David Delgado and Federico Pérez are 21-year-old co-founders of Espacio EDUCA, a social venture that provides access to technology for teenagers in Petare, Venezuela. We first met David and Federico at the Harvard National Model United Nations Social Venture Challenge earlier this year, where they pitched their idea to Resolution judges. Since launching their venture, they have developed their STEM curriculum and conducted their first pilot class. Read on to learn a little bit more about David, Federico, and the positive impact they are achieving through their venture Espacio EDUCA!
Please introduce yourselves.
David: Hello! My name is David Delgado and I’m a 21-year-old undergraduate student from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, in Caracas, Venezuela. I am currently majoring in Economics and Business, working as a Finance Analyst at Diageo Venezuela, and I co-founded the social venture Espacio EDUCA.
I am very interested in having a positive impact in the world through my actions and I am focusing on the early stages of my life in maximizing learning (academically and professionally) to become the best version of myself. I enjoy reading, hiking, and running!
Federico: My name is Federico Pérez, and I’m a 21-year-old aspiring economist studying at Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas, Venezuela. This past year, I co-founded Espacio EDUCA, a social venture seeking to increase access to technology in lower-income communities and teach coding to teenagers soon to join the job market.
What three adjectives describe you?
David: Passionate, hard-working, analytical
Federico: Calm, Thoughtful, Kind
What is your favorite book?
David: I was deeply inspired while reading the ideas that Angela Duckworth shared in Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Since I read the book, I reflect a lot about the importance of perseverance and focus for achieving great goals in life, while enjoying the journey.
Federico: My favorite book has to be either Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card or the Lord of The Rings series. The reason I love these books is their thorough world-building and how they pose important moral questions through the fictional characters and places they create.
What is the issue your venture seeks to address?
We seek to address limited access to technology and youth unemployment in low-income communities.
How is your venture addressing these challenges?
Espacio EDUCA created a computer science classroom, in partnership with a local school, where students gain access to the internet and laptops for free. EDUCA also offers a coding course to help recent graduates secure higher-paying jobs.
What does your venture hope to achieve?
Our venture hopes to impact the lives of the more than 1,000 students currently attending the Maria Inmaculada School in Petare, and help develop the careers of talented teenagers in the community. In the future, we see our impact expanding to many different communities in Venezuela and abroad!
What inspired you to start your venture?
Both of us were inspired to start our venture when COVID hit. We saw how even the most privileged schools in Caracas struggled to provide online classes, and we started to think about how we could help students with less access to resources. After many conversations with the community, our venture will take place in Petare, a community with a high number of soon-to-graduate teenagers who we can help though our venture EDUCA.
What has been one challenge you have overcome with your venture?
One of the biggest challenges that we had to overcome was handling the technical part of our venture since all founders are from a non-coding background. The way we overcame this challenge was with the help of Code Nation, an American NGO with a similar purpose to EDUCA’s, who guided us through their teaching experiences and class materials. Our Resolution Guides put us in touch with Code Nation to help us overcome this challenge.
What do you value most about the Resolution Fellowship?
We value the connections the most. Our Guides have been incredibly supportive and helpful throughout our launching process. Speaking to them has felt like speaking to close friends! We also value the tangible support Resolution has provided through the seed funding which enabled us to start making a difference in our community at a young age.
How will the Fellowship help you achieve your goals?
Everyone at Resolution has been true allies of our ideas and talents. We have grown a lot thanks to the resources at disposal for Fellows and thanks to advice from our Guides. We couldn’t have run our venture without this support.
Since day 1, our Guides Saad and Aksh have offered great insights and advice on how to run our first venture and we are sure that this support will also help us later down the road in our future personal, professional, and entrepreneurial endeavors!
For us personally, the Fellowship has meant a growth opportunity. It has been a true privilege to connect with a community of like-minded people from all over the globe that have the same purpose and values.
What do you love most about your home community?
We are launching our project in one of the poorer communities of Latin America, Barrio Union. Barrio Union is a community of Petare, one of the most iconic slums in our city of Caracas. Most of the community lives in extremely tough conditions. There’s a lack of water, constant electricity shortages, and a large part of the population works in minimum-wage jobs (less than 4$ a month).
Despite these circumstances, there’s a local school run by the church called María Inmaculada which perfectly encapsulates the phrase: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” The school is run by Maribel Quiroz and her team. They work endlessly to ensure all 1,400 students receive a proper education.
We have created a strong alliance and an honest friendship with Maribel and her team. The things that we love the most about Barrio Union and the school’s team are their commitment to their students, their resilience, and their ability to advance just causes through adversity.
What role do young leaders play in the world today?
We believe that young leaders are the catalysts of change and problem-solvers in their communities. Many times we are overwhelmed (and even frustrated) by the size or complexity of many global and local problems. However, sometimes the most valuable thing a young person can do right now is try to solve real problems with new approaches and ideas. Focusing on solutions for simple problems in a community is the first step in a life dedicated to bringing great public and private ideas into action. We would like to encourage young leaders with ideas to take a risk and offer innovative solutions for the problems they see in their environment.
Why is it important for young people to focus on social impact?
For three main reasons:
- A generation of socially responsible leaders has the potential to deliver a great amount of impact worldwide.
- We believe that every aspiring leader should be focusing on the long term sustainability of their work. Across industries and sectors, social impact and sustainability will increasingly influence many important decisions—from politics, to supply chain management, to finance. Getting involved and committing to a life of impact is one of the ways we can help shape the future through our actions.
- Business and entrepreneurship have a large advantage in promoting social change: they are fast-paced and open to innovation. Being a socially-oriented businessperson can help us achieve more impactful, timely, and humane change.
How has COVID-19 affected your plans for your venture?
Due the Pandemic, the Maria Inmaculada School hasn’t operated regularly since March 2020. In addition, according to a local survey among the students, only 20% have access to a computer with stable internet.
Our venture has quickly become one of the solutions for the school. Our tech lab will be available for every student at school, providing young people with access to computers when they do not have one at home. Many teachers have shared that the program is a great source of motivation for the students to attend school.
Do you have any personal or professional goals for the end of the year?
Both of us are in our senior year at UCAB and we are looking forward to finishing our degrees by the end of the year. Besides Espacio EDUCA, that is our main priority. We are looking forward to starting our careers and trying to make a positive impact wherever we land, while enjoying the journey.