Hola, everyone! Spiffy here, your one and only interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth. I’m thrilled to be in México talking to Karime Guillen Libien, co-founder and chief operating officer of BIOVATEC. Kari is a young entrepreneur passionate about UN SDG #13: Climate Action. She’s working to make the world a better place through her work with biotechnology and sustainable and eco-efficient solutions to tackle environmental problems. Are you ready to be enlightened?
Spiffy: Hola, Kari! It’s wonderful to meet you! Can you start by telling us what climate challenges you and your company are addressing?
Kari: Sí, Spiffy, I’d be happy to. There are various challenges we face as human beings, and that is why BIOVATEC seeks to contribute to the development of sustainable and eco-efficient solutions. We do this with a scientific-technological base to promote innovation through projects that tackle environmental problems. We also highlight the opportunities that biotechnology offers us and that new things can be created from very basic or complex problems. This is actually how we developed NoPlastic, one of the main projects at BIOVATEC, with the aim of combating plastic pollution and food waste. We also offer support and collaboration with different sectors to generate social, environmental, and economic benefits.
Spiffy: This is stellar! Can you tell me more about what has motivated you to tackle environmental problems? It can sometimes be so overwhelming.
Kari: Well, Spiffy, it’s a story that I love to tell because, at the beginning, it was so unexpected. I was facing some conflicts and needed to discover if this career path was really my thing. My chemistry teacher asked if I’d be willing to work on a project that she wanted to take to market. It was a perfect opportunity for me to explore and see if it was something I’d want to continue to pursue. While we were working together, we discovered that we both had the same goals of generating positive impact and offer our ideas for the good of the planet. I also realized that I had found the people and motivation with whom I could fulfill my goals and make my dreams come true! Entrepreneurship is one of the reasons I’m delving into science and applying biotechnology to solve the challenges that we currently face.
Spiffy: Entrepreneurship is truly a beautiful endeavor. How would you say your company is working to create a more equitable world?
Kari: BIOVATEC seeks to apply projects and include people with similar ideologies, that want to create positive impact or simply need help. We believe that by working as a team, we can achieve more. As we’ve advanced on our path of entrepreneurship, we have also realized that making a multidisciplinary team will always generate better results. Apart from wanting to carry out social inclusion, we seek environmental balance to generate sustainable changes in our planet for the good of all living beings. We also want to be a door or an opportunity for all people who seek to generate growth and create change for a more sustainable world.
Kari’s first contest exhibiting alone. BIOVATEC won second place at the state level and third place at the national level. (Photo courtesy of Karime Guillen Libien)
Spiffy: Can you talk about the impact BIOVATEC is having?
Kari: BIOVATC develops projects that generate solutions to global problems, not only through research, but also from existing technologies. We seek to implement innovation to make adjustments according to the situations that arise. Our initiatives have helped solve problems within various sectors such as sanitary landfills, industries, government, and private sectors. BIOVATEC has generated an impact to become known for its mission and vision. We are also implementing initiatives in social inclusion to develop revolutionary, innovative ideas that can generate a new horizon of biotechnology through young people and others who are interested.
Spiffy: What about failure, Kari? Can you share your thoughts about failure and what you’ve learn from failure?
Kari: Starting an enterprise is a path that people don’t always know how to describe. No one mentions the fact that you will encounter many failures along the way to achieving your goals. You will always encounter challenges in which you will fail, but it doesn’t mean that you have to quit or that you are not capable—it is simply a way to fulfill your dreams. Throughout my life I have faced various failures that have allowed me to become resilient; but more than anything it has been a way to continue chasing my goals. Failure is only one experience on the way to becoming the person you hope to be.
Spiffy: What is something unexpected you’ve learned that might inspire our audience?
Kari: I love the phrase, "you learn something every day”—because sometimes we look for great learning when we already have it at hand. I’ve learned this recently from various people and even from my new pet. When I was doing social service in high school, I learned to value life. I realized that, many times, the people who "have the least" are the ones who have the most because it is not the material possessions, but love, happiness, and the desire to get ahead that allows you to be a person with great value. Thanks to this, I understood the meaning of life. From that moment I decided to dedicate my life to something where I could share the ideas of valuing life, finding happiness, and love for the planet.
Spiffy: Value for life and the planet are so intertwined. Before we sign off, is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Kari: There are many stories behind every person’s experiences. Opportunities will always arise, as well as bad moments, but each one of them can guide you to achieve what you want to be. Entrepreneurship has been one of the best decisions I’ve made because it has allowed me to develop, realize the potential I have, show that everything is possible through passion and perseverance, and make a true change—especially when it’s about fighting for our planet. Each of us has potential, it is only a matter of discovering it and undertaking it, and challenging yourself every day to see your dreams come true.
Spiffy: I look forward to following you and seeing how your dreams continue to unfold, Kari. It’s been an honor talking to you today. Muchos gracias!
Karime Guillen Libien is a young student entrepreneur looking to write her success story with mind, body, and soul. Kari is co-founder and COO of BIOVATEC, a company that works to carry out innovation and development of environmental projects to generate positive impact through biotechnology. Kari loves learning, seeking, and developing solutions that positively impact the world, does good for the environment, and above all, makes a change in society. (Nominated by One Young World. First published on the Ladderworks website on August 4, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.