Social entrepreneur seeks impact by connecting people and ideas – Knight Foundation

Social entrepreneur seeks impact by connecting people and ideas

Javier Ogarrio, a co-founder of the Guatemala-based startup JoinUpz, recently attended the SIME MIA digital business conference in Miami. The convening, held during the week of Art Basel Miami Beach, assembled business leaders, entrepreneurs and technologists from around the globe in a creative collision of talent and ideas.

JoinUpz, a platform that matches social initiatives with people, was one of 10 startups named Knight Entrepreneurial Fellows that received two free tickets to the conference. In a recent interview, Ogarrio said startups “face two big challenges”: finding funding and connecting with people with the right skills. Events such as SIME MIA are essential, he said. Knight Foundation sponsored the conference as part of its strategy of strengthening the South Florida entrepreneurial community. JoinUpz has a similar mission among social entrepreneurs.

The startup works “as an online social platform where people will form part of this entrepreneurial community,” Ogarrio said. “They can share ideas, crowd-source projects, and what makes it better is that JoinUpz has a smart recommender engine that will efficiently match people and projects together to increase chances of success. It is meant to bring people together across countries or languages in order to make things happen.”

JoinUpz is first focused on the Latin America, Orgarrio said, but “its focus will ultimately be the global market.”

Ogarrio, who also works at Nokia as a technical strategist, said he visited the conference, which was held at New World Center in Miami Beach and The LAB Miami in Wynwood, “ to learn from more experienced entrepreneurs or investors, and in hopes to find leads to fund the project.”

He considered the conference a success because it provided helpful information and contacts.

“My ultimate goal is to be able to make a real impact in Latin America and other parts of the world,” Ogarrio said. “I want a better world. I really believe that by getting people together with similar ideas or complementary skill sets amazing things can happen.”

Michael D. Bolden, editorial director at Knight Foundation

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