Bolivian Entrepreneur Uses Web Content Management Skills to Found a Start-Up


- Eduardo Lozada

Term : January, 2013
Department : Business and Management
Program : Web Content Management

Eduardo Lozada came to the United States from Bolivia with the goal of completing a business and technology certificate in less than a year. He had already completed a B.S. in business and had dreams of founding a start-up in his home country, and could not think of a better place to develop skills in Web Content Management than UCSC Extension's unique certificate program.

“I was hoping to get the fundamentals for a non-technical business professional to begin a start-up company,” he writes in an e-mail from Bolivia, where he has since returned to plant the seeds for his new venture. “UCSC is a great university and I was very happy to find that it had available more than one certificate related to my interests.”

Lozada appreciated the program’s dual focus on technical Web skills and project management.

“I really loved the Entrepreneurship: The Making of a New Venture course. It cleared a lot of my questions about starting a new venture, especially in the technology field. I learned not only the requirements but also a lot about the mindset an entrepreneur needs in order to succeed.

“I also learned the basics for creating and developing a Web site, including languages like HTML and CSS, which have been very helpful in order not to be completely lost while working with developers. I learned a lot not only at UCSC but also living in Silicon Valley, going to conferences, talking to people who [recommended] books I should read which have been very helpful, such as The Lean Startup.

The collaborative nature of Extension classes appealed to him as well because he felt surrounded by resources. As he says of the Project Leadership course, “I already knew some of the content, however, since the class was taken in Silicon Valley, I had a lot of interaction with my classmates, who were working in technology businesses and their experiences and stories enriched the class a lot for me.”

He also recommends User Centered Design Fundamentals for the Web course. The class shed light on the user perspective, something he says “has really helped me in my start-up; it showed me the importance of testing wireframes with people from day one.”

After completing some courses, Lozada returned to Bolivia, found a business partner, and together they have begun developing their start-up. They released a Web application in November 2012 to gather user feedback and planned to launch the 1.0 version of their product in 2013. Lozada says that he relies on the knowledge he learned at UCSC Extension at work.

“The [skills I learned in the] entrepreneurship class have been very useful for understanding how to create a business from scratch and to know that for a business to be profitable it takes some time. I have been using what I learned about 'User Experience' since day one in our wireframes,” he writes. “I know we are just two people right now but still I have been using what I learned about Project Leadership and Management to plan, to work focused on our goals, and to keep us motivated.”

Lozada acknowledges the challenges he faces as the founder of a young technology start-up in Bolivia.

“The first challenge is that we live in a country that is not really developed. About 9% of people have access to the Internet, and [even fewer] have mobile Web access.” He sees this as a potential advantage, however; as a Web pioneer he has fewer competitors to contend with, and he and his partner have fewer risks when trying out new products before moving on to bigger markets. Lozada’s plan, once their product is tested as successful, is to bring their company to Silicon Valley. He encourages aspiring developers and business professionals to take full advantage of the amenities offered in the region.

“Try to make the best of Silicon Valley when you are there; it's a great place to learn and most people are really great and collaborative. If they see you take your work and dreams for real, most people are always willing to help. [It’s] an incredible atmosphere.”

Visit our Web Content Management program page to learn more about UCSC Extension’s unique offerings. For information on services and programs for international students, please visit our International Programs pageBrowse upcoming Web Content Management courses.

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