Latin America

Paulina Padilla

Remember those Sunday afternoons of childhood spent washing the car: the soapy sponge, the scraper, the bucket of dirty water splashing all over your clothes… Well, those days are gone for good now due to an innovation engineered by Paulina Padilla, a dynamic entrepreneur who seems to have stumbled upon gold. Except it’s green.

Lourdes Arreola

Figures from INEGI , Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography, show that 5.1% of the population, or approximately 5.6 million people, have disabilities. Lourdes Arreola, a former electronics engineer and telecommunications manager, has created a platform to help businesses include disabled people in the workplace: Linkenium. ‘I call it a platform because it’s not just a matter of job inclusion, it’s a change of mind-set.’

Gabriela Maldonado

Even as a girl, Gabriela Maldonado was quite the entrepreneur, making and selling everything from cookies to Christmas cards or dog accessories. ‘It was my favourite game – to think about what I could create and sell.’ Gabriela’s chosen career path, however, was always to be a teacher like her mother. It was this combination of professional teaching skills and a passion for entrepreneurship that led to the creation of her company, Jugando Aprendo.

Mildred Mayr

Mildred Mayr, 39, knew she wanted to nurse from an early age. ‘When I was a girl, I looked after my grandmothers, who were both ill; I think it sowed the seeds for my vocation.’ Often doctors and specialists receive the accolades, but nurses are a crucial component in patient care, treatment and wellbeing. Healthcare services are heavily dependent on them.

Gabriela Flores

After moving abroad with her family at the age of 10, Gabriela Flores returned to work in Bolivia in 2000. ‘I was shocked and saddened to see the poverty and inequality in my country, I wanted to do something to help.’ Bolivia is one of the poorest nations in Latin America, dependent on foreign aid. Gabriela volunteered for charities in her spare time, but soon saw this would never be enough. In 2005, she took sabbatical leave from her job as general manager of an international shipping company to come up with a plan. ‘Obviously they thought I was crazy!

Elizabeth Ojeda Gómez

In 2001, Elizabeth Ojeda’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. ‘He was 75 when diagnosed, but he’d had the disease for two years; often sufferers are not be diagnosed for much longer.’ As anyone confronted with the disease knows, its effects are stressful and devastating on patients and families. Elizabeth’s experience was no exception. ‘It’s terribly hard. You watch the person you love losing their memory, their faculties, their mind.’

Diego Valenzuela

In his position he has been Director of Company and some of its branches, like: Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. He is in addition General Manager to the Chilean subsidiary of the group: Meck Chile.

Daryn Fillis

Daryn's entrepreneurial career began in Mexico in 1998, when he was just 19 years old, co-founding a display fixture manufacturing company that provided service to Tower Records' retail stores throughout the world. Coming from the United States, studying Law and Society from the University of California Santa Barbara and still in college, Daryn had the opportunity to learn two new languages, Spanish and AutoCAD.

Carolina Guerra

As its name suggests – ‘inge’ for engineering, ‘recuperar’ for recovery – Ingerecuperar engineers solutions to recover waste. But not just any kind of waste, specifically the hazardous type. ‘First we research the best way to tackle the waste in question, then we apply the process to re-use it, on an industrial scale,’ says Carolina Guerra, a young materials engineer and Managing Director of the company, which she set up in 2007.

Rosario Rariz & Adriana Brusa

Rosario Rariz and Adriana Brusa have a goal: to make life easier for small business owners. ‘Running a small or medium-sized business is taxing for the most qualified of managers, let alone for someone who doesn’t necessarily master software or database management,’ says Rosario, who has created InforPyME with Adriana to bring fair-priced software and consultancy solutions to SMEs.

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