Caracas — Mariangel Molina and María Carolina Rondón are two members of the board of Venezuela’s Association of Young Entrepreneurs (AJE), which for the first time in 20 years has elected representatives, and who are celebrating the three-fold increase in the number of members over the past year.
When Mariangel, founder of Leather Heart, and María Carolina, director of Movilizarte registered as candidates to head the AJE’s board, the organization had 50 members, among them represnttatives of renowned companies in the country, such as KMPG and PwC, and now, seven months after they were elected, the association has 150 members.
Such growth in membership could be a motive of honor in their roles as AJE board members, but the two Venezuelan women prefer to talk about the achievements they have chalked up together with the initiatives of the association to promote and develop strategies with a social purpose.
Venezuela, which has just emerged from a cycle of hyperinflation, and which suffered a decline of around 80% of its GDP over the past eight years, had been the least attractive destination in terms of investment and entrepreneurship. But a group of young Venezuelan entrepreneurs, some of them already members of AJE, have shown that being united was the best way forward.
The dozens of problems in the South American nation had already served as motivation to boost or redirect their companies, and which have chosen to pursue the development and creation of solutions, with at least 17 of the member companies focused on having a social impact.
Whether it is Ridery, which offers transfer services and which has become the number one app in Venezuela for mobility, or Rapisalud, Mi Doctor 24h and Movilizarte, which are aimed at primary health care, or Leather Heart, the first Venezuelan BCorp, and which creates stuffed animals with textile waste that generates jobs and whose sales meet the food needs of children in vulnerable situations, this new generation of young Venezuelan entrepreneurs demonstrates, with its decisions and actions, that they are capable of generating change, and which allows Venezuela to be rebuilt through social and business initiatives.
“Our goal is to position Venezuela on the Latin American business and economic map again. Working in spaces that connect Venezuelan entrepreneurship is one of our paths. Spaces of knowledge that offer opportunities to share common experiences that nurture”, AJE board member Rondón said in an interview with Bloomberg Línea.
The association’s members have an average age of 29, a minimum of 23 and a maximum age of 42, and in recent months has raised its profile in recent months and aims to close the year with 300 members.
Female leadership, networking, building trust with advice and training, are all key elements in the process, and which both the new and older members see as positive while aiming to continue rebuilding the country in a conscious and rational way.
For her part, the association’s Mariangel Molina says that co-creation is necessary “to raise the possibilities of articulating alliances between leaders who execute actions and conscious behavior, and understand that the connection between humanity, business and the planet is irrefutable”.
Despite the multiple opportunities abroad, and having been part of large, well-known companies, these young Venezuelan entrepreneurs explain that they were inspired to be useful in Venezuela and grow along with the country’s new economic performance, and which goes beyond the policies that any government can implement.
Translated from the Spanish by Adam Critchley