JUAN SALAZAR

Co-founder at EcoLabs

What were you doing before you joined the Uprise program?

I had recently graduated from my undergraduate in science and I immediately started working in a field that was completely different from mine. Entrepreneurship. Here I was working firsthand with the most innovative Startups in the country, helping them reach their goals to make an impact in the world. This close relationship with them made me feel like I also needed to chase my dreams and having a full-time job wasn’t going to give me that. So, I decided to make the most of my job, learn as much as possible from the ecosystem in which I was in by going to events, gathering and workshops, and then, at some point, I would throw myself into the exciting world of startups.

How has your career changed since graduating from Uprise Academy?

The program allowed me to see my full potential and to understand that there are still many things to be done, there is still much inequality in this world that I, as a somewhat privileged person, should be contributing to solve. It inspired me to come back home, to a not-so-developed country, and start doing things that will improve the lives of others.

I am working as a full-time entrepreneur and innovation consultant. Coming back from the program I started building my big startup ideas that, from the time I’m writing this, have been in the over for over a year. Now it’s finally coming to a point where I’m implementing them, testing them with real customers and I now have formed a group of 6 people who are on this journey with me. No partners yet, still trying to find the right one. I’ve been continuously evaluating my short, mid and long-term goals which has given me a lot of clarity in my day to day

What was the biggest lesson you learned after joining Uprise Academy?

I learned that having self-awareness is probably the most important skill I could develop. Before going into the program, I wouldn’t really question where I was, I had no clear goals or ways to get there. By evaluating my own life, I am now able to make conscious choices of where I want to go and the things that make me come alive as a person. I am know fully aware of the person I want to become and the steps I need to take in order to continue my self-improvement.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about applying for the program?

The program gives you back as much as you give to it. You will make the most of it if you have the right mindset to break your own boundaries and, through experiences, become a better version of yourself. The breakthrough will happen, sooner or later, but the program gives you the right ecosystem so that this may happen a bit sooner in life.