Interview with Alejandra Cañedo, Industrial Designer and Storyteller

Hi Ale tell us about yourself:

I am an Industrial Designer & Storyteller from Hermosillo, Sonora who grew up with a bicultural education and an insatiable curiosity for learning. I thrive in process-focused storytelling, human-centered design, communication sciences, multimedia edition, empathetic graphic design, and sustainability. I spend most of my time learning new ways to bring value to projects, either by training in a new technology or building more effective workflows. The use of innovation tools such as Design Thinking & Lean Service Creation has led to amazing product design collaborations such as, Apoco Workshop, CRIT Sonora, Oficentro and other emerging startups.

I get very inspired by my family, friends and overall entrepreneurial community due to empathy being the fuel of my work. My love for research, project management and creative direction makes it easier for me to find the main themes and solutions for my projects. The borderlander narrative that has ruled my life has made a comeback in my involvement with Startup Unidos, which has evolved in brand & content creation, business innovation, social and community management spread across events and courses such as, Startup Weekend Borderlands, Emprende Amigo Youth, and Borderoots.

Share with us about your work across borders:

Both my linage and my work are cross-border. I'm immensely blessed with a family that granted me with not only opportunities for my future but wonderful knowledge built by generations. Since a young age I have been assimilated to be my bicultural identity. Access to multicultural experiences have formed my interest today. Thanks to the early opportunities and more advanced programming, I have shaped my passions and afforded me the desire to continue designing pathways for other creatives and community organizers.

My bicultural identity is a duality. I am a fusion from the desert. Here we have a different take on being Mexican. We are touched by a completely different culture up north, which makes us a beast of our own.

As a SU Collaborator, how has the Startup Unidos Network helped:

I have gotten the opportunity to collaborate on many projects. I am influenced by a generation and have become a " jack of all trades"; in the past, I have designed jewelry, furniture, even user interfaces and anything else that was made available. Startup Unidos has carved a pathway for me to put my skills to the test and in developing youth programs, I have been allowed to carve the way for others.

How will the Startup Unidos Network continue to support you in the future:

The projects with SU have led me to meet so many new people that share the same vein for innovation as I do. I love the "vibra" that it is created by the clashing of cultures in this idea-fostering environment, no matter where we are.  I love the analogy that we usually make about how the desert is normally so bone-dry that it seems impossible that anything new can grow out of it; however, one little drop of water and it becomes the catalyst for big, wonderful things.

How I've collaborated with Startup Unidos since 2019 - now, wow!

Discover the Startup Unidos entrepreneurship network for yourself.  When I started engaging with the network I did not know that I was also connecting to a much larger national narrative.

Follow my journey on how I am collaborating with a crew of borderlanders that are out to create big change.

2021 - present; Lead Team Member and Contractor

Borderoots: How do we build a team with two very contrasting players? We find and work at our middle ground, both literally and metaphorically. The borderline is were we share the same way of life as desert people. We all need to prepare our groundwork, our seeds, our sprouts, we come in contact with our roots and look for our common goal in the sky.

Borderoots: Creatives, Innovators, Entrepreneurs Along The 3,145 km Divide
Centering borderlands culture and bilingual knowledge as the greatest tangible and intangible asset in community development and entrepreneurship.

2020 - present; Participant, Guest Speaker, Mentor and Contractor

Emprende Amigo Youth (EAY): In these modern times in which creating a small business is more tangible than ever, is important to also illustrate our youth (¡including myself, jaja!) into the old and new set of rules and lessons to break the ground and build a future where we can profit.

Emprende Amigo Youth Pop Ups, connect, network, learn & grow
EAY is a bilingual, international, fully remote, youth course on the foundations of entrepreneurship. This program solves for the lack of opportunities in the region by being a launchpad for emerging entrepreneurs.

2020; Lead Team Member

Techstars Startup Weekend Borderlands USA-MEX 2020 Online : I would've never imagined the experience that I had as a participant in an online setting, but COVID made us do it, which is a clear reminder of how life continuously makes us adapt and pull out different resources. Now that we saw that happen, I'm more eager to see how virtual collaboration keeps changing how people connect and business are created.

Startup Weekend Borderlands USA-MEX Online 2020: A one-of-a-kind bilingual, binational event
The weekend event aims to be a one-of-a-kind bilingual, binational platform bringing together USA-MEX borderlanders of all stripes to create new, innovative products and businesses as creative solutions to problems disproportionately facing the borderlands communities pre and post pandemic.

2020; Contractor

Innovation Launch Pad: This initiative was so fun to work with, mostly because I would have like to see this kind of approach when I was that age. We see people travel to space nowadays, I think is wonderful to think we can reach our own version of stars someday, for that we definitely need guidance!

Santa Cruz County School Superintendent sponsors summer programs
Now, more than ever, we need innovative solutions and new ways of providing engaging opportunities for our future leaders in Santa Cruz County. This July, two completely virtual opportunities are available to students at Santa Cruz County district schools.

2019; Participant

Techstars and Kapor Center Latinx In Tech Startup Weekend : If it wasn't obvious already, this was a life-changing experience (Evidence A through Z listed above). I'm very happy to see the chain of events that broke out of a weekend out of town in which yes, we "created a business in 54 hours", but the real treasure definitely where the friends (some people would even throw the word "networking" here) that we made along the way.