With a complex web of business law, precarious infrastructure and constant threats from Trump, Cuba doesn’t exactly provide the most solid platform to start a business. But, through grit, hustle, and a little ‘rule flexing’ three very different start-ups have defied the odds.
From Purita made their name by selling herbs and spices in and out of Havana. Starting out hawking garlic door to door and on the brink of bankruptcy, to a huge co-op holding contracts with 15 local farmers and now pulling in £7000+ a month.
To Kroma Studios, the design firm cashing in on the steady flow of foreign companies beginning to trickle into the country. Despite having to hurdle over obstacles like not technically being allowed to accept overseas work, they have powered on and are now firmly rooted as a design studio with global demand.
Then there’s Band Era, a recording studio on a mission to bring music from America to Cuba. For years, musicians Wilfredo Gatell and Miguel Comas had been producing tracks and videos straight out of their Havana apartment. Then in 2016, everything changed when they teamed up with photographer Alejandro Menéndez to form their own record label. Not technically a business recognised by the State, they’re currently an illegal enterprise, but that hasn’t stopped them pioneering the Cuban music scene and helping once-underground musicians be heard and getting the world to sit up and listen.