We have all heard the political conversations around the walls, borders and policies. Activities, community groups, and politicians all fall on different sides of the spectrum about solutions and opinions.
But even as walls are contemplated by some, there are opportunities arising. These opportunities are borderless, because the internet is leveling the playing field. The internet is providing people of all ages, races and genders the chance to build something and make real money doing what they value. This opportunity is manifesting more and more on the border between Mexico and the United States. Put simply, entrepreneurship on the southern border is happening, in spite of walls or borders, and with or without policies to encourage it.
Through a combination of co-working spaces and national and international events, progress is happening every day.
One such effort was a two-day, bi-national event called RESET. In partnership with Transtelco, Fundación Axcel, Tech Hub, Blacklabs and other 60 international sponsors, the event brought together thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs, students and leadership experts for learning, sharing and networking. Symbolic of the border-based collaboration, these partners live and work between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas, where the event was held.
Carlos Castaneda, CEO of Blacklabs and one of the founders of RESET, shared some relevant online and offline insights about entrepreneurship on the border.
“Technology is changing rapidly, and we have no choice but to keep up with it,” Castaneda said. "Robots, artificial intelligence and virtual reality are all here. But for entrepreneurs on the border, in addition to learning the technological skills required, soft skills like networking, emotional intelligence, negotiation and personal branding are also critical, and educational systems are not preparing students for the real and current trend and challenges of our time."
The conference was a perfect representation of modern technology, the future of business and the internationalization of entrepreneurship.
In the morning, I listened to Jody Medich, director of design at Singularity University speak about becoming a "superhero." I then left the room to learn about creative process from the Marvel man himself, Joe Rubinstein. I finished my morning by learning the ins and outs of a brand story creation from CEO of Thinktopia, Patrick Hanlon. The afternoon was jam-packed with empowering stories from Martha Edith Hernandez, international speaker and author of “How I Stopped My Slow Suicide,” where she focused on the importance of mental health and wellness. The National Geographic Explorer Guillermo de Anda taught us about exploration and getting out of comfort zones. The day concluded with a panel from inspiring leaders like Maria Fernanda Gandara, founder of the Millenia Group and Griselda Gomez, the lead of the MIT-Mexico program. More than 3,000 young entrepreneurs benefited from such messages, and the day concluded with a stunning piano performance from Daniela Liebman, one of the 40 most creative Mexicans in the world, according to Forbes.
After an evening of crossing the border, day two was spent in El Paso, Texas, where 500 students and many media channels assembled for more conversations about virtual reality, blockchain and robotics with Juan del Cerro, the founder of Disruptivo TV, and Salvador Chacon, founder and CEO at FAScomedy.
After serving thousands of students and entrepreneurs, Carlos had a concluding talk with me. He was excited about the technology, knowledge and content but still concerned. He wanted to make sure he took setting the students up for success to another level. He wanted to know what he could do to train them to deal with the real-life business occurrences. How do you deal with rejection, get up from a loss, collaborate, build teams, treat people well?
Carlos wanted RESET to be more than a technology event. He aspired to train the next generation to be ready for technology, mindset and humanity. He wanted to build a mindset that empowered its participants. The intention to change mindset multiplies, one young leader at a time, by leveraging action today, tomorrow and the day after that.
RESET is the future of entrepreneurship south of the border. It is a future unchained from fear, barriers and localization to achieve abundance, collaboration and a prosperous global economy -- from north to south.