Talent on the Move is an open-source program that empowers the vulnerable youth to prosper through entrepreneurship and technology.



We focus on democratizing the way vulnerable populations learn, connect, and venture into creating businesses, hence jobs, prosperity, as well as human and economic development. This way, the Program empowers young people facing unfavourable economic or social conditions to access education and develop competencies to pursue a career on entrepreneurship.

Initially we will focus on “Dreamers” and Returnees, between 18 and 35 years old, who grew up in the US and have returned to Mexico either voluntarily or by deportations. They speak fluent English, have Internet access, and, live in Mexico City and surrounding areas.

Our goal is to develop, package, and execute an open-source methodology to enable Dreamers and Returnees to be integrated into the Mexican startup ecosystem. The Program will be a replicable and scalable model, so that organizations in different geographies can replicate it and adapt it with their local communities and ecosystems.

It was designed through a Design Sprint, a human-centered design process in which all stakeholders were present. This included nonprofits, entrepreneurs, business accelerators, academic institutions, Google experts, Dreamers and Returnees themselves, and other dedicated professionals who work on tackling immigration issues.

We took our initial findings and learned by sharing prototypes with potential ‘Users’, Dreamers at high-risk of being deported. Finally, we took our learnings and validations to design the Program as it is today.

The program works around 6 components that, provide a replicable open-source framework to build a healthy and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem for displaced groups anywhere the world. The components are:

1 IDENTIFY individuals at the right moment,

2 CONNECT them through local communities,

3 TRAIN young people in technology and startup launching,

4 FUND early stage startups,

5 CELEBRATE learning, accomplishment, and entrepreneurs throughout, and

6 ENABLE Public Policy to support ever stronger ecosystems.

What are the key outcomes and impact of your solution?

Our moonshot goal is to detonate a global network of inclusive ecosystems, which foster economic and human development through entrepreneurship and technology. This represents an unprecedented opportunity to create a sustainable and scalable solution that focuses on fostering entrepreneurship ecosystems for displaced people while triggering positive human impact through the creation of new enterprises.


  • Implement our program so to improve it and make it as sound as possible.

  • Package an educational program and products so that they can scale and be used in additional markets (Central America, Brazil, Colombia, China, and the Philippines etc).

Initial Metrics: As we go into the design phase (initial 3-to-6 months), we’ll be able to define our metrics and set targets for them.

  • # of Returnees attending community meetups

  • # of Returnees enrolled in our community and courses

  • % of all Returnees as part of Centraal’s community

  • % of Returnees with jobs in our community

  • # of startups launched by Returnees in our community

  • # of jobs created by startups founded by Returnees

  • # of jobs taken by Returnees in our community


We believe that together we can create better solutions. That is why we is open-source for anyone to adopt and improve. Also, it is low-tech by design; so that anyone with a smartphone can access its digital content or, obtain a physical toolkit through our multi-stakeholder Partner Network, multiplying the number of options and paths for Returnees and Dreamers.


A key deliverable is the packaging of the design process and individual programs into “Playbooks”, so that these can be replicated to serve other excluded populations on the move. This is quite unlike most traditional entrepreneurship programs, which try to include underrepresented groups into their existing programs and focus too heavily on creating short-term financial value for investors.




— Financial sustainability

The program is designed to have different income streams to attain financial sustainability:

  • Job Board: Companies sponsor the Job Board and pay to post job offerings. Through these jobs, Returnees can attain financial stability while continuing with their training.

  • Learning Materials: For the majority of Returnees who cannot be part of the first pilot program, all learning material will be made available for free. Later on, these materials could be made accessible through a Membership Program.

  • Niche Media Channel: Our celebration process has as core a media channel that will concentrate all information the Returnees niche which is growing everyday.

  • Returnee Program Contributions: As the Program evolves and renders fruits, we expect high involvement from Graduate Returnees and Dreamers, who can later on can contribute back, both financially and in kind.

— Sustainability in the Approach

The scalability can be adapted to different needs of people on the move (migrants, refugees, internally displaced, or rural to urban migration), on a regional-level in a myriad of regions.

What actions do you propose to realize your stated goals?


