“When I first started out I did not understand the word “entrepreneur.” I was afraid I would not be able to do it, especially as I did not feel ready or confident enough to start a business on my own. But after receiving help and support from Yo Quiero Yo Puedo, I learned about entrepreneurship and I am no longer afraid to get out there.”
They both worked long hours to support him and give him the highest standard of living they could. As a child Ricardo saw information technology as a way to generate income and from the age of 11 he started doing just that. However, it was not straightforward, he faced a number of basic challenges including not having access to the internet or a computer at home, but he did not let this stop him. Ricardo used the computers at his school to practice and just two years after sending his first ever email, he had created his first website.
He recalls: “I learnt to code using basic tutorials I found online, I then built a simple website and started used advertising to make money. This was also a challenge as I didn’t have a bank account where the money could go. I had to convince my parents to give me their bank details, it was not an easy task.”
Once they were persuaded, it did not take long for them to see the potential. His dad bought him a computer and his mum sorted out the internet connection. Ricardo worked hard and continued to learn and improve his skills. He became involved in a number of web and technology projects before he settled on his current venture, a mobile application called, Abarrote. The application connects customers (both businesses and consumers) to local street markets in Mexico, allowing them to source fresh, healthier food online.
While talent and passion are key qualities for success, it took the support of YBI member in Mexico, Yo Quiero Yo Puedo (YQYP) to help Ricardo take this venture to the next step. Ricardo explained:
“I heard about Yo Quiero Yo Puedo when I was in high school. I went to them to help me put my idea into practice. Before meeting them I had been afraid to branch out, but they really helped me, I still have mentoring sessions with them once a month.”
Yo Quiero Yo Puedo provides business training and mentoring services to young people, helping them to turn their business ideas into a reality. After meeting Mario, a volunteer mentor at Yo Quiero Yo Puedo, Ricardo received the much needed support to develop his business plan. More so, having a mentor played an important role in nurtured Ricardo’s confidence. Mario even encouraged him to travel to Argentina to do some research into his target market.
Following the initial development of Abarrote, Ricardo approached local businesses to help him test the product and make sure it was ready to release. “We simply asked if they want to try it and we had lots of interest. It was very encouraging and people liked using the product. The application meant they didn’t have to go to the market themselves, which is a positive. There are a lot of problems, such as traffic, fumes, bad smells and some of the markets are not safe.”
At the moment, Ricardo’s application is connected to a single market in Mexico City, but so far the venture has received positive interest and Ricardo is working to expand it to include more markets across the capital and the country. The value of being able to undertake a venture like Ricardo’s means different things to different people. For some it’s a way that they can make some extra money, for some it’s a way to achieve autonomy, and for others it gives them the chance to become truly invested in, and excited about, their work.
The first impulse which drew Ricardo to entrepreneurship was financial, but as he’s continued to hone his skills, both as a coder and as the head of a business, he learnt that the value of entrepreneurship extends far beyond the financial benefits.
“Little by little, I’ve come to understand what being an entrepreneur means and it’s not just about having a lot of money. The greatest fulfilment I get is from working with people who understand me, and share my ideals and passions.”
Ricardo is only 19, but he says no one should let being young stop them from starting a business, he believes having a team of people around him who are equally as ambitious is very important and he hopes in the future he and his company can help tackle youth unemployment in Mexico.