Elevate-ing People with Down Syndrome

PabloPablo Amaya didn’t love working in the bank. He had pursued a business degree and MBA before returning to El Salvador where he worked in a bank.  With the support of his father, Pablo came to UWaterloo to do a Masters in Business Entrepreneurship and Technology.

When he had to start a venture as part of this program, he thought about his sister who has Down syndrome, and the challenges she faced in becoming independent. He decided to launch Elevate, a game-based learning platform that provides individuals with intellectual disabilities the necessary tools to become productive members of society.

He was awarded a Big Ideas Challenge Fellowship to come to GreenHouse this summer. Pablo says,

“GreenHouse has added a lot to my education. My business background focused on for-profit, and I never really understood about social entrepreneurship. I didn’t realize that there was funding out there to support ventures like mine.”

This month, Pablo is the recipient and winner of Accessibility Directorate of Ontario $5,000 entrepreneurship award. Thanks to GreenHouse funds, he is also about to have several co-op students join Elevate to develop the platform that will test their concept, as well as a platform for parents and a webpage.

GreenHouse has helped Pablo make connections with various advisors and partners, and with his co-founder, Karina. He is also grateful for training and for the encouragement to actually get a prototype into the world.

Pablo’s family is excited about his venture. His mother who is very aware of the need for such a platform is proud of what she calls a noble cause.

Pablo is more excited to watch the venture grow than he was to work at the bank.

“There’s a lot more ambiguity and responsibilities. I am excited about the opportunities to put these ideas into action.”

- by Susan Fish

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