Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
After getting my undergraduate degree in aviation engineering in Santiago, Chile, I worked for TECHO as a country manager. TECHO is a nonprofit organization that works in low income communities building temporary housing and promoting community development. My job was to travel to different countries in Latin America and start the nonprofit: get the first donors and volunteers and find human slums we could start working in. I did this in Colombia and the Dominican Republic for 3 years, and traveled extensively through the continent working with different country teams.
I cofounded PUENTEK, an organization in Chile that teaches social entrepreneurship to low income teenagers from high schools and universities. We designed a program through which over 150 teenagers have participated. I founded Upward Ventures in 2014 in Amherst MA, with the mission of incubating hundreds of social enterprises in slums to provide jobs, empowerment and dignity to families living in extreme poverty. We're starting our first company, Esperanza Soaps, in the Dominican Republic and in Amherst.
Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?
As I mentioned before, Ted Barber from Prosperity Candle has a similar mission to ours. He's been an incredible mentor - his B corporation was recently voted top 100 B corps in the world. Valerie Cooley is an academic from Brown University advising us in impact measuring and evaluation and her insight has been incredibly valuable. We are members of a few trade organizations that help us network and meet people we cooperate with. Simon Brighenti, from OAM Law, has been our advisor in all things legal. Mercyhouse, a church based in Amherst, has been our largest supporter. They provide us with office space, their members donate constantly and have kept us in business, and have also been a community to support us in all matters personal and professional.