Juan Pablo Larenas
💼 Co-founder and Executive Director, Sistema B Internacional
🎓 MSc Development Management, London School of Economics (2008)
Juan Pablo is a social entrepreneur and co-founder of Sistema B, an international organisation that aims to strengthen companies that use the power of the market to solve social and environmental problems. He is also the co-founder of Late!, a company that sells bottled water and donates 100% of its profits to social causes.
For four years, Juan Pablo served as director of the Chilean Entrepreneur Association (ASECH), a trade association of more than 33,000 entrepreneurs. He was also the director of TECHO Chile, a youth-led, non-profit organisation that tackles poverty in slums.
Juan Pablo is a fellow of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs. Thanks to his innovative and inclusive approach to business, steering them to create social value, Juan Pablo was named as a 2018 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
What motivated you to apply for Chevening?
It was always my goal to study in the UK, as I knew that it would provide the perfect opportunity to combine academic excellence with exposure to great cultural diversity, both in the UK and in the rest of Europe.
I chose to study the MSc in Development Management at LSE because I wanted to equip myself with the necessary tools to become an agent of change in civil society, and make an impact in the world of social entrepreneurship. My Chevening year was probably the best experience of my life so far.
How did the experience of having studied in the UK influence you?
Studying in the UK helped me to gain a critical and proactive view of the world. I came to understand that problems are generally complex and that in order to untangle these complexities, one must engage with a variety of different actors. The most important thing is to work as a team and not being afraid to ask for help when you need it. The more people engaged in the cause, the easier and more impactful the work becomes.
Through my postgraduate studies, I learned about a number of technical tools that I use in my professional life to this day.
What message would you share with the next generation of Chevening Scholars?
I would advise future scholars to take advantage of each and every one of the complementary events and social activities provided by Chevening, and embrace the experience beyond the classroom.
The great wealth of going to study abroad is the opportunity to meet countless people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. The social capital generated by studying abroad is enormous and perhaps the most valuable opportunity of all.
Follow Juan Pablo on Twitter