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Interview: “Rewarding ideas and young talent is the best way of being socially responsible”

Mar Villora, second year student of a Combined Degree in Law and Business Administration/Economics at the University Pompeu Fabra. Aged just 19 she has already won the Premio UPFEmprèn Idea 2016 for her business idea ‘Compiso’, a services cooperative to improve the quality of life of senior people. The award is supported by Banco Sabadell Foundation with the objective of strengthening the creativity and talent of young people.

By receiving the Premio UPFEmprèn Idea 2016, does this mean that “Compiso” is a step closer to becoming a reality?

Of course, it is extremely positive feedback for all the work carried out by my team and myself. It does not only mean that “Compiso” can be considered as one step closer to becoming tangible, but it is also an effective way of aligning our interests in generating social value and helping society to enrich itself in an innovative and efficient manner.

Could this project be transformed into a new style of living together?

We are fully convinced that it can, because it is an idea which serves genuine necessities. It is aimed at senior people who face common problems due to their age. These people need company, they are looking to have fun and a certain level of economic independence. In the same way, the project also adapts to their families, who want to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Therefore, we cover the demands of an essential sector in society, creating an easier and improved way of living together. Living together reduces contamination, and from a social aspect, it lends support to interaction between similar persons.

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Mar Villora durante el acto de entrega del Premio UPFEmprèn Idea 2016 el pasado jueves 24 de noviembre.

How did you think of this idea?

The original idea came from a programme in which I participated, which combined teaching values, cultural exchange and adventure, but which, above all, is an experience which seeks out social, education and environmental commitment, with the objective of reflecting on and making contributions to some of today’s current challenges, such as social exclusion, large transformations in the environment and the personal promotion of capability and entrepreneurial skills. We developed the project during July in Mexico, led by Initland, the company responsible for the Programa de Emprendimiento Social [Social Entrepreneurship Program].

How do you imagine the daily life of the people in “Compiso”?

The main idea of Compiso is to carry out clear and cultural activities to create contact between persons who share similar interests, leading to good relationships. Based on this, the growing problem of loneliness is resolved, by sharing a property with other people who find themselves in the same situation. Their day to day lives will be that of an independent person who is having fun, and without doubt, in an environment in which they feel right at home.

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From left to right: Sonia Mulero, Assistant Director of Banco Sabadell Foundation; Josep Bergadá, project finalist “Pocket Piano”; Mar Villora, winner of the Premio UPFEmprèn Idea 2016; Nuria Basi, Chair of the Consejo Social [Social Board] of the UPF; Jaume Casals, rector of the UPF.

How would you evaluate entities such as Banco Sabadell Foundation and UPF who reward ideas and the talent of young persons?

I think it is the best way of being socially responsible, as it does not only generate benefits for the world in which we live, yet also for those people who work to achieve their goals. Without doubt, this is the management model which stands out the most today, and it is being defined at an international level hand in hand with entities who have these profiles.

What would you say to young people, such as yourself, who have an idea or a project but still haven’t taken steps towards making it a reality?

My main recommendation is, even though they are training in their respective fields, that they should make all the contributions that they can to create socially sustainable projects which respond to real needs and improve our society. Definitively, that they should contribute with all of the social value in their reach and that they should not be afraid to make mistakes.