Chifles president Tony Rivas knows just about everything about plantains and the plantain snack business. And now, thanks to completing the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) program at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus, he knows how to take his already successful company to the next level.
Rivas, who grew up riding along with his father while distributing Chifles plantain snacks, worked as an engineer for a missile defense contractor and as a pharmaceutical representative before returning to distribution with Chifles. His family bought the brand from the original owners in 2017 and four months later, a warehouse fire destroyed everything.
“I’ve always been operations-centric, so I dove right in and rebuilt the business,” he said. Since then, Chifles has expanded beyond Florida and was ranked the No. 1 plantain chip in U.S. sales by IRI Worldwide, a market-research firm. Rivas credits his success to his continued devotion to learning and the hard work ethic he inherited from his father.
The 10KSB is a practical education program that provides entrepreneurs with valuable skills for growing their businesses. The curriculum includes mentoring and workshops that teach how to identify and evaluate opportunities, understand financial statements and create a comprehensive growth plan. There is no cost to participate.
“The program taught me the value of networking and helped shift my mentality toward where Chifles can go next,” Rivas said. “I was surprised by the financial workshops, an area I thought I knew a lot about, and the ‘It’s the People’ module. I’ve always worked with profit-and-loss sheets, but now I have a better understanding of cash flow and how to hire for success and reduce employee turnover.”
Since the program’s inception at MDC in 2013, 10KSB has graduated over 500 small-business owners who are now poised for growth. The 21st cohort graduated this spring. The program has transitioned to online delivery during the coronavirus outbreak.