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The solidarity-focused entrepreneur

Guzmán Noya Foto

Guzmán Noya is a Uruguayan student who has already volunteered for several projects in support of the vulnerable 

“Being an entrepreneur is not just about setting up a business, it’s much more: it’s about applying that spirit of entrepreneurialism to the day to day things in life,” is how Guzmán Noya describes his approach to life. The young Uruguayan says he intends to study not just to learn how to set up and run a business, but to work in the volunteer sector and create socially useful projects.

Convinced of the importance of social entrepreneurism, Guzmán says he feels a strong need to help others, and in particular women and children who had not had the privilege of a full education and who are living in poverty.

Despite his youth, Guzmán has already led a full life. Educated in Uruguay, where he completed his international degree as the best student in his class, his academic worth has been recognized by Cambridge University.

But Guzmán was not content with academic success, and says he has always felt the need to do more, and that he needed to help those less fortunate than himself. For several years he volunteered as a teacher in Uruguayan state schools, giving classes to young people from poor backgrounds. The experience encouraged him to visit other countries in South America, mindful of his belief in the importance of social entrepreneurism.

In Brazil’s northeast, one of the poorest regions in the country, he has organized workshops on entrepreneurism, cross-culturalism, human rights, or the environment for young women that have been subjected to gender-specific violence. Before that, he lived and worked in a community in Paraguay giving classes on computer technology, as well as working with young prisoners. Last year, he set up a workshop to teach English and to help children with learning difficulties at an under-resourced school. He has also worked as a fundraiser, as well as campaigning against bullying and abuse.

A more practical university

After finishing high school, Guzmán decided to go to university in Uruguay. But at the end of his first year he wasn’t satisfied. “I wanted something more practical, a more enriching experience, something more,” he says looking back.

He heard about IE University and travelled to Spain to take a degree in Business Administration. In the meantime, he has been elected his class representative on the student government. He’s also a member of the debating society, an area he already has experience in, having already taken part in several international conferences such as the South American Business Forum, as well as a student version of the United Nations with its own Security Council and General Assembly, as well as other multilateral agencies and bodies, where students from all over the world debate the organization’s extensive agenda.

He now hopes to participate in the Harvard World MUN, to be held in Rome in March 2016, or the World Business Dialogue in Germany around the same time. Aside from being an active member of the Humanitarian Club, he has signed up to a course on human rights in Spain under the auspices of the Helsinki España Human Dimension, which works with 140 universities around the world and international organizations. He hopes to be able to give talks at schools in Segovia on human rights.

A practical degree

He says he feels at home in Segovia studying Business Administration, describing it as, “A practical degree program that provides useful tools for personal growth.” Guzman is convinced that good management is the key to any organization’s success, whether it is an NGO or a government. Furthermore, he adds: “The Business Administration degree at IE University is a versatile qualification: I still don’t know if I want to specialize in finance or international relations.” He adds that another strong point of the degree program is “that it allows me to acquire extremely interesting skills and knowledge that have no direct connection to the degree, for example, I have just signed up for an advanced seminary on symbolism in art.”

Asked about the other things he enjoys while studying at IE University, Guzmán draws up a long list: “The incredible number of routes for running or just walking, the late afternoon light on the Alcázar and the Cathedral, the clean air, and that everything is so close to hand.” He also highlights the peace and quiet, and the friendliness of the locals, which he describes as like being welcomed into a family. Along with all this, what Guzmán most enjoys is meeting friends at weekend for tapas. In short, a young man who understands that business and helping others can go hand in hand.

Read the article (spanish): El emprendedor solidario