The five founding members of the Maestro Entrepreneur Center each played a pivotal role in the establishment of the robust organization. Julissa Carielo, Willie Ng, Ramiro Cavazos, Chris Martinez, and Leslie Garcia each contributed their talents and skills to the conception of the center. As Maestro approaches its five year anniversary, it’s critical to acknowledge how these individuals created the framework and carried out a vision to make the Maestro Entrepreneur Center a reality. Their dedication to the mission has allowed the nonprofit to thrive many years later and have the ability to provide resources and tools for so many small and local businesses.
Chris Martinez is one of the founding members of the Maestro Entrepreneur Center. Currently, Martinez is the president of Central Electric Enterprises & Co., a second-generation electrical company in San Antonio. Martinez first became involved with Maestro after being approached by Julissa Carielo with an idea to create a center focused on small businesses.
“My engagement came about when Julissa approached me about this idea about trying to grow and create an incubator for small businesses,” Martinez said.
He had immediate interest because he was keen on facilitating more opportunities for those who had the passion and desire to become an entrepreneur.
“Being an advocate for the inner city and the westside, I was immediately intrigued by it,” he said. “I wanted to support individuals from a more diverse economic background that had the ambition and desire to do something on their own.”
He was on board after understanding the potential that existed to assist entrepreneurs who may not have had access to guidance of any sort. Martinez had a mentor in his father, but he recognizes that a center like Maestro did not exist at the beginning of his career.
“There wasn’t a program or class like at Maestro where I could go to and ask some of the tough questions,” he said. “Let’s try to figure out how to mentor, grow, teach, and show them by example how best to develop a business plan.”
According to Martinez, the center has matured over time and has been able to adapt and modify to the ever-changing needs of the modern entrepreneur which is something he takes pride in.
“It is a very proud moment to see the organization offer diverse programs based on the needs of its’ clientele,” he said. “You have to crawl before you can walk, you have to walk before you can run, and I think we’re running now.”
Martinez believes that success for the center will be when entrepreneurs who once received support from Maestro are able to return and offer opportunities to other entrepreneurs. This scenario, along with many others, is why Martinez continues to be involved.
“I think Julissa and the founding board members believe in Maestro and invest in it,” he said. “That’s why we continue to try to help where we can and when we can.”
Ultimately, Martinez continues involvement with Maestro as a member of the advisory board as well as occasionally with the cohort classes. As an executive of his company it is sometimes difficult to find time to stay involved, but for Martinez he continues to do so because he understands the importance of the mission.
“You sacrifice your time, time from your family, time from your business, because you hope that just one person from that class takes a nugget.”