Meet the Alumni

Carmen Maldonado

Chicago, IL

Year founded
La Criolla
Partner College
City College Chicago
I didn't realize the power of the La Criolla brand until I participated in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. It opened my eyes to the potential for my company, reinvigorated me and gave me new ideas to implement with my team.

Business Overview

Carmen is the owner and CEO of La Criolla, an importer, manufacturer, packager and distributor of spices, beans, olives and pastas. Carmen’s late husband asked her to join his company shortly after they were married and she jumped at the chance. Carmen has worked hard to keep the business growing since his death.  One of her key business achievements over the last three years was to establish a relationship with a major retail chain that now puts her product on its shelves.


Revitalizing a 50-year-old, family-run company by learning to better analyze the business to provide more focus and direction.


Since participating in the program, Carmen has gained the management and leadership skills needed to help her company increase its revenue by 40%.