Whenever I get an email from the San Diego Diplomacy Council, I know something interesting is afoot. In this case, it was a group of entrepreneurs with the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative coming to San Diego, and they wanted to know if I could develop a storytelling workshop for them. How could I possibly resist.
The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) builds linkages between younger leaders across the hemisphere and address the opportunity gap for youth, especially women, by empowering entrepreneurs and civil society leaders with the training, tools, networks and resources they need to transform their societies and contribute more fully to economic development and prosperity, security, human rights and good governance in the hemisphere.
On October 20th I had the pleasure of meeting a dozen entrepreneurs from a dozen Latin America and Caribbean countries who had founded a dozen very cool companies, each with a different focus.
Aarón Bendfeldt, founder & executive director of Grønn (Guatemala)
He previously participated in SPOR, an exchange program between Guatemala and Norway. Aarón is studying Chemical Engineering at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala.
Altagrace M. Maignan, founder of Belle Créole (Haiti)
She serves as a Manager at Fondation Esther Boucicault Stanislas. Altagrace holds a Master’s Degree in medicine from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo.
Andrea Baltodano, founder of Maracao Beachwear (Costa Rica)
Andrea holds an Associate’s Degree in Fashion Design from the Universidad Creativa of Costa Rica.
Carolina Ramos, founder & COO, Natural Pop (Ecuador)
Carolina has a degree in Food Engineering from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and attended graduate school for French and Social Skills at the Institute de la Providence de Herve in Belgium.
Christine Daley, founder of DoodleSurprize (Jamaica)
Christine has previously worked in Accounting, Marketing, and Project Management at Digicel Jamaica, Zinergy International, and Black Ink Marketing.
Jau Ramírez, co-founder & president of Movimiento SOMOS (Venezuela)
He also works as a Communications Coordinator for Grupo Social CESEAP, and has led communications trainings for a human rights program on the border of Colombia and Venezuela.
Junieth Machado, founder of Cousy (Nicaragua)
Junieth previously worked for DeHumoTV as a journalist and producer, Imaginarte Films/Abre Tus Ojos as a trainer.
Miguel Ángeles, co-founder of CIRSYS (Peru)
Miguel previously worked as a production manager at Corporación Ingelsa S.A.C. and as a junior project engineer at Gloria S.A.
Pedro Young Parietti, co-founder & GM of Huerta en Casa (Uruguay)
Pedro has previously worked at Estero S.A., a seed production company, where he managed the experimental field.
Roniel Guzmán Toribio, CEO of Hub Makerspace (Dominican Republic)
Roniel previously worked as a Project Manager at Domotics Dominicana, and he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo.
Shamiro Anita, founder & CEO of Bizness Success (Curaçao)
Stephanie Hong, co-founder of Garateá (Brazil)
After going through the basics of personal storytelling, and a session on brand storytelling, many of the entrepreneurs got up and gave the audience a two minute overview of their company, and the ways in which their product or service would changes lives.
That’s the reward I get when working with entrepreneurs, especially from outside the United States – so passionate and dedicated – focused on the the critical issues that millions face in everyday life.
Hats off the the San Diego Diplomacy Council and the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative for allowing entrepreneurs to share ideas, wisdom, and best practices, across countries and continents.
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