Maria Del Mar Velez

Who is she?

Maria Del Mar Velez is a social entrepreneur. Originally from Colombia, she worked a major part of her career in the US at J.P. Morgan. Despite her successful career in finance, she decided to give her idea a try. Back then, she realized how huge the demand for developers in the workplace. However, Peru stayed far behind in terms of young talents on the market. This is why she founded Crack the Code. The social company aims to provide coding skills to young Peruvians to narrow the education gap in Peru.

Her entrepreneurial adventure.

When Maria Del Mar Velez arrived in Peru, she did not have any clue neither about entrepreneurship nor about the country itself. She turned this challenge into her strength. Maria forced herself to meet people every week to network with. By working through recommendations, she managed to build a strong network. A network which was very helpful when it came to hire a team.

She often realized that entrepreneurship was a solo journey. But when she looked at partnering with a co-founder, it turned out to be the hardest challenge she met. She confides that her idea was copied and she faced hard competition at the beginning of the adventure. However, time showed that competition led her to be more focused on her competitive advantage and her service, the key to her success today. Maria explains that her team is her “co-founder” now. Sharing successes and failures together and sharing the same interest: improving young Peruvians skills in coding for a better access to market in the future.

Her advices to entrepreneurs.

> The core of your project is your team. If you make your team happy, you will have a better chance to reach your goal.
> You don’t have to stick to your original education, life is made of change and it doesn’t mean you are no made for it.
> A willingness to impact the society and to make profits is compatible.
> When you face competition, focus on your competitive advantage.

Go to the next interview: Janine in South Africa