Offering jobs and softlanding guidance


  1. Returnee guidance


Along with jobs, Returnees will find a “Returnee Guide” with all the information they need to have a better and easier entry and adaptation to Mexico.  All the content in the Guide will be available in printed form and online, the former being distributed through the Partner Network, while the latter will be fully developed by the Team.  In addition, the online version will include long-tail keyword content based on the information that Returnees currently search for.  It is critical to provide important information before, during, and after a deportation can take place.


To generate awareness for both print and digital versions, we will collaborate with a) local non-profits (such as Dream in Mexico), b) The City University of New York, and c) Mexican Consulates in the U.S..  On a second round, we will connect with other relevant stakeholders in Mexico, such as academic organizations, corporations in search of talent, as well as other Government Entities -national and international- designing similar initiatives to tackle this problem.


Key Activities:

  • Draft a Customer Journey for Dreamers and Returnees to understand better their needs every step of the way.

  • Reach out to Mexican Consulates, non-profits, and relevant U.S. Government entities to carry out primary and secondary research to gather all relevant content for Returnees, before, during, and after a deportation has taken place.

  • Plan and start developing “Talent on the Move” Partner Network.

  • Design and develop both versions of the Guide book (Spanish and English).



A digital and physical Guide book with guidance to all the legal and social processes a Returnee should consider to have a seamless integration to Mexican Society.


  1. Job Board

To identify Returnees before they even arrive to Mexican territory, we will develop a Job Board focused on the skills at which Returnees excel.  Skills such as -but not limited to- American culture and the English language.  These jobs are meant to provide initial income and training.  This way Returnees can continue advancing their career paths to either a tech-based business or to kickstart their own ventures.


While one of the main goals of the program is to create fundable startups, offering jobs and soft-landing is one of the most efficient ways to capture the attention of most of the Returnee population.  Furthermore, by making sure that their most basic needs are taken care of, we can avoid some of the foreseeable stress they will face once in Mexico.  Finally the Job Board will enable us to provide a revenue stream to support the Program’s sustainability.


Key Activities:  

  • Reach potential of funding and commercial partners to kick-off the Job Board.

  • Promote amongst potential clients the Job Board as the most effective channel to acquire Returnee talent.

  • Reach out to nonprofits, Consulates and partners in the U.S. to promote the Job Board as the first option to look for a job in Mexico.



A self-sustainable online Job Board for Returnees, which will provide a first point of identification and contact with other Returnees in Mexico.



Through a Returnee community


As we discovered through the Design Sprint, the first need Returnees need to satisfy upon arrival is the sense of belonging. This is why we are creating a Community of Returnees, both offline through monthly meetups at Centraal and online through an ad hoc platform.  This platform will also include a Community Forum, in which Returnees can provide peer-to-peer support for both, integrating to their new life and advancing their career path.  Finally and most importantly, it will be the source of pipeline for the entrepreneurship training program.


Key Activities:

  • Reach out to nonprofits, Mexican Consulates, and Partners in the U.S. to promote the Returnees Platform as a key option to contact other Returnees in Mexico.

  • Train two Returnees to become Champions and Community Leaders.

  • Organize monthly meetups at Centraal and an annual Returnee Summit to engage the entire community and Partner Network around the initiative’s progress and next steps.



The largest and most engaged community of Returnees in Mexico.


Through face-to-face and online incubation programs


Returnees that decide to, can apply to our startup courses and bootcamps.  In this piece of the Program, Returnees will have access to mentors with weekly check-ins, all the program’s content in physical and digital form, as well as monthly meetups with fellow entrepreneurs.


  1. Face-to-face: Besides weekly check-ins with their mentor, every month entrepreneurs meetup with their peers and mentors to report on progress, help each other with their challenges, and share their progress.

  2. Physical: All the learning material will be available both online and in physical form (as identified per our initial research).  This includes booklets, printed canvases, learning cards, etc.  It will be a “Startup Bootcamp in a Box” that integrates with the digital experience to ensure there are no limitations to the learning process for any entrepreneur.


Key Activities:

  • Create the digital Learning Platform

  • Design and produce learning materials

  • Design and produce physical versions of learning materials

  • Publish and maintain learning materials

  • Create an ad hoc Network of Mentors

  • Follow up with entrepreneurs through weekly check-ins

  • Document and “package” the training program



  • A batch of five startups ready to apply to business accelerators.

  • A packaged “low-tech entrepreneurship” program for “Talent on the Move” ready to be replicated in other regions.


