Costa Rican company wins U.S. business ideas contest

April 29, 2014

Costa Rica’s Natural Sins, makers of fruit and vegetables snacks, on Friday took first place in La Idea Business Pitch in Miami, a contest developed by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The company, based in Pavas, west of San José, won prizes worth $150,000 including $100,000 in consulting services and $50,000 in cash to invest in the business.

Companies from Chile and Colombia placed second and third, respectively, and received $50,000 each.

The results were announced at a ceremony Friday night, after the 16 finalists pitched for the last time their business proposals to a panel of experts and an audience of some 100 entrepreneurs from the Americas.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson also attended the ceremony.

Iván Sosa, general manager of Natural Sins, said he is grateful for the award, as it will help the company introduce products to major supermarket chains in the United States and other countries.

The prize includes consulting services in marketing, international trade, law, web design and advertising, among others.

“With the cash, we hope to produce some TV spots and some social media campaigns,” Sosa said.

The company also will use the funds to certify their products as “No GMO’s,” “Vegan,” and other quality certifications, he added.

Natural Sins develops, manufactures and sells fruit and vegetable snacks made of pineapple, mango, star fruit, limes, oranges, coconut, kiwi, apples, pears, beets, pumpkins and carrots. Products are available in most major supermarkets and at some smaller retail businesses across the country.

The Idea competition this year attracted 883 proposals from 15 countries. A first round was held in Bogotá, where a first group of 60 finalists were chosen. The group was reduced to 16 in another round in New York, and the three winners were selected in Miami.

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