For giving Latinas access to careers in technology—and added economic power
When Mariana Costa Checa was looking to launch a software company in her native Perú, she knew recruiting a diverse team could give her a competitive edge. But the talent market for software engineers was decidedly homogenous, consisting almost exclusively of men. So Costa Checa pivoted from her original startup and developed Laboratoria, a six-month, 1,000-hour bootcamp that trains women in areas like software development and user experience design—and then connects them to job opportunities.
Since Laboratoria’s 2014 launch, more than 2,000 women have graduated from the program, and nearly 80 percent of those graduates have been hired for tech jobs—on average, pulling in three times more than they were earning in previous jobs. It’s the kind of career revamp that can break generational cycles of poverty and exclusion, says Costa Checa.
The positive social impact she’s creating now extends beyond the borders of Perú. With funding from heavy hitters like Google and Citi Foundation, Laboratoria has scaled to open training centers in Chile, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia.
Advice to My (Even) Younger Self
We asked the Future 50: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Keep going. There were many times along the journey where I questioned whether I should keep going. The cost was high, it was hard, everything felt uphill. But if it’s something we’re passionate about, if we’re creative enough to find solutions to the problems we encounter, we can keep going. —Mariana Costa Checa