5 Latino/a Entrepreneurs and App Creators That Transformed Their Education Into Success
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- Education is key to entrepreneurship, but every entrepreneur's path looks different.
- Education opens up access to resources for Latino/a entrepreneurs to succeed.
- Latino/as taking education into their own hands is the key to success in entrepreneurship.
- Five app creators share their transformational journeys through education and entrepreneurship.
For Latino/as, education is key to unlocking success as an entrepreneur. This is especially true for those who may lack access to the information, resources, and support needed to guide entrepreneurial careers.
While education may enhance a career as an entrepreneur, it's important to know that there's not just one form of education that can lead you to success. Rather, it's the transformational journey of taking your education into your own hands that can get you there. These five app-creating Latino/a entrepreneurs showcase this point by sharing their journeys through education and entrepreneurship.
Maxeme Tuchman: CEO and Co-Founder of Caribu
- Bachelor of arts, political science and international studies from New College of Florida
- Master of public policy, education from Harvard Kennedy School
- Master of business administration and management from Harvard Business School
Maxeme Tuchman is the CEO and co-founder of the app Caribu. She nearly dropped out of high school in 11th grade after almost getting her Spanish-speaking Cuban-immigrant mother into signing her release papers without understanding the fine print.
Luckily for Tuchman, her guidance counselor stepped in and encouraged her to finish high school. Not only did Tuchman finish high school, but she went on to study at Harvard.
While in college, a professor told her that the faculty didn't have the same expectations for her as they did for the other students since they assumed that she only got into the school due to diversity quota requirements.
Tuchman said, "When people underestimated me, I asked for help from the people that believed in me instead." Coming from Miami, she met many people along her journey with whom she shared similar backgrounds. These people became her mentors, advisors, and sponsors.
Now, Tuchman is the CEO and co-founder of the award-winning app, Caribu, which brings families together across borders through interactive virtual play dates. It was named Apple's "Best of 2020 App."
If you have a dream role, Tuchman recommends talking to as many people with that role as you can about how they were able to get there. By doing this, you'll find that there are many ways to get to the same place. If you want to become an entrepreneur, Tuchman said, "Jump in chanceltas first!"
Corina Hierro: Founding Member and Community Manager of Chamba
- Bachelor of arts, journalism and mass communications from the University of Northern Colorado
Corina Hierro, a founding member of the Chamba app, is a Mexican immigrant who grew up in a small town in Colorado without much access to information and resources.
As a first-generation low-income student, it wasn't until she went to college that she learned about scholarships, mentors, and organizations that helped guide her on her career path.
She saw the need to uplift her community and give them access to the resources they needed, so she became a news reporter. But after six years in journalism, she decided to pave a new path as an entrepreneur with the same mission: Bridge the information gap.
Regarding your career path, Hierro said, "It's okay to change your mind as long as you are always staying true to yourself."
Now, she's a part of the Chamba team, helping Spanish-speaking job-seekers in the service industry access the information they need to land a job. Hierro said, "The journey comes with ups and downs. But if you are focused on your mission, that will drive you every day of your life."
Diego Montemayor: Founder and CEO of Chamba
- Bachelor of arts, political science and government from the University of Colorado Boulder
After studying political science and government in college, Diego Montemayor landed an internship with the United Nations. But he discovered that his dream career wasn't the solution to the problems he was looking to solve for the Latino/a workforce.
That's when Montemayor decided to take matters into his own hands and educate himself on the skills he needed to create a solution. That solution is Chamba, an app that helps Spanish speakers find jobs in the service industry.
Montemayor wasn't a coder and had never had a mentor before. So when the idea for the app hit, he immediately searched the internet for people with the skills and resources he needed to bring his project to life.
He also started applying for online programs, such as incubators and accelerators for startups, that taught him how to build the company and the app as he went. Montemayor said, "What you would learn in 10 years working for a traditional company, you can learn in two years at a startup."
In addition, Montemayor wants you to know that when you're in college, you should think strategically about what you want, what you're going to study, and who you're going to connect with to make it happen.
"Go get it," he said. "Don't be afraid. All the resources are there to support you, so long as you're looking to solve a problem and letting the mission be bigger than yourself."
Steven Wolfe Pereira: Chairman & Co-Founder of Encantos
- Bachelor of arts in international relations and economics from Tufts University
- Executive master of business administration in business management from MIT Sloan School of Management
- Fulbright fellow in economic development from El Colegio de México
Growing up visiting his grandparents in the Dominican Republic every summer, Steven Wolfe Pereira thought that he would go into the international development field and work for an organization like the World Bank.
His parents, who left the country during the Trujillo dictatorship, passed down the philosophy that the one thing that no one could ever take away from him was his education. So, he pursued a degree in international relations and economics that introduced him to the worlds of finance, technology, and business.
However, Wolfe Pereira said that it was the supplemental education he received from a paid internship opportunity with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity that changed his life forever. Through this internship, he learned how to finance his own business and become an entrepreneur.
Now, he's a co-founder and chairman of an award-winning storytelling app called Encantos. He's also the chief business officer of 3Pas Studios, a global entertainment industry co-founded by the biggest Latino actor in the world, Eugenio Derbez.
While Wolfe Pereira recommends pursuing a degree, he also suggests going the extra mile and taking education into your own hands. "Get a certification, take a masterclass, and learn from the experts on Youtube and TikTok," he said. "Find ways to make noise and stand out."
Susie Jaramillo: CEO & Co-Founder of Encantos
- Bachelor of arts in design and visual communications, Pratt Institute
Susie Jaramillo, multicultural Latina CEO and co-founder of Encantos, grew up in a small-town Catholic home without a television. It wasn't until she packed her bags for New York City after winning a scholarship to study art in college that her world opened up, allowing her to explore life as an artist.
Instead of taking the traditional route to becoming an artist after college, she launched her first business — a marketing agency, which was a wonderful networking opportunity for her. Jaramillo said that she's benefitted from people in the industry who have identified her as an artist who is of service to the Latino/a community.
After writing a series of children's books called Canticos, she met her friend, mentor, and future business partner, Steven Wolfe Pereira, at a networking event. That's when their famous bilingual storytelling app, Encantos, was born.
Jaramillo believes in the power of connecting with others and learning as much as we can from one another. She said that it could be as simple as making it your business to learn from the person you find yourself sitting next to — whether that's on the bus or in a business meeting.