By linking to local business accelerators


Once entrepreneurs have created startups and gained traction through a product-market-fit solution, we will link them with local business acceleration programs (such as Wayra, Numa, New Ventures, among others in Mexico; as well as Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and Techstars in the U.S.) and corporates involved in the program (such as Google, Bosch, Grupo Bimbo, Gentera, etc.), so they can fund their business to scale and create more jobs.


Key Activities:

  • Select Partnering Accelerators through which Returnee startups can scale

  • Prepare Entrepreneurs to pitch

  • Organize Demo Days with Mexican and American investors



Startups creating jobs, with seed capital and acceleration support


In the long-term, by creating a Returnee Entrepreneurship Fund


In general terms, it will be necessary to get involved in a holistic policy-making strategy to address the needs of Returnees; this by cooperating with all relevant public and private stakeholders.  Yet, as a low-hanging fruit, which has already been discussed, we will work closely with the Policy Team at Google Mexico and with the Federal Government to identify critical hurdles to overcome as more Dreamers and Returnees enter Mexico.  Ideally and on a preliminary-basis, we are aiming at creating a Returnee Entrepreneurship Fund, established through our joint efforts with the private sector and the National Institute for Entrepreneurship in Mexico.


Key Activities:

  • Establish a joint agenda with the Policy Team at Google Mexico.

  • Advocate for a comprehensive policy-making strategy aimed at addressing the Returnees’ needs in various disciplines: education, health, labor, and social policy.

  • Create a strategic work group composed by public and private institutions, as well as other key stakeholders, such as the National Institute for Entrepreneurship in Mexico, to create a Returnee Entrepreneurship Fund.



To introduce in the national agenda the topic of Returnees and entrepreneurship while championing bill initiatives aimed at their holistic social, professional, human and economic development.


By showcasing success stories


This is perhaps the most crucial element of the program and, for this reason, an ‘across-the-board’ effort.  Returnees need to know that they are welcomed in their new country.  That they belong.  That we are even expecting their arrival with open arms.  That Mexico is a safe place for them and their families and where their dreams can flourish.  We celebrate Returnees’ bright future.  We celebrate dreams, fearlessness, and freedom.


We will celebrate the entire process, from soft-landing success stories, to the integration of Returnees into our program, venturing in new business ideas, startups, all the way to their funding and growth.  Telling the good news will be the beginning and end of “Talent on the Move”.


Key Activities:

  • Create a network of Returnee-oriented journalists.

  • Document little-wins and success stories across all steps of the program.

  • Distribute and celebrate this stories across social networks, digital and traditional media outlets.

  • Above everything, celebrate every Returnee success.



  • A collection of stories and a media channel for all Returnee-related topics.

  • A healthy community of entrepreneurs building peace and prosperity, through entrepreneurship.

It is worthwhile mentioning that “Talent on the Move” will be a ‘live’ project.  This means that, although the Team will work under a well-structured Project Plan, we will experiment, pivot, and be open to new ideas and tweaks to the Program.  In our experience, it is key to maintain some flexibility in order to build a stronger Program every step on the way.

Who will take these actions?

Centraal is a tech hub in Mexico City, operating as a ‘meeting point’ for the local startup ecosystem. A number of communities; developers, innovators, and entrepreneurs gather there. In addition, many national and international fast-growing startups work from our spaces. Centraa’s key partnerships include Google for Entrepreneurs, Bosch, and several Federal and Local Government Agencies.


Rogelio Cuevas

Strategist and Entrepreneur

CEO at Centraal, Rogelio will provide guidance and strategic advice in the project.  Prior to Centraal, Rogelio worked as management consultant developing business models and strategies for companies in various industries. Rogelio has worked in defining public policies and developing infrastructure projects in oil & gas, electricity, and transport.  Rogelio holds a Bachelor of Engineering from McGill University and an MBA from IESE Business School.


HJ Barraza

Social Innovation and Strategist.

After several years in private investment and a private investment firms, HJ started a career as a social entrepreneur, eventually founding a Social Venture builder.

  • Cofounder of Connovo - Mexico’s first Social Venture Builder, and

  • Innovación Social - Latin America's largest social innovation community

Innovation, Business and Social Innovation Lecturer at Universidad Iberoamericana, and Tec de Monterrey, Mexico’s most prominent universities.  HJ is Board Member or Advisor for more than 10 social businesses.


