Maria Gracia Panduro Valencia Business School

"The i3 Centre team provided professional and very useful entrepreneurship workshops.  They put me in touch with mentors who guided me through the key stages of business planning for my social enterprise."  

Maria Gracia Panduro Valencia
International Business with French, BA Hons

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Why did you decide to study at Greenwich?

University of Greenwich offers an International business with French degree which helps the student to have a better international and professional experience through choosing Erasmus+ and work placement programme within the four years degree.

The degree I chose drove me to follow the steps forward in terms to take more actions to learn about business. Personally, it encourages and motivates me every single day to expand my studies into reality in different countries, where I can learn more the business culture in each different country and its languages.

My first experience at Greenwich was at an Open Day and I received really good information about the programme and the opportunities I could get from that.

Why did you study international business with French?

I chose international business with French to gain a professional and academic knowledge and experience in the business sector at a global level. As well as learning a new language is fundamental in business to be able to network with other people in different languages.

Tell us about your part-time work for Unicef and Save the Children?

On several occasions I worked for fundraising events as a volunteer and for A21 Campaign - against human trafficking. I volunteered as a English Teacher in Ecuador (Quito) and by giving talks to increase awareness about human trafficking. 
I used to study media, something completely different and worked as a photographer for fashion companies. Yet, when I started working in a different charity, private and public sectors with more business related responsibilities, this gave me the drive to explore studying international business.

What is the Greenwich Social Enterprise competition?

The Greenwich Social Enterprise competition has been one of the best competitions I've ever participated at University.

It was my new pathway to becoming a social entrepreneur and building my skills and capability throughout the whole academic year. They offered us professional entrepreneurship workshops and training before the competition.

They also connected me with mentors who supported and guided me for my social business plan. This also helped me to apply for a social entrepreneurship summer internship called 'Social Impact' organised by the British Council Canada to take further professional steps in social innovation for my social venture in the USA and Canada.

Tell us about your social venture?

My social venture is called Nuna Peru which aims to support and empower rural Artisans women in Peru through education and business training. We have a sales programme which provides hand-crafted alpaca products made by them to sell to global customers.

The idea came up when I travelled to Peru and I saw the need of Artisans trying to sell alpaca products to survive, and how child labour is a negative consequence of poverty in these rural areas in Peru. That was the moment when I realised, I had to do something about it and to be the voice of these people.

I received the second price for the Greenwich Social Enterprise Competition 2016 and was given £1,500 to start up my social enterprise.

How do you organise yourself and find time?

Your goals in your life are what drives you forward. Having a dream becomes a new goal in your life and you will do anything to achieve that. That's when you learn to make priorities first and become more organised in terms to set short and long goals alongside.

 I would advise to read personal development books and follow a weekly personal/business plan.

I highly recommend to attend as many events as you can to network with people in the area you want to learn more. From experience, that was the best way for me to meet mentors, investors, friends.. who inspired, guided and supported me for my social enterprise goals.

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