Launching Innovae Group
Fame at the First Puerto Rican Model Convention
After the competition, Renata did work as a model doing ad campaigns, magazine editorials, and catwalks as a member of a renowned modeling agency. She also took part in New York Fashion Week, where she met prestigious designers and famous people, such as the legendary Italian actress Sophia Loren.
Despite her passion and success, Renata decided to pursue a career in finance. She enrolled in the Florida International University (FIU) and left behind the world of modeling. This was the first step toward owning her own business and working with the U.S. government.
Experience at Florida International University
The former Puerto Rican model graduated from FIU and began working in finance in Miami. She worked there for about nine years before moving to the telecommunications industry. She had the opportunity to work with a partner as a consultant at Telefónica USA.
Renata was working with a logistics company for Telefónica in Spain. She gained crucial experience in reverse logistics on a multi-national scale in this important project. When it was finished, she decided to start her own business.
Success in Federal Contracting With Innovae Group
In December 2007, Innovae Group was created. Since the beginning, this international company had a logistics services network that covered the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Guatemala, Brazil, Uruguay, Germany, Spain, Finland, China, Korea, and Malaysia, among others. The international logistics services network has plenty to offer large corporations and government agencies.
As the company expanded and she gained more experience, Renata began researching how to grow the business. “I started to look for a way to work with the government. I saw that there was an opening for women and small businesses, and a set aside that was meant for people like me.” Stated Renata.
Although she initially secured a U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) contract, her first federal project was with the Air Force. These experiences brought additional opportunities and helped Renata learn more about her clientele. Instead of focusing on serving small businesses, she decided to work with businesses and institutions between $200 million and $1 billion. This naturally led her to pursue more work opportunities with the federal government.
The next contracting opportunity came later in the form of a federal subcontract with the U.S. Navy.
Taking the Next Step With Rafael Marrero
When it comes to federal contracting within the Hispanic community, there is one name that stands out for his impeccable management and vast experience: Rafael Marrero. The expert, who helps Latino entrepreneurs do business with Uncle Sam made it possible for Renata to take her company to the highest level by turning her firm into a subcontractor for the U.S. Navy.
Rafael Marrero assisted Renata in structuring Innovae Group as a large company, even when it was a small business, to position it to succeed in winning contracts from the U.S. government.
According to Renata, working with the author of the best-seller La Salsa Secreta del Tío Sam has been extraordinary. “Marrero was in charge of the whole process: they evaluated me [as a government supplier] and then accepted me. For me, it was seamless.”.
Dr. Rafael Marrero also assists clients in finding U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) certifications that help contractors compete for set-asides. The team is working on Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) certification for Innovae Group in both its Miami location and its branch in Puerto Rico. This certification allows the company to compete for the set-asides that total at least 3% of contract dollars.
Renata and Innovae Group leveraged Rafael Marrero & Company’s expertise to win a contract with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). She was able to work on one of the largest contracts in transportation as a subcontractor thanks to her experience and the expert management consultancy resources. “As a subcontractor, the side benefits give me a lot of confidence to go after other companies that wouldn’t do business with me if I weren’t working for the DOT,” Reported Renata.
Subcontracting offered Innovae Group an opportunity to work with the USDOT and a prime contractor with experience in the industry. These crucial connections are vital to finding new opportunities as a federal contractor. With the help of Rafael Marrero, Renata continues to grow her business and compete for federal contracts.
Walking the Walk as a Federal Contractor
As for the industry where life has taken her, the ex-model admits she loves logistics and that she has amazing customers, however, she still thinks about modeling from time to time. She continues to pursue federal contracts with Innovae Group but has also explored modeling opportunities. “It is something I love, I did it for many years,” Renata states.
She plans to use the information and guidance offered by Rafael Marrero & Company to establish herself as a government supplier, continue to develop relationships with decision-makers, and grow her business.
From walking the catwalk to walking the walk as a federal contractor, Renata de Weert has established a thriving company that supplies the U.S. government. She encourages other prospective contractors, saying, “It’s scary, but you have to overcome that fear and take the leap of faith.”