February 23, 2024

Medellin-Based Agua Bendita Founders Win Prestigious Global Entrepreneur Prize

Agua Bendita – founded by Medellin natives Catalina Álvarez and Mariana Hinestroza – on September 12 joined the winners circle in Massachusetts-based Endeavor’s ‘International Selection Panel’ (ISP) entrepreneurship prize for 2016.

The company – which now operates in 50 countries besides Colombia – “creates hand-made, premium swimwear by incorporating modern techniques and artisanal embellishments inspired by Colombian culture,” according to Endeavor.

“Its designs have been featured in Sports Illustrated for nine consecutive years and are worn by celebrities worldwide. The entrepreneurs amplify Agua Bendita’s strong brand identity by working with influencers like top models, such as Kendall Jenner, and famous fashion photographers on its catalogues.

“Agua Bendita swimwear is set apart by its intricate details, which are the handiwork of 700-plus, Medellin-based artisans. Operating in the US$17.6 billion global swimwear market, Agua Bendita products have a presence in over 50 countries,” according to Endeavor.

Alvarez and Hinestroza have been friends and partners ever since studying design and fashion together at university. Their first creations employed the original Singer sewing machine first used by Alvarez’s grandmother.

“From the beginning, Catalina and Mariana broke the mold that they had learned in classes, and launched the creation of unique clothing items with fabrics, textures and forms completely different from what was then known in Medellin, the city where both were born,” according to the company.

In total, 34 entrepreneurs from 12 countries were chosen for the latest ISP awards at the 66th annual competition in Boston.

“Endeavor now supports 1,336 entrepreneurs leading 839 companies in 25 growth markets around the world,” according to the organization.

“At the [Boston] event, panelists from around the world interviewed entrepreneur candidates about their businesses, evaluating them on their potential for high-impact growth, and then deliberated on which candidates should be selected to become Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Once selected, Endeavor Entrepreneurs gain access to comprehensive customized services, including introductions to local and international business mentors and volunteers from Fortune 500 consulting firms who will help them address key needs,” according to the group.

Endeavor is scheduled to host this year’s penultimate ISP event October 26-28 in Medellin, the group added.

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