Bolivian Delegation Tours Accelerate

June 29, 2015

The Bolivian group

The Bolivian group featured members of companies representing app development, aircraft service, and the creation of natural soaps, among others.

The visit came to fruition after Mallory McCoy, manager of citizen diplomacy programs for WorldBoston contacted Monique Fuchs, associate vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship at Wentworth. WorldBoston is a nonprofit that works in conjunction with the U.S. State Department to foster engagement and collaboration in international affairs.

The Bolivian group featured members of companies representing app development, aircraft service, and the creation of natural soaps, among others.

“They truly are an exceptional group that is doing great work on advancing entrepreneurship in South America,” McCoy said of the delegation.

Fuchs noted that Wentworth provides a unique insight as Accelerate builds innovative thinking and entrepreneurial confidence within maker spaces. This build takes place as part of interdisciplinary immersions internally and externally, but also through the integration of design thinking, business planning, and product creation—all items in which the Bolivian group expressed interest.

“We’re very interested in impacting an individual’s career trajectory and giving them the tools and competencies to succeed personally while impacting business environments and communities on a larger scale,” said Fuchs.

Greg Affsa, BIND ’15, was on hand to meet the group and show them around the innovation and entrepreneurship center and maker space areas. Affsa also discussed his own startup, Gentoo.

“It was remarkable how similar some of their programs are to some of ours,” he said. “But they let us know that they need more guidance in Bolivia and that entrepreneurship is a new experience for many of them.”

He also noted that the visitors were hoping to broaden their exposure to STEM during the trip and learn more of Accelerate’ s commitment to the local community and civic innovation initiatives. Affsa shared successes on the topics of the College ThinkTank Boston and the Social Innovation Lab. Both formats resonated tremendously with the group, Affsa said, and started the ideation on how they could be transported to Bolivia.

Affsa, who communicated to the group through an English translator, noted that it was the first visit to Boston for most of the group.

“We’re very interested in making connections and spreading the Accelerate spirit,” he said. “How cool would it be to send a Social Innovation Lab student to Bolivia and have one of their students come here or launch the Bolivian version of a College ThinkTank? I think this visit was inspiring for both sides.”

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