Krizia Delgado (CV),

International Migration Specialist

Krizia has a wealth of expertise in the International Migration field.  She will be responsible for gathering soft-landing content, carrying out networking activities, stakeholder onboarding, as well as working on the policy issues of the project.


Erika Luna

Community Developer, and Google Expert

Erika will be responsible for coordinating the development of the Returnee Community in Mexico City.  As part of the Centraal Team, she empowers other communities by keeping track of their progress and needs, and by sharing best practices.  Erika’s life changed when she learned to code with YouTube and joined Epic Queen, the first Mexican organization that empowers women to create technology.  She believes in the democratization of education as a way to reduce social inequality.  Erika is also Co-Founder and full stack web developer at Novelistik, a platform that empowers people through the necessary tools to publish, read, and engage in a community.  Lastly, she is Co-Founder at Dekids, the firs Code and Entrepreneurship school  for kids in Mexico.


Other key stakeholders include Academic Institutions, Mexican Consulates in the U.S., corporations, and professionals who strongly believe in our goals.  Actually, we have already worked with some of these during our Design Sprint: Tec de Monterrey, British Council Mexico,  Colegio de México, Collective Academy, among others.  As we continue our efforts, we are positive that our impact, traction and engagement will continue strengthening.


Target geography

Initially, people between 15 to 35 years old, who grew up in the USA and have returned to Mexico either voluntarily or by US Government deportations, speak fluent English, have Internet access, and currently live in Mexico City and surrounding areas.


This group is known in the USA as “Dreamers”, mainly because their main obstacle was to access college due to their undocumented status.  Also, they advocated for the DREAM Act, which outlined a citizenship path for them (this bill has been rejected several times). By not having a citizenship or social security number (i.e. legal status in the U.S.), they have not been able to access any type of financial aid.


About two million young immigrants in the U.S. belong to this demographic.  In the last four years, the “Dreamers” have become a strong community who has been able to influence policy. One example is the Executive Order that President Obama issued in 2012.  The DACA Immigration Policy allows certain undocumented immigrants in the U.S. who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.


Despite the benefits of the program, it left out a big percentage of young people who did not qualify due to very strict criteria. This measure is currently in risk of being cancelled.  During his campaign, President Elect Donald Trump promised that he would immediately get rid of this policy.  Currently, there are about two million young Dreamers in the U.S., who live in risk of being deported to Mexico, a country that they actually do not know.


Even though DACA has provided relief to an estimated 730,000 young Dreamers, more than 500,000 were deported or decided to “return” to Mexico in the last five years. In addition, due to the recent U.S. restrictive immigration policy, every year more than 250,000 “Returnees” immigrants come back to Mexico, looking for more opportunities, such as accessing college education and entrepreneurship opportunities.  In fact, more Mexicans are leaving than going into the U.S.


Due to the novelty of the situation, the Mexican Government has not yet designed, let alone implemented a policy scheme to help Dreamers and Returnees overcome the challenges of arriving to a country that most of them do not remember living in.  Most of them arrive lacking personal and professional networks and even fluent Spanish skills, which makes them struggle emotionally.  Even in cases when Returnees arrive with college education and job experience, the Mexican Government does not take as valid their studies or experience, which leaves them in extremely vulnerable conditions with no education or job opportunities.


This means that most of them need to start their education again or find a job in the informal sector to overcome bureaucracy constraints and make a living trying.  In brief, these young Returnees are arriving with bicultural talent and skills that are wasted due to the lack of a holistic program addressing their needs.


It is estimated that in the next four years, once the new U.S. Administration takes office, the deportation and return of this young population will increase dramatically.  For this reason, we want to help “Returnees” start a company or secure a job in a startup, by providing them with the required technical skills and inspiration to start a low-tech or, at a minimum, a no-tech enterprise.


On a broader scope and in the long-term, the target audience of our program could scale to global young people on the move, i.e. international & regional migrants, internally displaced people, and refugees.  According to the UN, it is estimated that every minute, 24 people are displaced, making 65 million forcibly displaced people in the world.  As of 2015, they were estimated to be more than 30 million international migrants in the world between the ages of 25 and 35.


What do you expect are the costs associated with piloting and implementing the solution, and what is your business model?

