Mexican startup Hola Code has been chosen by the IFC and the World Bank as one of the top 50 startups changing Latin America.
Co-founded and directed by Marcela Torres, the company uses a technology education program to hep with the employment of migrants who return to Mexico.
Within this group are young people from Mexico between the ages of 18 and 35 who grew up in the United States and are back in the country voluntarily or involuntarily.
“We decided to create a bridge for these bilingual, bi-cultural, and incredibly talented young people to find a different life of opportunity in Mexico,” said Torres.
Hola Code works with a methodology called Hack Reactor from Silicon Valley, which has been modeled and tropicalized for students in Mexico. The program lasts five months and currently work with the first generation of programmers who are already creating full stack applications.
Torres sees the importance of working with return migrants living in conditions of extreme vulnerability. They typically arrive in Mexico not knowing the country, alone, with no Spanish skills, and without the social capital or support network to help them in their rehabilitation process.
“The country is not prepared either institutionally or socially for this new wave of migration that we are receiving,” she said. “We should not see it as a problem, but as an area of opportunity where fascinating things could be generated. There are many people who could create technology but they don’t, because don’t they think they can. We invite them to do our admission exam to identify if they are potential programmers.”
The bootcamp has no cost, but the students have to return the tuition fees to Hola Code when they find a job in technology, allowing the start up to offer the program to more people.
“We are allied with companies that are looking for bilingual engineers in software development. Here, they have a hotbed of programmers,” said Torres.
Hola Code is located in Mexico City, where there is the largest concentration of migrants returning from the US, but there are also refugees from the south. The idea is to reach different states such as Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana, and Chihuahua, as well as broader Latin America.