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Hispanic ENTREPRENEURS

There are more than 3 million Latino entrepreneurs in the U.S. and this number is on the rise. Latinas are starting businesses at a faster rate than any group in the country. Here are some of the stories of those entrepreneurs that are helping push the U.S. economy forward.

By: Univision Noticias
In collaboration with: FordFoundation FordFoundation

Carmen Maldonado

La Criolla Nurse turned entrepreneur

The story of Carmen Maldonado is of constant improvement. She was born in Puerto Rico but her parents, when she was 7 years old, moved to Chicago in search of better opportunities for her family. She came without knowing any English, which set her back in school. She eventually had to give up her dream of studying medicine for lack of money and after much hard work, was able to graduate as a nurse.

She married the man who created La Criolla, a “Latin-flavored” import and food production company. Unfortunately in 1992, he unexpectedly passed away. Carmen’s struggle continued as she was forced her to take over the family business.

She was determined to emerge victorious from this challenge, putting a lot of effort and passion behind the business. She could have returned to nursing, but she made the decision to take over her husband’s business without looking back; despite the fact that she had two children to take care of.

Carmen had a clear vision and carried it out. Before taking over the company, she made changes and implemented ideas she had previously thought about. She changed the labeling, added unique items that were needed, and concentrated all her forces on making the business succeed. Although it was not easy, she kept on, fighting the food industry, which was dominated by white men.

Like all inexperienced entrepreneurs, she sought help and found a program from Goldman Sachs with provides intense courses for entrepreneurs. This allowed her to realize her brand’s potential. She was given the tools necessary for her business to grow – and with that came more opportunities.

The next step for Carmen and La Criolla is to keep expanding her business through different partnerships. She also plans to have a national presence by taking advantage of the digital world and social media.

For more information on Goldman Sachs 10,000, the program that helped Carmen learn how to expand her business, visit: Goldman Sachs 10,000.
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Claudia Baroni

Peek-A-Boo, Corp. An idea that becomes a business in times of crisis

When Claudia Baroni lived in Los Angeles as an architect; she first discovered consignment clothing stores. During the economic crisis and with few job opportunities in her field, Claudia decided to take a risk and take this innovative idea to Miami, where that concept did not exist.

The idea was clear: a business linked to children’s clothing, something that was recession proof and would also give her enough time to enjoy with her twin daughters. 

So almost accidently, Peek-a-boo was born, a children's clothing and maternity consignment store for mothers who wanted to dress their children well.

She took her time and got the necessary capital to open the store. "It was the only way to know if I would succeed,” she says. The passion she had for the business offset the sacrifice and hours spent.

If there is something Claudia could have done differently was work in a similar business beforehand. Since that was no longer possible, Claudia prepared herself as much as she could and learned as she went. In addition, she enlisted the help of organizations like the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund, a non-profit organization that helps Latino entrepreneurs improve the weaker aspects of their small businesses.

To grow the business is all Claudia thinks about because there are always new opportunities and doors that unexpectedly open. To her, “The sky is the limit,” and you can always do things better.

For more information on the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund, the leading Hispanic economic development nonprofit organization specialized in providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their business in Florida, visit: Hispanic Business Initiative Fund.
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Verónica Salazar

El Huarache Loco From 50 dollars to a restaurant 

The story of Mexican Veronica Salazar is that of anyone who comes to America with nothing in their pockets, seeking a better life for their family. She started at the bottom and, step by step, managed to realize her dream: opening her own restaurant in San Francisco.

Veronica entered the world of restaurants almost since she was born in Mexico City. She was always in the kitchen and that passion stayed inside her, almost without knowing it. She cooked so well that her friends encouraged her to sell food on the side to earn extra money.

The idea grew and she went on to sell thousands of tacos at parties and events. From there, it didn’t take long. And the woman who once sold home-made huaraches and tacos on the street went on to have a restaurant of her own: El Huarache Loco.

