Dulce Cultura – Mildred Gonzales Salazar & Ana Avalos

Business: Dulce Cultura

Founders: Mildred Gonzales Salazar and Ana Avalos

Dulce Cultura aims to freshen the body and soul with a tropical and sweet taste from the hundred-year-old secret of Latin American aguas frescas. These authentically- and purely- made agua fresca beverages are handcrafted solely with locally grown fruits and vegetables. With each sip, Dulce Cultura customers support local farmers while experiencing traditional Latin American culture.

Mildred and Ana, founders of Dulce Cultura, feel that Santa Barbara lacks a juice business that embodies culture passed down through generations.  Dulce Cultura beverages are made from recipes that have been passed down to the founders from their parents and grandparents.

Dulce Cultura won second place in the high school tier of the Scheinfeld Center’s 2016 New Venture Challenge. Mildred and Ana plan apply their seed capital toward the purchase of raw materials, their mobile stand, and commercial kitchen expenses.

Plans to Use Awards & Scholarship:

Mildred and Ana’s plans to use award & scholarship are as follows:

  • Apply for a temporary business license  
  • Convert our product from  being self-served to being pre-packed.
  • Aiming to have our product be featured in retail stores such as Whole Foods, Gelson’s, and Lazy Acres.
  • Determine our product’s shelf-life

About the founders

The Dulce Cultura team of Mildred Salazar and Ana Avalos both attend San Marcos High School and are enrolled in the Entrepreneurship Academy.  Through their business, they are both committed to sharing their love for their Latin heritage and cuisine with the community.

Short Testimonial:

Once you are given an opportunity as I was given by the Scheinfeld Center of Santa Barbara the one thing that you hold onto the most are the memories. Our memories allow us to reflect back on our own experiences whether they were miserable or terrific or a mixture of both. My memory of my first and real elevator speech is safely stored. I am beyond grateful!!

Experience with Scheinfeld Center:

Dear Scheinfeld Center,

Thank you for selecting my partner and I to participate in The Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge competition, but most importantly thank you for believing in us and in our idea. We couldn’t have done it without your support. There are not enough words in the dictionary to explain how grateful I am to The Scheinfeld Center.  Becoming a finalist in the New Venture Challenge was truly mindboggling.  As a student who has classified herself as an introvert, the business competition  really led me to grow out of my shell of comfort. We are both glad that we got to share our story with you.

SOE Awards Dinner Acceptance Speech:

Good evening everyone, my name is Mildred Salazar and this is my partner Ana Avalos and we are the co-founders of Dulce Cultura which means sweet culture in en espanol. We are two proud latinas who want to spread our Latin American culture with organic and thirst quenching beverages made  from tropical fruits and fresh vegetables. And with our aguas frescas we are aiming to be more than just traditional. We are going to apply a modern spin on these  traditional drinks by adding unique flavors, using natural sweeteners and creating low calorie options –  all handcrafted into a beautifully presented masterpiece. We also really want to make a difference in our local community by helping our customers to eat healthier, by locally sourcing all our produce and by being environmentally friendly. Aguas frescas are so much more than the name implies. Our business could have  not been  possible without our advisors Alex Sheldon, Dave Adornetto, Marla Friedler, and Sandra Hirsch. Thank you so much for believing in us and our idea! But most importantly I want to thank the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation for inviting us here tonight sharing Dulce Cultura with you. Ana and I are very blessed. Thank you!
Website:  www.dulceculturaaguas.com