Updated May 24, 2019

Marcela Torres

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An integration solution for migrants (returnees, deportees, and refugees) through education in technology, access to high demand employment, and financial inclusion.

Our program is on campus, immersive--it lasts 5 months, six days a week, from 9am to 8pm--and it combines three curricula designed for the specific needs of our students: 1) Software engineering: a comprehensive curriculum that takes a person from 0 to full stack software engineering with JavaScript. 2) Leadership Curriculum: provides learning and educational tools to people who had no access t...
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Our program is on campus, immersive--it lasts 5 months, six days a week, from 9am to 8pm--and it combines three curricula designed for the specific needs of our students: 1) Software engineering: a comprehensive curriculum that takes a person from 0 to full stack software engineering with JavaScript. 2) Leadership Curriculum: provides learning and educational tools to people who had no access to further education. 3) Wellness Curriculum: strengthens socioemotional skills, provides psychological support and focuses on community building (social capital). The whole program also supports financial inclusion. We open their first bank account and transfer in a weekly stipend, ensuring they can focus on becoming the best software engineers possible. Additionally, we provide three meals a day and daycare for students who are parents. We’ve built a network of over 100 hiring partners interested in hiring the emerging talent from Holacode. Our graduates’ income increases dramatically; they make up to 10x what they earned before the program, which radically transforms their lives and their families' lives. Our tuition is based on success. This means that our students pay their tuition and stipend once they secure a job in tech. They acquire a loan through one of our financial partners; the loan has very low interest rates and it is the first loan they acquire in Mexico, allowing them to build a credit history to fulfill their financial inclusion.
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Stage 3: Proof of Concept

We proved the model worked in 2018, with our first two cohorts. We're currently on the third cohort and raising funds to scale up in Mexico and throughout Latin America.

Focus Areas:

Education and Technology

Education and TechnologySEE LESS

Implemented In:

Mexico

MexicoSEE LESS

49
Lives Impacted to Date
1
Country Implemented In
71
Customers
15
Employees

Problem

There is an unprecedented rate of forced migration into Mexico and migrants face myriad obstacles to integration. Upon arrival in Mexico, a young migrant is exposed to marginalization and can easily fall into poverty traps. Migrants are unable to access formal-sector jobs, enroll in university due to numerous bureaucratic obstacles or lack of funds; they lack access to loans, face language and cultural barriers, a deficit of social capital and they also face discrimination and criminalization.

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Solution

As Mexico’s migrant population rises, the tech sector in Mexico is also booming. Local companies are scrambling to find skilled English-speaking, adaptable, autonomous software developers. We see endless potential in the migrant community for the tech sector: resilience, adaptability, language and transferable skills, and a great capacity for problem solving. So, we built a program specifically for young migrants to radically transform their lives, their communities and the tech sector.

Target Beneficiaries

Young migrants: 1) Economically and politically displaced bilingual and bicultural migrants, ages 18-35, who were born in Mexico but taken to the US as toddlers and raised there ("Dreamers"). They have returned to Mexico voluntarily or involuntarily. 2) Refugees granted asylum in Mexico between the ages of 18-35, seeking opportunities to integrate in Mexico.

Mission and Vision

Mission: To integrate migrants through education in technology, financial inclusion, and access to high-demand employment. We envision a world in which every young returnee, deportee and refugee can dream a bolder future, by accessing the opportunities that have been denied to them using education in technology. A world in which technology is also built by migrant voices that bring us diversity, new perspectives, prosperity and unity.

Competitive Advantage

The primary alternative to Holacode is the formal education sector. Nevertheless, it is very difficult for our students to gain access to higher education in Mexico, given the barriers to validating their U.S. educational credentials, language and cultural barriers, and lack of credit history. In addition, only one semester of a 9-semester bachelor’s degree at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, the premier university for engineering in Mexico, costs about the same as Holacode’s entire program. Although there are government programs and nonprofits serving the migrant community in Mexico, they mostly offer basic services (food, shelter, help with documents, legal assistance). Some offer English teacher-training or referrals to call center jobs, but we're the only innovation preparing migrants for high-demand tech careers in Mexico.

Planned Goals and Milestones

We plan to scale up and reach migrants all over Mexico and Latin America in the next five years. There are 10 million migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the United Nations, and countries in the region have poor infrastructure for integrating them. In 2020, we plan to open a new center in Tijuana; 19% of deportees to Mexico land in Tijuana and the city is home to thousands of refugees as well. After that, we hope to expand to Guatemala, Honduras, and Colombia.
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted11
New Implemented CountriesGuatemala, Colombia, Honduras

The Team Behind the Innovation

Marcela Torres, CEO/Co-Founder, has 10 years of experience in social development work & project management in London and Mexico City. Scott Yoon, CTO, studied statistics at Berkeley and has worked at several companies as a software engineer. Etziba Alvarez, Head of Recruitment & Admissions, is part of the 1.5 generation in the limbo, legally Mexican but raised "the American way." Cornellius Ngondo, Cohort Lead, has a BA in Mathematics and Computer Science and previously worked at Moringa School.

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN AND YOUTH

Milestone

Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Jan 2018
New Country Implemented In
Mexico
Nov 2017
Created