With El Huarache Loco, Veronica also has the opportunity to give her loved ones a better life. Not only does her family live better, but she also helps the twenty employees who now work for her restaurant.

To her, that's one of the greatest honors and pleasures of being an entrepreneur: helping others.

Veronica does not hide the fact that having a business is difficult and it comes with great responsibility. There is also always that doubt that it will not succeed. However, the formula to follow is: work hard and have the desire. 

Like in most cases, lack of money is the primary obstacle to realizing a dream, but there are now many organizations that are willing to help and support women entrepreneurs. 

Veronica sought aid from The Kitchen, a non-profit organization that helped her find an investor who believed in her idea. To find this aid, all she did was, “ask, research, look and then ask again.” This is how opportunities arose for her and helped her mover her idea forward.

Veronica's story shows that with hard work and desire, the American dream is possible.

For more information on The Kitchen, the organization that helped Veronica grow her business by offering a low-cost space in a commercial kitchen, support within the industry and access to investor opportunities, visit: The Kitchen.
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Mariela Dabbah

Red Shoe Movement Creating her own path to success

Argentinian Mariela Dabbah is convinced of the power of women in business and in life.

To her, it all begins with her morning routine. She begins with a few minutes of exercise and has her daily objective in mind, always with a positive attitude to be able to take on whatever obstacles come her way. 

That's her formula to achieve success. And her career is based on redefining what success means. In her book, “Power of Women,” she explains that success is no longer a predefined concept, rather something that everyone can achieve following their own path.

Mariela’s path has led her to lead the field of training and leadership of women in business through the Red Shoe Movement, an organization that provides programs, workshops and presentations for both businesses and private individuals. 

A red shoe is a symbol of femininity and power, and Mariela has included it in her life to help women grow and break stereotypes. For her, it is important for entrepreneurs to learn how to run a business: the sooner they learn, the faster it will help them achieve the success of their venture.

Her work has allowed her to meet many women eager to improve their lives, and with her experience, she gives advice on how one can work their way to success. 

Mariela's philosophy is summed up in a phrase that serves for anything in her life: “It can’t be that hard to…assemble furniture,” “It can’t be that hard...to maintain a relationship,” “It can’t be that hard…to grow a business.” For whatever obstacle is presented in her life, she will find a way to overcome it.

For more information on the Red Shoe Movement, the organization that provides the right resources and proper coaching to align women’s careers with their business’ goals, visit: Red Shoe Movement.
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Eduardo Arriola

Founder and President, Apollo Bank
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Jordi Muñoz

Co-founder, 3D Robotics
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María “Lulu” Sobrino

Founder and President of Lulu's Dessert
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Tere Blanca

Founder and President, Blanca Commercial Real Estate
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Edrizio de la Cruz

Co-founder and CEO, Regalii
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Carmen Maldonado

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La Criolla Nurse turned entrepreneur

The story of Carmen Maldonado is of constant improvement. She was born in Puerto Rico but her parents, when she was 7 years old, moved to Chicago in search of better opportunities for her family. She came without knowing any English, which set her back in school. She eventually had to give up her dream of studying medicine for lack of money and after much hard work, was able to graduate as a nurse.

She married the man who created La Criolla, a “Latin-flavored” import and food production company. Unfortunately in 1992, he unexpectedly passed away. Carmen’s struggle continued as she was forced her to take over the family business.

She was determined to emerge victorious from this challenge, putting a lot of effort and passion behind the business. She could have returned to nursing, but she made the decision to take over her husband’s business without looking back; despite the fact that she had two children to take care of.

Carmen had a clear vision and carried it out. Before taking over the company, she made changes and implemented ideas she had previously thought about. She changed the labeling, added unique items that were needed, and concentrated all her forces on making the business succeed. Although it was not easy, she kept on, fighting the food industry, which was dominated by white men.

Like all inexperienced entrepreneurs, she sought help and found a program from Goldman Sachs with provides intense courses for entrepreneurs. This allowed her to realize her brand’s potential. She was given the tools necessary for her business to grow – and with that came more opportunities.

