The humanitarian entrepreneur

@Roberto Arribas

Uruguayan BBA student Guzmán Noya has volunteered for various projects that support disadvantaged social groups.

Being an entrepreneur doesn’t just mean being able to set up a business, it’s much more: entrepreneurship is about taking action, which is something you have to do every day.” With these words Guzmán Noya summarizes his life philosophy. This IE student from Uruguay is an example of a young entrepreneur who is not only interested in learning how to create a business, but who also dedicates much of his efforts towards social and volunteer activities.  Convinced of the importance of social entrepreneurship, Guzmán feels he should help others and, in particular, women and children with little education and even less economic resources, many of whom live in destitution.

Guzmán Noya has led an exciting life despite his young age.  He spent his first years of school in his native country, where he took the International Baccalaureate and graduated top of his class. He was also awarded by the University of Cambridge, who recognized him as one the most academically promising students of his country.

Guzmán has never limited himself to just being an exceptional student. He always felt that he could do more, that he had to help the disadvantaged.  For several years he worked as a volunteer in various public schools in Uruguay, leading classes and organizing entertaining workshops to bring joy and education to children with scarce resources. This enriching experience led him to visit other South American countries, always pushed forward by his belief in the importance of social entrepreneurship.

Photo by: Roberto Arribas

In the Northeastern-most part of Brazil, Guzmán led workshops on entrepreneurship, multiculturalism, human rights, and ecology, aimed at young female victims of violence.  The young Uruguayan had also previously visited a community in Paraguay where he lived alongside its residents doing his own bit to help: from computer classes and games, to visiting jails for minors.  Last year Guzmán created a workshop to teach English and help children with learning difficulties in a school with highly limited funds.  He also participated in fundraising campaigns and campaigns against harassment and abuse.

A more practical university

After completing high school, Guzmán decided to begin university in Uruguay. He completed his first year, but wasn’t convinced or satisfied. “I wanted something more practical, a more enriching university experience; something more,” he says, looking back. It was then that IE University came across his path; he traveled to Spain and began a degree in Business Management (BBA) at the Segovia campus.  Here, Guzmán continues to be an intellectually curious person. Amongst other initiatives, he was chosen to represent his class in the Student Council. He is also a member of the Debate Club, something he has experience in from participating in various international conferences, like the South American Business Forum and Model United Nations, which simulates the General Assembly, the Security Council, and other multilateral bodies and agencies of the UN, where students from around the world debate specific issues about the organization’s extensive agenda.

Guzmán is also considering participating in the Harvard World MUN in Rome, in March 2016, or in the World Business Dialogue in Germany, around the same time. In addition to the Humanitarian Club, he also signed up to a human rights course by Helsinki Spain, whose aim is to give talks on these topics in schools in Segovia.

A very versatile degree

At the Santa Cruz la Real campus in Segovia, Guzmán feels at home studying Business Management (BBA), because “it’s a very practical degree that provides highly useful tools for personal development.”   Guzmán is convinced that any kind of organization requires good management, from an NGO to a nation’s government.  He also adds that “the BBA degree at IE University is a very versatile degree, I still don’t know whether I want to specialize in Finance or Internal Relations.”  Another strength of the BBA is that “you can acquire extremely interesting knowledge that doesn’t necessarily have a direct link with your studies. For example, I just signed up to a seminar on symbolism in art,” he says.

Guzmán lists off a long list of positive features of Segovia: “the quantity of endless running or walking paths, the light that falls on the Alcazar and the Cathedral at sunset, the pure air in the city, and the fact that everything is so close to hand.”  The young Uruguayan also draws attention to the tranquility of the city, the friendliness of its residents, and its familiar and welcoming atmosphere.  In addition, meeting up with friends on the weekend and going for tapas and Sangria is one of Guzmán’s favorite things about Segovia.  Guzmán Noya: proof that it’s possible to be a humanitarian entrepreneur.