Kellogg’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award Co-Recipient on His Startup, ProfeJOBS
Each year, a Kellogg student receives the Kellogg Social Entrepreneurship Award student to use their business knowledge to make a positive social impact, with seed funding and organizational support to develop a social venture post-graduation. This year, there were two recipients! Hear from Santiago Ugarte Vial (1Y, 2021) about his entrepreneurship path and his venture, ProfeJOBS.
Tell us about your career journey leading up to Kellogg. Have you always been interested in social entrepreneurship?
After my undergrad, I devoted myself to Finance and IB for a couple of years. There, I learned fundamental knowledge necessary to become a more structured entrepreneur.
Then, I dedicated myself full-time to a new venture, which was an academy I had launched during my undergrad. This academy prepares 300 students every year for their applications to University in Chile. To be honest, I never saw this company as a way to make a social impact. However, being the CEO, I launched a plan to give scholarships to 50-70 students annually due to social or academic reasons. Under this plan, several students have received perfect scores in their admission tests, have ranked within the first decile. or have received scholarships for their undergrads. This was my first contribution to social impact.
After some years, I finally enrolled in a product manager position for Chilean retailer Falabella Group, where I had the opportunity to learn how technology can accelerate the transformation of markets and societies.
Tell us about your startup.
In parallel to a Kellogg MBA, I launched ProfeJOBS, a job board focused solely on education. Through this job board, schools, preschools and academies can post job opportunities for teachers, who in turn receive notifications when those opportunities match their interests.
Schools in Chile face an annual turnover of teachers of 24%, which is problematic for schools, students and teachers themselves. Therefore, our mission is to help LatAm teachers find their ideal jobs, with a goal of adding as much information as possible about schools so that teachers can make better decisions. As many teachers lack the preparation to be hired for their ideal jobs, we also guide them to take postgraduate courses recommended by our community of recruiters.
In our first 10 months, we have built a community of over 13,000 teachers and over 200 schools in Chile. We are glad to say that dozens of teachers have found a new job thanks to ProfeJOBS, and we are making recruiters’ lives easier!
How did your venture develop at Kellogg?
Since my first month, I received a lot of feedback from different faculty members, including Linda Darragh, Karin O’Connor, Mohan Sawhney and Megan Kashner. Great ideas came from their opinions. Kellogg also supported me with funding from the Social Impact Track, something that was very helpful to hire people to build our MVP.
I also took many classes that were very insightful for the project, such as Customer Analytics, Entrepreneurial Finance and Venture Capital, and Product Management for Technology Companies.
Additionally, I hope that building friendships with classmates from other Latin American countries will help us to scale the business in the future.
Finally, winning the KSIA was something that helped us not only to fund part of the project, but also to raise our pre-seed round.
As co-recipient of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, how will this award advance your venture?
This award helped us in three directions: first, it provided resources to hire a couple of people; second, it gave us visibility among investors to raise our pre-seed round; and third and most importantly, this award validated ProfeJOBS as a company that not only can be profitable, but also can make a huge social impact in LatAm.
What’s next for you and your venture post-Kellogg?
After the KSIA and our pre-seed round, we hired a full-time team of six people. Our first two months working together have been outstanding, closing over 10 subscriber schools. We also hired a digital marketing agency with which we are boosting our community of teachers (over 13,000 to date) and schools (over 200) who are trying our free version. Our plan is to consolidate the Chilean market in the first semester of 2022, and to begin our scale to a second country of LatAm during the next year.
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