The next step for Carmen and La Criolla is to keep expanding her business through different partnerships. She also plans to have a national presence by taking advantage of the digital world and social media.

For more information on Goldman Sachs 10,000, the program that helped Carmen learn how to expand her business, visit: Goldman Sachs 10,000.

One of the keys to Carmen’s success is that she has learned from her mistakes. In addition, she believes that it is important for any woman entrepreneur to:

  • 1Never lose faith: if you have passion for something, and you put forth effort, any idea can grow and succeed.
  • 2Have a plan: "Jumping in with both feet," is not an option. You have to study and know what is it that you want to accomplish with your business. The only way to succeed is to have a fundamental idea, a clear strategy and finally, enough energy and sacrifice to carry it out.
  • 3Take advantage of the opportunities out there: there now exists more and more aid and training for women who want to start or improve their business.

Claudia Baroni

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Peek-A-Boo, Corp. An idea that becomes a business in times of crisis

When Claudia Baroni lived in Los Angeles as an architect; she first discovered consignment clothing stores. During the economic crisis and with few job opportunities in her field, Claudia decided to take a risk and take this innovative idea to Miami, where that concept did not exist.

The idea was clear: a business linked to children’s clothing, something that was recession proof and would also give her enough time to enjoy with her twin daughters. 

So almost accidently, Peek-a-boo was born, a children's clothing and maternity consignment store for mothers who wanted to dress their children well.

She took her time and got the necessary capital to open the store. "It was the only way to know if I would succeed,” she says. The passion she had for the business offset the sacrifice and hours spent.

If there is something Claudia could have done differently was work in a similar business beforehand. Since that was no longer possible, Claudia prepared herself as much as she could and learned as she went. In addition, she enlisted the help of organizations like the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund, a non-profit organization that helps Latino entrepreneurs improve the weaker aspects of their small businesses.

To grow the business is all Claudia thinks about because there are always new opportunities and doors that unexpectedly open. To her, “The sky is the limit,” and you can always do things better.

For more information on the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund, the leading Hispanic economic development nonprofit organization specialized in providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their business in Florida, visit: Hispanic Business Initiative Fund.

For Claudia, the key to being a successful woman entrepreneur is based on:

  • 1Perseverance: all beginnings are difficult and you have to invest many hours and work hard. Claudia, for example, was dedicated to organizing and designing the layout of the store almost every night, right after putting her girls to sleep.
  • 2Seek the support of loved ones: to start a business, start-up capital is needed to meet the first steps and it's easier to approach your family. If this is not possible, get a small business loan, which has become easier than before.
  • 3Exploit the digital world. Social media networks and the Internet are crucial to grow your business. Once the store is in order, it's time to make that leap online.

Verónica Salazar

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El Huarache Loco From 50 dollars to a restaurant 

The story of Mexican Veronica Salazar is that of anyone who comes to America with nothing in their pockets, seeking a better life for their family. She started at the bottom and, step by step, managed to realize her dream: opening her own restaurant in San Francisco.

Veronica entered the world of restaurants almost since she was born in Mexico City. She was always in the kitchen and that passion stayed inside her, almost without knowing it. She cooked so well that her friends encouraged her to sell food on the side to earn extra money.

The idea grew and she went on to sell thousands of tacos at parties and events. From there, it didn’t take long. And the woman who once sold home-made huaraches and tacos on the street went on to have a restaurant of her own: El Huarache Loco.

With El Huarache Loco, Veronica also has the opportunity to give her loved ones a better life. Not only does her family live better, but she also helps the twenty employees who now work for her restaurant.

To her, that's one of the greatest honors and pleasures of being an entrepreneur: helping others.

Veronica does not hide the fact that having a business is difficult and it comes with great responsibility. There is also always that doubt that it will not succeed. However, the formula to follow is: work hard and have the desire. 

Like in most cases, lack of money is the primary obstacle to realizing a dream, but there are now many organizations that are willing to help and support women entrepreneurs. 

