On Leading Change: Hacking Stereotypes

Mariana Costa co-founded Laboratoria, a training academy that teaches beginner coding to youth. Listen to her entrepreneurial journey and more about her business model.

October 17, 2016

Mariana Costa co-founded Laboratoria, a training academy that teaches beginner coding to youth. Mariana has also been recognized by MIT as one of the most innovative people in Peru under 35. She was 1 of 3 entrepreneurs on a panel at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit with U.S. President Barack Obama and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. This is no ordinary training academy.

Laboratoria is a social enterprise that teaches young women from low-income backgrounds how to code and connects them with employment opportunities. More importantly, through their mission, CEO Mariana and her team at Laboratoria have shown that it is possible to teach a young woman, without the best educational and financial circumstances, to code and earn a job in a matter of monthsThese students go on to double or even triple their incomes on a sustained basis. Their success is also helping to break down many real and perceived barriers for women in technology. 

As of 2016, Laboratoria has trained 400 coders and placed 70% of them. They operate in Peru, Chile and Mexico and have grand plans for expansion. In the current job market, being tech-savvy is essentially a pre-requisite. Sadly, large percentages of disadvantaged populations, especially girls, are unable to gain the right skillset to participant in the workforce. What Laboratoria has accomplished is not only life-changing for their students, but is also inspiring for thousands as they watch women from their communities break stereotypes.

Preparing young women from disadvantaged backgrounds for tech jobs requires more than just training them in the latest coding skills. Mariana has learned many lessons in her entrepreneurial journey. In this week’s podcast we delve into:

  • How she got started
  • How she gets the young women job ready when they are often the first in their family to set foot in an office
  • And Laboratoria’s emerging business model

Laboratoria is looking to test remote job placements for some of their coders. If you are in need of a junior front-end web developer and willing to work with one of the inspiring graduates from Laboratoria, please reach out here.


Our thanks to volunteer sound engineer: Wu Shan

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