‘I’ve never been to Palestine, that’s my biggest regret because I want to go so badly.’ Despite not having visited Palestine yet, Constanza’s connection to the land and culture is evident as she proudly talks about her father who is President of the Arab Union Club in Santiago. Her family originates from Beit Jala and came to live in Chile in the 1920s. They began their lives there in a small town before moving into the city and developing a clothing factory, which went from employing a handful of staff to 200 in the 1980s.
Entrepreneurship runs in her family, who now own a highly successful restaurant called Qatir in the city. ‘I’ve always wanted to have my own company, I haven’t done it yet, but one day! My father is so supportive of all the steps in my professional career and whenever I have questions, I still look to him for the answers.’
Constanza studied Industrial Engineering in University and was selected to help her professors develop an innovation course. Since then she has been working as an Innovation Engineer for Masisa Lab, a startup incubator also founded by a woman of Palestinian origin. Her role involves developing and managing projects which will be the next potential business for the organisation. She was also recently nominated for an award from the Engineers School of Chile for her dedication to improvement in the profession.
‘It is a lot of work to become an entrepreneur, so you have to really love what you do. And also be skilled in what you want to do, here in Chile we have a lot of opportunities to gain new skills in different areas. People say the number one success factor for entrepreneurs is timing, but I think it is also about your commitment.’
Constanza is passionate about improving the lives of Palestinians and is part of an active community of volunteers in Chile who fundraise for humanitarian projects. Her talent for identifying the most promising innovative businesses make her a great potential mentor and she is keen to volunteer her time to help Palestinian startups, particularly those from Beit Jala.