Veronica sought aid from The Kitchen, a non-profit organization that helped her find an investor who believed in her idea. To find this aid, all she did was, “ask, research, look and then ask again.” This is how opportunities arose for her and helped her mover her idea forward.

Veronica's story shows that with hard work and desire, the American dream is possible.

For more information on The Kitchen, the organization that helped Veronica grow her business by offering a low-cost space in a commercial kitchen, support within the industry and access to investor opportunities, visit: The Kitchen.

Veronica has some advice for those women entrepreneurs who want to follow in her footsteps:

  • 1Believe in yourself: despite the difficulties, you must keep going. And, little by little, prove that despite the fact that you are used to always working for other people, you can now work for yourself and be your own boss. In that aspect, your family’s support is essential.
  • 2Find multiple avenues of support, especially economic, in each state that are available to women starting their own business. There are many organizations willing to support Latinas.
  • 3Working hard is the only way to prosper and succeed. Having a business is hard work, but with determination and the right attitude, you can do it.

Mariela Dabbah

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Red Shoe Movement Creating her own path to success

Argentinian Mariela Dabbah is convinced of the power of women in business and in life.

To her, it all begins with her morning routine. She begins with a few minutes of exercise and has her daily objective in mind, always with a positive attitude to be able to take on whatever obstacles come her way. 

That's her formula to achieve success. And her career is based on redefining what success means. In her book, “Power of Women,” she explains that success is no longer a predefined concept, rather something that everyone can achieve following their own path.

Mariela’s path has led her to lead the field of training and leadership of women in business through the Red Shoe Movement, an organization that provides programs, workshops and presentations for both businesses and private individuals. 

A red shoe is a symbol of femininity and power, and Mariela has included it in her life to help women grow and break stereotypes. For her, it is important for entrepreneurs to learn how to run a business: the sooner they learn, the faster it will help them achieve the success of their venture.

Her work has allowed her to meet many women eager to improve their lives, and with her experience, she gives advice on how one can work their way to success. 

Mariela's philosophy is summed up in a phrase that serves for anything in her life: “It can’t be that hard to…assemble furniture,” “It can’t be that hard...to maintain a relationship,” “It can’t be that hard…to grow a business.” For whatever obstacle is presented in her life, she will find a way to overcome it.

For more information on the Red Shoe Movement, the organization that provides the right resources and proper coaching to align women’s careers with their business’ goals, visit: Red Shoe Movement.

For those women who want to be entrepreneurs, Mariela advises:

  • 1Have a good network of advisers: at the beginning, you need to surround yourself with people who can provide knowledge to the creation of your business in every way possible. A good network, created through networking events or from the help of other organizations, is fundamental. It’s no use having a good idea without being able to run it properly.
  • 2Be firm on your convictions: being an entrepreneur is a lonely road. If you have others help guide you, make sure you stay with your initial vision.
  • 3Start with a strategy: the beginnings are always complex on the economic level. Go out and meet others that you can exchange resources and talents with that are also starting off their own business.

Eduardo Arriola

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Founder and President, Apollo Bank

Before going to bed every night I write what I want to accomplish the next day. In the mornings, I meditate for ten minutes and then go running. After eating a light breakfast, I spend some time with my wife and children before going to work.

  • 1Have a strong stomach. Building a business always takes longer than expected; it is harder than you thought and has a higher cost than you anticipated. You have to be strong to be able to endure the roller coaster.
  • 2Identify a person outside the organization that can be completely honest with you and has enough experience to guide you in decisions and challenges you will face.
  • 3Find examples of success and follow them.

Jordi Muñoz

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Co-founder, 3D Robotics

I am definitely not a morning person, I think it’s because I’m a “Millennial.” Every morning, I wake up my son, prepare a healthy breakfast and then go get a coffee to be able to get to work as quickly as possible. Three tips to not die trying:

  • 1Define a goal and follow that path.
  • 2Identify intersections that would not have been discovered without starting the journey.
  • 3Be open to new opportunities.

