Panel + Q&A (*Maximum 4 Panelists)

From Survival Entrepreneurship to Thriving Entrepreneurship: Insights from Leading Entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean

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What will it take to shift from “survival entrepreneurship” and informal sector work to a thriving ecosystem of social impact businesses across Latin America and the Caribbean? This moderated discussion will feature a panel of three leading entrepreneurs from across Latin America and the Caribbean, all of whom are alumni of the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders of the America’s Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program, a network of extraordinary entrepreneurs from across the region. With key learnings gained during the pandemic combined with their own experiences as entrepreneurs, they will provide insight into the role that both entrepreneurs and impact investors can play to promote economic and social development across the region through approaches such as “humanizing” entrepreneurship, engaging, supporting and activating communities, amplifying marginalized voices, and changing the traditional business narrative. The discussion and Q&A will be moderated by Nina Oduro, entrepreneur and Leadership Technical Advisor at IREX, a global development and international education organization.

Confirmed Panelists

Marysela Zamora, Founder of Fábrica de Historias, Costa Rica (Panelist)

Marysela Zamora is the Founder of Fábrica de Historias, a production company that empowers women in the arts. Fábrica de Historias develops projects on arts, culture, and gender, such as the San José Ballet Festival and Broadway Cabaret Night. Marysela previously worked for the production companies Luciérnga Producciones and Zen Entertainment, and as a Public Affairs Specialist for the Alamo Area Council of Governments. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Media from the University of Costa Rica and is an alumna of the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program.

Jose Perez, Founder and CEO, The Re-Creation Workshop, El Salvador (Panelist)

Jose Perez is the Founder and CEO of The Re-Creation Workshop in El Salvador. Re-Creation builds a community of carpenters that develops wood products together. Re-Creation offers mentorship and internship programs for talented young people, training them alongside experienced carpenters and teaching them how to establish their own business. He has served as a volunteer math, physics, and ESL teacher. Jose has a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from Escuela Especializada en Ingeniería, ITCA-FEPADE.

Nina Oduro, Leadership Technical Adviser at IREX and Co-Founder of Dine Diaspora (Moderator)

Nina Oduro is a Leadership Technical Advisor supporting IREX’s leadership programs and the Center for Applied Learning and Impact’s initiatives on research, learning, and innovation. Nina brings experience in youth leadership development, education, and training programs to her role supporting the technical aspects of leadership development programming, including provisioning of training and technical assistance, product development and external outreach.

Prior to joining IREX, Nina began her career in youth leadership development and training at Columbia University and the Posse Foundation where she advised and trained young leaders for academic success and positive individual and community impact. She has worked as an education advising specialist at the US Embassy in Ghana, where she promoted and provided access to US education opportunities for youth and adult learners. Nina has also consulted for several global initiatives, including Microsoft’s Education Ambassador Program, the International Organization for Migration, and Nigerian Government’s Diaspora Mapping Project. In addition, Nina has contributed research to the leadership-focused book, The Liberian Way: Breaking The Cycle by Olubanke King-Akerele.

Nina received a MA in African-American studies with a concentration in African diaspora studies from Columbia University and a BA in political and social thought from the University of Virginia.


Unconfirmed Panelists

If selected, IREX will invite an additional panelist from the Caribbean.

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