Gonzalo Parra - start-up entrepreneur in the health sector

Peru, as a developing country, has very limited access to high-quality education. Getting access to it requires several factors to come together and, with limited economic means, it is even harder to access it, no matter how hard people try.

In my case, due to our financial situation, there was a time when we could not afford university costs anymore. We were in debt and I was about to leave my studies to get underemployed to support my family. In Peru, underemployment is stagnation. It is so time consuming and has such low wages that it is impossible to follow any educational activity at the same time. Saving money of it is neither an option.

Luckily for me, I got the scholarship from Fundación Educación just before I was about to leave my studies. Since then, a lot has changed for the better. Not only was I able to continue my studies, but it opened the doors for even bigger things. First, I got funded for an exchange program at the Leibniz University of Hanover. Once in Germany, opportunities kept appearing: RWTH Aachen admitted me to transfer from PUCP and continue my studies there. So, I moved to Germany.

Now, seven years after that first flight to Hanover, so much in my life has changed. I made friends from all over the world and graduated in B.Sc. and M.Sc. from RWTH Aachen. I had the opportunity to work at very interesting projects and companies I never thought I would be part of.

For example, I worked for 2 years with a full-replacement artificial heart at the Aachen University Hospital as part of a European Union’s initiative. After that project, I moved to Berlin to get in touch with the European startup ecosystem, where I worked for relayr Inc., an industrial automation startup. In 2018, it was acquired by Munich RE for 300 million dollars. I was very lucky to work together with world-class talent.

After these experiences, in 2018, together with two friends, we started Vintus. Vintus develops dynamic office workstations, since lower back pain is the number 1 cause of sick days in Germany. Nowadays, Vintus keeps improving prototypes and plans to go to market in the fall of 2020. And now, in the fall of 2019, I am starting my own technology consultancy, and I hope to grow through it as well.

As you can see, thanks to the scholarship, but also to mother Bertha's advice, I have been able to make important decisions in crucial moments. Today, I am relieved to say that my family is doing much better than before, the scholarship has been fully reimbursed and I don't lack opportunities in Germany. None of this would have been possible without such an important support at the time. I can hardly express how grateful I am for the opportunity I received, and I will keep responding according to the trust I received from the foundation and from my family. Thus, it is my plan to return to Peru in the near future to use all my resources and knowledge to address the unattended areas of my region.