María “Lulu” Sobrino

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Founder and President of Lulu's Dessert

My morning ritual starts by looking out for my health, eat a good breakfast and ask God to give me the wisdom to make the best decisions for my company. Then I continue with my work schedule. Three tips to not die trying:

  • 1Know the niche you plan to invest in really well. If possible, work in similar companies to gain experience and learn the details of the business.
  • 2Love your business so that you are able to fight for it and never give up.
  • 3Find mentors that offer good advice to manage your company.

Tere Blanca

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Founder and President, Blanca Commercial Real Estate

My morning ritual includes 15 minutes of meditation before getting out of bed, some yoga and then cereal and coffee while reading the news on my iPhone.

  • 1Take risks without having any fear and follow your inner voice, but always measure the risk well. We must also be flexible when we need to make necessary changes or adjust the company’s strategy.
  • 2Hire a talented team that helps create a healthy work environment and nurture its growth with people who have more knowledge in areas that are not your strengths.
  • 3Create a plan that will allow you to spend time with friends and family, but will also give you enough time to run a successful company.

Edrizio de la Cruz

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Co-founder and CEO, Regalii

I meditate every day, exercise five times a week and offer my help to someone new. Being an entrepreneur involves a series of uphill battles. What will lead you to victory is making good decisions and overcoming errors. The only way to succeed is to be in good physical and spiritual shape.

  • 1Find a life purpose and stay focused on it. It is not advisable to do many things at once. Remember the 80/20 principle (80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes for a given event) and put energy into the things that will have the greatest impact in achieving your goals.
  • 2Take responsibility. Each individual is responsible for his own thoughts and actions. Life is 10 percent what happens and 90 percent how you react to it. You must not complain or protest because no one will ever have more interest in your dreams than yourself.
  • 3Keep doing what works and stop doing what doesn’t work. Einstein once said that “madness” is doing the same thing and expecting different results. We must accept that we will make mistakes, but we must quickly correct them and learn from those lessons.

Tools for Entrepreneurs

Advice and resources useful for those who want to start their own business.

1.Identify a Need: Products and services that do well start because there is a need in the market. Before starting a new business, it’s worth reviewing current gaps in the market that have yet to be filled. This will help determine which line of business may be best for you.

2. Study the Market: Having knowledge of the playing field will help an entrepreneur offer a better finished product and be more specific in terms of the needs that should be filled. Most importantly, this will help the entrepreneur think of the added value their product will have to differentiate itself.

3. Take Risks: Every project is risky because it has the potential to lose or make money. Dare to challenge the status quo. It is necessary to abandon fear and leave behind established business models in order to innovate.

4. Don’t Be Afraid of Failure: Many educators focus on abilities and usually punish young students when they fail. Fear of failure makes some people limit their creative process. Most successful products in the market are the result of error and failure. You must learn by doing!

5. Check and Keep Track of the Numbers: Every long standing business has rigorous control of its numbers, costs, investments, stock and other financial assets. This allows the company to make appropriate and timely decisions.