According to the defined scope of work and work plan, the first year program budget is USD $67,000, which considers the full-development of the initiative during Year 1.  The Team has also budgeted for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) version, whose budget is USD $22,000.  The main differences between the two is how deeply involved the Team would have to be, as well as the elimination of the annual community event.  This version, of course, would have to be adjusted for a longer design phase, which would reduce the promptness at which it could be tested and fully launched.


The program is designed to have different revenue streams to attain financial sustainability in the future.

  • Job Board: Companies sponsor the Job Board and pay to post job offerings.  Through these jobs, Returnees can attain financial stability while continuing with their training.

  • Learning Materials: For the majority of Returnees who cannot be part of the first pilot program, all learning material will be made available for free.  Later on, these materials could be made accessible through a Membership Program.

  • Niche Media Channel: Our celebration process has as core a media channel that will concentrate all information the Returnees niche which is growing everyday.

  • Returnee Program Contributions: As the Program evolves and renders fruits, we expect high involvement from Graduate Returnees and Dreamers, who can later on can contribute back to the Program both financially and in kind.

In terms of Business Model, the Team will analyze this in depth during the initial months of the initiative’s design.  As previously mentioned, it is paramount to attain financial sustainability in the future; this is the only way to extend the impact of “Talent on the Move” beyond Mexico City and beyond 2017.  On a preliminary basis and as an initial hypothesis to prove, we believe some of the revenue streams could make the Program a ‘for profit’ enterprise; yet, we know that operating a hybrid model is also a feasible option.  To understand this and other implications, and to kickstart the Program, Centraal will fund the MVP version of “Talent on the Move” for 2017 and will seek for additional funding to develop the initiative in full.  To do this, we will reach out to our current corporate alliances and to other potential Network Partners.  



  • Mid-Jan - April: Program design

    • Research and information gathering (Mexico and U.S. sources)

    • Business model: Definition of program’s goals and objectives for a sustainable operation, be it for-profit or a hybrid model

    • Networking: Stakeholder identification and drafting of pitching materials

    • Graphic design: Branding (if applicable), website, and editorial

    • Program website and social networks strategy, design, and development

    • Printed and online Returnee Guide in place

    • Community development starts via monthly meetup (March)

  • May - July: First content execution

    • Monthly community meetup

    • Stakeholder onboarding and sponsorship

    • Online content platform: Launch and testing

  • Aug - Oct: Second content iteration

    • Monthly community meetup

    • Stakeholder onboarding and sponsorship

    • Online content platform: Pivot and adjustments

  • Nov - Dec: Playbook preparation

    • Monthly community meetup

    • Stakeholder onboarding and sponsorship

    • Annual community event bringing together all stakeholders and Partner Network

    • Online content platform: Final tweaks and adjustments

    • Drafting of Program’s Playbook (strategy, as well as online and offline resources)



In general terms, our Team’s activities beyond 2017 will focus on scaling up “Talent on the Move”.  We believe this scale-up could occur in a geographic way and even in the scope of our activities.  For this reason, during the initial design period, It will be critical to:

  • Define key objectives, activities, timelines, and stakeholders necessary to scale the initiative in Mexico and elsewhere.

  • Prepare scale-up budgets associated with Centraal’s own program scalation and to the MVP versions other Partners could initially execute.

  • Extend Talent on the Move’s Partner Network to succeed.

Related solutions

Singa - France's Job board and integration for refugees. 


International Migration Report 2015, United Nations. Accessed 15 Jan 2017.


Global Trends- Forced Displacement in 2015, UNHCR. . Accessed 15 Jan 2017.


China’s New Generation of Urban Migrants, The Diplomat. . Accessed 15 Jan 2017. Accessed 15 Jan. 2017.


DACA at Four: Participation in the Deferred Action Program and Impacts on Recipients, Migration Policy Institute , Aug 2016 . Accessed Jan 15, 2017.


ICE Deportations: Gender, Age, and Country of Citizenship, TRAC Immigration, 2014. .Accessed Jan 15, 2017


More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S., Pew Research Center.


Unauthorized immigrant population trends for states, birth countries and regions, Pew Research Center.

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Solution Summary
Talent on the Move
Team Solution: Only members listed on the Solution's Contributors tab will be able to edit this Solution. Members can request to join the Solution team on the Contributors tab. The Solution owner can open this Solution for anyone to edit using the Admin tab.  
By:  Centraal
Challenge: Learn: Refugee Education
How can we improve learning outcomes for refugee and displaced young people under 24?