Entrepreneur Profile

Healthy Community, Healthy Economy

Pioneer Entrepreneur of the Year

At this year's EXPO, AnewAmerica proudly introduced the Pioneer Entrepreneur of the Year Award - a brand new award for entrepreneurs dedicated to pioneering innovative business models. We honored Elisabeth Cruz, owner of Benitez Produce and outstanding pioneer in the establishment and growth of the Fresh Carts Silicon Valley program in San Jose.

Elisabeth Cruz being presented with the Pioneer Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 Award

Elisabeth Cruz, Benitez Produce (Good.To.Go. Fresh Cart) & her family being presented with the 2015 Pioneer Entrepreneur of the Year Award by The Health Trust COO, Todd Hansen, joined by AnewAmerica CEO, Viola Gonzales, AnewAmerica Board Chair, Steve Dial, and EXPO emcee, Univision Host, Kira Vilanova.

Elisabeth’s success is attributed to her talent, tenacity, and commitment to this new program that utilizes cross-sector approaches in addressing health, social, and economic issues. The Health Trust, as part of its Healthy Eating Initiative, launched The Fresh Carts Silicon Valley Program, to increase access to healthy foods in low‑income neighborhoods while creating income generating opportunities. AnewAmerica proudly manages the entrepreneurial training and technical business assistance components of the program, training local residents to own and operate their own mobile fruit and vegetable carts. Elisabeth completed the program in 2014 and has since created a livelihood for her family and championed the cause for healthier food options in food deserts like the one where she lives.

“I started with the Fresh Carts project because I am concerned about the health of my family and my community. Our community suffers greatly from diabetes. Our community needs and deserves better food options to prevent these illnesses, especially for our children.”- Elisabeth Cruz on why she started her own Fresh Cart.

Find out more about all of our 2015 Award recipients here.