producers and for contributing to food security among the Garifuna people through product development capable of being exported, Lina received the 2006 National Food Award from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Honduras. Later that year, she attended the World Food Congress, held in Italy. In 2008, she participated in the Leadership for Women Entrepreneurs Training sponsored by the International Visitors Program of the U.S. Department of State. the same year, she also participated in a women's entrepreneurship and leadership training sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In 2009, she was awarded the (Honduran) Presidential Export Award for successfully exporting her products to the USA, after which was honored by the New Horizon Investment Club and invited to a Garifuna food expo in New York. In December 2010, she was honored by the U.S. Department of State as the State Alumni Member of the Month.