Diego Sandoval: Teen Entrepreneur Interview

Diego Sandoval, a rising senior studying at the American School of Lima Peru where he has started a Social Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow Club!

Alex Sahai: Diego could you tell us a little bit about who you are, what you have done, what you hope to do, and what you are passionate about?

Diego Sandoval: I am currently a rising senior at the American School of Peru in the International Baccalaureate program, but I was born in Florida and raised in North Carolina, where I had the fortune of growing up in a community that really cared for the environment as well as the community's social well being. It wasn't until my first visit to Peru however, in which I really opened my eyes to the different realities that millions of people live through. Seeing the poverty, corruption, and scarcity as a kid really shaped my character and would later play an important role in what I’ve been working on and on what I want to do in the future. I took advantage of moving to Peru to further expose myself to these realities that people back home don't normally think or even learn about. So when I came across social entrepreneurship, I figured I could channel my school's talent and resources to do something positive about Peru's situation. I did this through a club called Social Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow. My passion revolves around my dream to see humanity take further responsibility in transitioning towards a more loving, responsible, and sustainable way of living. I’d would love to continue my work with social entrepreneurship after high school and hopefully make a valuable contribution to the field.

AS: Could you give us a little bit of insight into your Social Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow Club and New Venture Weekend?

DS: Social Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow empowers student change agents to connect with the entrepreneurial community in and out of the school environment; create effective, innovative and sustainable solutions; and collaborate with a community of change-makers.

New Venture Weekend is SET's first project that we are offering to Peru's top private schools across Lima. It is a three day event where participants get the opportunity to network on a Friday with other students and create teams with talented individuals. These teams will work all of Saturday in developing, creating, and testing solutions to a problem of their choice while getting valuable feedback from experienced entrepreneurs. On Sunday, these teams will pitch their projects to an experienced judge panel to receive feedback that can last a lifetime. Students leave the conference with more knowledge about design thinking, lean startup methodology, the triple bottom line and other essential entrepreneurial skills.

AS: What do you think is the hardest thing about being a teenaged entrepreneur?

DS: I find the most challenging obstacle of being a teenaged entrepreneur is time management. Most teenaged entrepreneurs I’ve met, and you can relate, dream of reaching top schools, and that involves dedicating a lot of time to getting top grades and tests scores. On top of that, we have to make our vision a reality.

AS: How do you mitigate the challenge of time?

DS: Well I’ve been going through trial and error really, adjusting, re-adjusting, until I find a routine that works. A big part of it is pure prioritization. Once you learn how to prioritize, time becomes less of an issue. And like other challenges as an entrepreneur, you can learn from other’s lessons. I suggest reading about the 80/20 rule for time management and listening to Timothy Ferriss.

AS: What advice do you have for other teenage entrepreneurs?

DS: Remember your purpose. In our pursuit to create something valuable we can get distracted and forget our primary purpose, but we should always remind ourselves why we are investing our time and energy in something. As I get closer to graduation my motivations are being pulled in many directions, even towards getting accepted to university. But I think it's important to remind ourselves our own purpose and feel intrinsically motivated to make something happen. In my case, I was extremely moved by an image taken by Kevin Carter. I printed it out and I keep it in my wallet because it reminds me of my purpose and keeps me focused on what truly matters to me. My advice is, find your purpose and stay true to it.

AS: Thank you for your time Diego!

DS: No problem Alex! I am happy to help and share my experiences!

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