Yamina Vicente is the owner of a small party decorations business, called Decorazón, Launched last November, after she stopped working for the state as an economicsprofessor, Decorazón is a dream come true for Yamina. It has allowed her to improve not only her own financial situation but also to employ family and friends. But perhaps more important are the intangible impacts. Read her story and others, like Barbara’s, who sells clothing and shoes, along with her mother and sister. Steep taxes and the absence of a wholesale market has made business life tough for her, even though it has created great opportunities. She describes the challenges of Cuba’s stalled economy, forcing workers without the benefit of computers to “write by hand” or stylists without supplies “to improvise.” Moreover, after working hard all day, she notes, “you come home and sometimes there is no electricity.” Julio Alvarez and his wife Nidialys run a car restoration business, a passion that began for him when at the age of eight his father taught him the trade of being a mechanic. Their storie highlight the opportunities, but also the challenges in today’s Cuba.