Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ana Maria Lowry, CEO of A & P International, Inc., located in Orlando, FL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

A & P International, Inc is a transformational business development and consulting Minority Business Enterprise that serves the Supplier Diversity Community. We assess and develop Diverse Suppliers through one-on-one and/or group coaching and equip them to become pre-qualified providers of products and services for our corporate and government clients, to whom we offer supplier diversity solutions. Our company also offers executive training in DEI, Cross-cultural, Leadership, Sales, Marketing, etc., as well as translation services that are culturally relevant. Our clients are corporations and government agencies looking to increase their Supplier Diversity participation with pre-qualified suppliers. On the other hand, the diverse business enterprises are in need of being coached and equipped to become recipients of awarded projects from those corporations and government agencies.

Tell us about yourself

My sister and I started our business first in Colombia, S.A., our country of origin, connecting suppliers and buyers from both countries. Then, I opened our business here in Orlando, FL, in 1989 to serve the Supplier Diversity Community. Every day I am motivated by serving both parts of the equation making win-win introductions to buyers ready to buy and in need of pre-qualified providers and suppliers certified as diverse business enterprises for their ethnicity, women owners, veterans, persons with different abilities, or part of the LGBT group. In addition, we are encouraging them to do business with integrity, excellence, and reliability.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

To leave a strong legacy to our son, who will be my successor on time of retirement. To leave a business that is known and recognized in the industry for our professionalism and integrity.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

To keep higher standards in a broken culture where moral principles become no fashion.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Always do what is right, take ownership of mistakes and serve beyond them.
  2. Build a great team of staff and customers. Be intentional, Be selective.
  3. Persevere and work diligently in your smart goals.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I am so proud our company is assisting in building a culture of integrity and professionalism in the Supplier Diversity Community, creating a trusted, diverse Ecosystem that works for all.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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