Nicomedes Saravia Aliendre


“I’ve always seen myself setting up my own business, I only had to wait to access funding. I already had the skills and willpower.” 

Nicomedes Saravia Aliendre originally comes from the Cochabamba, a region in Bolivia, where he got a degree in mechanics. He had an unusual academic background where he played the role of a leader, so since he was young, he’d always known that he wouldn’t want to be an employee with a fixed salary but wanted to be paid based on his abilities and what he could deliver. 

When he turned twenty-five, Nico left his hometown to start a new adventure in Spain: opening his own shop. However, once he settled down in Madrid, he realised that he had to wait three years before being able to obtain the relevant paperwork to set up his business. Nico didn’t lose hope and started working in a barbershop while also attending a hairdresser course: he has bittersweet memories of that time since he was doing what he liked but he was employed illegally.  

As Nico needed a guarantor to get his work permit approved, his bank introduced him to the Fundación Tomillo, one of Youth Business Spain’s local partners providing advisory services to entrepreneurs. They helped him develop a sustainable business plan, provided training and tax advice, and paired him up with a mentor.  

Finally, after a challenging start and years of patient waiting, Nico managed to open his shop: Una hairdresser welcomed its first clients in August 2019. Once he found the perfect location for his new shop, he renovated it and started promoting his business to the local community. Nico has now expanded his customer base and employs another full-time staff. In the future he plans to focus on improving his services and set up one or two new businesses. 

Drawing on his experience, Nico shares a piece of advice with your entrepreneurs:

“Develop a business plan to check whether you are, not only financially but also emotionally, ready to become an entrepreneur. It’s a difficult path and you may struggle to make ends meet at the end of the month, but you know it’s just you and you don’t have to answer to anyone. My advice is to start and continue to improve.”

Youth Business Spain supports young entrepreneurs to start, consolidate and grow their self-employment projects, as a quality alternative to unemployment. It is part of the Youth Business Europe programme, a regional initiative supported by the Citi Foundation to help young entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.

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