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Tools

Consejos y enlaces que pueden ser útiles a la hora de construir tu nueva empresa.
Cómo empezar una nueva empresa
  1. Identifique la necesidad: Los servicios o productos ganadores siempre parten de una necesidad. Antes de pensar en qué línea de negocio ubicarse.
  2. Estudie el mercado: Conocer el campo de juego ayudará al emprendedor a brindar un producto mejor terminado y más específico en cuanto a la satisfacción de la necesidad de los clientes, pero sobre todo le ayudará a pensar en un valor agregado que se convierta en diferenciador.
  3. Tome riesgos: Todo proyecto es riesgoso por el simple hecho de la posibilidad de perder o de ganar dinero. Hay que atreverse a romper las estructuras. Es preciso abandonar el miedo de dejar atrás los modelos de negocios ya establecidos y animarse a innovar.
  4. No tema al fracaso: Muchos educadores se enfocan en las habilidades y suelen castigar a los jóvenes cuando comenten errores. El miedo a equivocarse hace que las personas limiten sus procesos creativos. Muchos productos exitosos están en el mercado como resultado de un error. ¡Hay que aprender actuando!
  5. Revise y lleve control de las cifras: La empresa que perdura lleva un control riguroso de las cifras, los costos, las inversiones, los inventarios y de todos sus estados financieros. Esto le permite tomar decisiones oportunas y convenientes.
Claves importantes para los emprededores
  1. Identifique un nicho de mercado: Un emprendedor no solamente busca empezar una empresa cualquiera, busca cómo monetizar una nueva solución a un problema que existe. Es mejor aun cuando ese nicho tiende a crecer, esto podría aumentar las ganancias una vez establecida la empresa. 
  2. Proteja la propiedad intelectual: Las patentes y los derechos de autor existen para ayudar a las empresas pequeñas a competir con las empresas grandes y establecidas. Los costos de litigio pueden hundir a una pequeña empresa y para evitar este problema se necesita proteger las ideas originales.
  3. Tenga un plan de negocio concreto: Sin un plan bien definido, la mayoría de las nuevas empresas fallan. Con un plan escrito se identifica el problema a solucionar o la necesidad a satisfacer. No solamente se puede pensar en la manera en que se soluciona algo, sino se debe estudiar con profundidad el problema o la necesidad para poder entenderla lo mejor posible. 
  4. Busque inversionistas: Es bien conocido que muchas empresas no generan ganancias en su primer año, y quizás aun en varios. Con una buena cantidad de capital,  puede enfocarse en expandir la empresa y no tanto en cubrir los costos. Existen varias maneras de obtener dinero: un banco local, ahorros personales, negocios que invierten dinero, y aunque no es recomendado por su costo, también se pueden conseguir líneas de crédito.
  5. Haga uso de herramientas de mercadeo gratuitas: varias compañías como Google, Facebook y Bing ofrecen ayuda gratis de publicidad a nuevas empresas que se inscriben en algunos de sus servicios. Estas compañías tienen expertos en publicidad que ofrecen guía en el desarrollo de campañas para dar a conocer la empresa.
    Fuente: Entrepeneur.com y Forbes
Enlaces importantes:
  • Información sobre cómo manejar los impuestos http://uni.vi/JHuRy
  • Los Centros de Desarrollo de Empresas Pequeñas tienen sucursales por todo el país, ofrecen consultas de negocio gratis y entrenamiento a bajo costo. Son operados por la Administración de Pequeñas Empresas de EE.UU. (SBA) http://uni.vi/JHu6g
  • Talleres y eventos a nivel local para ayudar a empresarios brindados por una organización sin fines de lucro. http://uni.vi/JHukP
  • Lista de los requisitos para solicitar un préstamo a la Administración de Pequeñas Empresas de EE UU. http://uni.vi/JHuyV
  • El portal principal del gobierno federal que contiene todos los recursos gubernamentales para las pequeñas empresas. http://uni.vi/JHvlD
  • La versión en español de Entrepreneur, una revista que se dedica al tema del espíritu emprendedor. http://uni.vi/JHvp0
  • Una comunidad de gente involucrada en empresas que publica artículos de ayuda para emprendedores. http://uni.vi/JHvt2
  • Una red de inversionistas y emprendedores que ayuda a alrededor de 2 mil empresas al año. http://uni.vi/JHvud
  • Un portal donde se conectan nuevos emprendedores con mentores que proveen ayuda. http://uni.vi/JHvxI
  • Ayuda y herramientas gratis de la Cámara de Comercio que incluye modelos de formularios legales y de negocios. http://uni.vi/JHvyW
  • Publicidad gratis o a bajo costo de los portales de internet más visitados: Facebook http://uni.vi/K2iFt Bing http://uni.vi/JHvCO Google http://uni.vi/JHvDH
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