Entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis Travels to Cuba to Meet Business Owners Surviving and Thriving Under an Oppressive Communist Regime
A Rare Look Inside the Groundbreaking Changes Taking Place in Cuba
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — November 7, 2016 — On CNBC's hit primetime series "The Profit," entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis puts his own money on the line to help save and grow struggling American businesses. Now, he's headed to Cuba, one of the last holdouts of communism, to tell the stories of a remarkable group of men and women experiencing their first taste of freedom as entrepreneurs. In a special episode, "The Profit In Cuba," airing Tuesday, November 15 at 10PM ET/PT, Marcus travels to Cuba at a time of historic change, and profiles this new breed of business owners determined to succeed.
"The Cuban people have an amazing spirit," said Marcus Lemonis. "Seeing how small business functions in a communist country gave me an understanding of what's really happening in Cuba. Their tenacity and resolve despite staggering obstacles is the heart and soul of what makes that country work."
New laws in the country that allow for private business ownership have launched a wave of pioneer capitalists. In shops, factories, farms and homes, Marcus meets them to learn about their opportunities and challenges firsthand, and offers his expertise. A woman formerly employed by the state as a dentist now makes several times her old salary running a bakery with her brother. The new venture is doing quite well, though to Marcus' astonishment they explain that they often have no access to chocolate.
When it comes to running a business in Cuba, there are obstacles everywhere, including a longstanding U.S. trade embargo, broken supply chains, scarce resources, sporadic internet service, and intense government control and interference. Marcus visits a clothing designer who's prevented by law from opening a store; a restaurant owner whose license limits him to fifty seats; and an aspiring artisan who was forced to move her business on orders from the state.
These entrepreneurs have defied circumstances that would be unthinkable for most Americans. Despite these problems, some half a million Cuban citizens are benefitting from the new laws, and in a nation where the average income is roughly $25 a month, many have already improved their way of life.
Mitch Weitzner is Senior Executive Producer and Vice President of Long Form Programming. Reid Collins Jr. and Meghan Lisson are Producers. Amber Mazzola is Creative Consultant. Nikhil Deogun is Senior Vice President and Editor in Chief of Business News for CNBC.
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