Melissa De León wins EMPRETEC Women in Business Award 2012

Chef Melissa De León, entrepreneur from the City of Knowledge Business Accelerator (AEP), won, on Monday, April 23, the EMPRETEC Women in Business Award 2012 at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held in Doha, Qatar.

Melissa De León, founder of Panama Gourmet, a company which produces gluten-free foods, received this prize that honors businesswomen from developing countries who have founded successful firms, created jobs, and become role models in their communities.

Ms. De León devised a flour making use of the entire tubers of locally grown Panamanian crops, enabling her supplying farmers to sell their harvests with no waste, and thus earn steady incomes. Her goods have a shelf life of up to 12 months and do not have additives or preservatives. There is a growing international market for gluten-free foods, which provide healthy nutrition to diabetics, people with celiac disease, and with digestive problems.

Panama Gourmet specializes in making energy bars, nutrition bars and cakes, which have no milk components, refined sugar or wheat. This company has helped establish a national reputation for innovative and healthy products from Panama, while supporting the Panamanian agribusiness.

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