Venezuelan Entrepreneurs Reshaping South Florida

“Yohana Santa Marta an example of Venezuela’s most talented businesspeople leading South America’s pharmaceutical industry into the United States.”
By: Esteban Ortiz

Miami, once known as the epicenter of Cuban-exiles namely in Little Havana, is now being known as Little Caracas. With the economic collapse of the oil-rich South American country, Venezuelan professionals are buying homes and investing their assets in Miami- based businesses. 

The exodus of Venezuelan’s began circa 2006 during the mandate of now deceased Hugo Chavez.  That year, Venezuelan’s bought more Miami property than any other foreign national group.  Along with this influx in home purchases, came an increase of Venezuelan owned business. Venezuelan themed restaurants and shipping agencies can be seen popping up everywhere from Doral to Pompano Beach.

In addition to small businesses, large Venezuelan corporations are opening their doors in Miami. Namely, pharmaceutical companies have found friendly territory in the Sunshine State. Case in point is Unipharma, LLC a million dollar endeavor spearheaded by Venezuelan entrepreneurs seeking to replicate their success here in the US.

Leading Unipharma’s endeavor to take a piece of the pharmaceutical manufacturing pie is Yohana Santa Marta, an American educated Venezuelan businesswomen and marketer. It was Santa Marta who proposed to several investors and pharmaceutical guru’s to establish Unipharma. Santa Marta’s market analysis considered Spain and other European countries as possible locations for Unipharma. Santa Marta considered Tamarac, FL the most ideal place given Florida’s proximity to Latin America. It was Santa Marta who created the business and marketing plan, brokered the real estate deal for a multi-million dollar warehouse and garnered political support for the establishment of the company.

In just five years Unipharma boasts a multi-million dollar renovated warehouse apt for the manufacturing of veils and other utensils necessary to carry medicine and doses.  In its second year of full service operations, Unipharma raked in more than $11 million and has created more than 20 direct jobs. Santa Marta recruited Unipharma’s first two largest clients setting Unipharma on an unprecedented path to speedy growth.

“It’s about being able to anticipate market shifts and matching demanding with supply”, states Santa Marta when asked about her key to success.

Santa Marta has become known in Venezuela as a leader in the business of pharmaceutical companies.  Struggling Venezuelan pharma companies are seeking Santa Marta’s expertise to open doors in the US, similarly US based companies who see an opportunity in the economic chaos in Venezuela have also consulted with Santa Marta for guidance.

South Florida is becoming the workspace for the brightest and most talented professionals from Venezuela to realize their dreams, which have been stymied by what some consider a dictatorship in Venezuela. 

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