If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, perhaps a significant economic and social opening might gain footing in Cuba with the success of Sandra Aldama’s soap micro-business, or Marianela Pérez’s Pizzeria Nella.

They — along with Niuris Higueras, owner of the Atelier restaurant, Yamina Vicente, who owns Decorazón, an event planning business, and Deciré Verdecia, owner of Decy Spa and Hair Salon, all located in or around Havana — are part of a generation of enterprisingcuentapropistas, the self-employed, a budding sector in the Cuban economy that began to emerge after the government decided to allow private business ventures in 2008.

The five businesswomen were part of “StartUp Cuba?,” a conversation at Miami Dade College Friday morning. The event was co-sponsored by the college’s Idea Center and theCenter for Latin American and Caribbean Initiatives, with the assistance of the Cuba Study Group...

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