The Sociopreneur Initiative is all about entrepreneurship and collaborative solutions. So we have been teaming up with lots of amazing coaches and mentors from all over the world. The story below is from our newest group of allies: an extraordinary group of college students, who founded the ‘Business Club’ of the American College in Managua, Nicaragua. It’s an inspiring story about the potential of ‘millennials’ to drive social change through entrepreneurship – Natalia Adler, Chief of Social Policy, UNICEF Nicaragua

Managua, Nicaragua, August 2013, another hot day in our bustling capital city. Eight students who barely knew themselves were selected to attend and represent Nicaragua and the American College in the Global Youth Summit BYND, organized by the UN International Telecommunications Union.

It was the opportunity of a lifetime for eight Nicaraguan students from Engineering, Marketing, Economics, Communication, and International Relations backgrounds. A fellowship was born.

From left to right: Scarleth Vasconcelos, Angel Martinez, Luis David Vargas, Luis Espinoza, Roberto and Jean Carlos Rocha, Cristina Martinez and Luis Gabriel Montalvan.  Presentation Press Conference American College 2013
From left to right: Scarleth Vasconcelos, Angel Martinez, Luis David Vargas, Luis Espinoza, Roberto and Jean Carlos Rocha, Cristina Martinez and Luis Gabriel Montalvan. Presentation Press Conference American College 2013

Strangers became friends in the beautiful country of Costa Rica, Nicaragua’s Southern neighbor and the host of the summit. We had the opportunity to get to know and work with amazing and very capable young men and women from all around the world.

“I’ve never worked with people that knew how to speak in 8 different languages, not programming languages of course,” explains Jean Carlos Rocha. We were flabbergasted by the expertise of every individual we met, but what truly astonished us was their humility.

The crew bonding in Costa Rica
The crew bonding in Costa Rica

Back in Managua, we decided not to fall into the comfort of just enjoying a wonderful experience. We wanted more.

“We had the chance to just get back to our respective careers and let our experience in Costa Rica remain a wonderful memory, but after meeting so many exceptional individuals we decided we wanted to give back what we received, we wanted to share what we learned in the Summit and, in that way, inspire others through our actions to chase their dreams,” explained Luis Gabriel.

On that day the ‘Business Club’ of the American College (“Club de Negocios AC”) was born. It has since become the most representative club in our Alma Mater, and we have been invited to participate in various conferences and workshops.

From left to right: Luis Espinoza, Scarleth Vasconcelos, Roberto and Jean Carlos Rocha, Luis Montalvan & Jose Carlos Pulido on the Iberoamerican Summit of Journalism held in Granada, Nicaragua
From left to right: Luis Espinoza, Scarleth Vasconcelos, Roberto and Jean Carlos Rocha, Luis Montalvan & Jose Carlos Pulido on the Iberoamerican Summit of Journalism held in Granada, Nicaragua

Our latest endeavor is to support UNICEF in the implementation of the Sociopreneur Initiative, which seeks to create the next “Silicon Valley” of social entrepreneurship in Tola, Nicaragua.

Building partnerships. From left to right: American College's President, Dr. Sacasa, Natalia, Roberto, Elisa, Milja, Rafa, Scarleth, and Luis Gabriel.
Building partnerships. From left to right: American College’s President, Dr. Sacasa, Natalia, Roberto, Elisa, Milja, Rafa, Scarleth, and Luis Gabriel.

As the second poorest nation in the region, Nicaragua doesn’t have a stimulating entrepreneurial approach in their high school system and the country is missing out on opportunities for growth. As Scarleth Vasconcelos, the Club’s Vice-President and Executive Secretary says, “We want to learn so we can teach others and keep that ball rolling until it impacts our whole economy in a beneficial way.”

We’ve built a network integrating the existing university structure with outside A-players on entrepreneurship, technology, and social impact. As Jose Carlos Pulido, our newest member once said during a group feedback session,  “…when we are suggesting ideas or even when we’re planning to do something is the moment when we are really giving the best we have.”

“Through cooperation we authentically learn” Cristina Martinez
“Through cooperation we authentically learn” Cristina Martinez

One example of giving one’s best can be seen in Mr. Wilbert’s work, a social entrepreneur in Tola who is teaching English to locals so they can create cultural routes throughout the city. Everyone we meet is an opportunity to learn more, grow more, and achieve more. If you were waiting for a sign to start doing something positive…here it is. The time is now and we’re part of this journey!

Global Youth Summit – BYND 2015, Costa Rica
Global Youth Summit – BYND 2015, Costa Rica

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