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IB graduate blazing a trail in Mexico

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Daniel Gómez

The IB Diploma Programme, coupled with his innate talent, enabled 17-year old Daniel Gómez to become one of the youngest and most innovative entrepreneurs in Mexico, patenting biodiesel fuel.

Education is one of the most important issues in Mexico, and is fundamental to the progress and success of its young people. Daniel Gómez Íñiguez, a high school student from the city of Monterrey (Nuevo León State), is proof of this. At a young age he completed an in-depth research project into biodiesel, a fuel produced from vegetable or animal fats that can be used in engines that run on diesel, with the primary purpose of lowering greenhouse gases and reducing costs.

The strategy behind this project and its development came about as part of one of the requirements of the International Baccalaureate programme, which at high school instils an entrepreneurial vision in students through its innovative education programmes. This is how Daniel awakened his entrepreneurial skills and talent, to design new technology for converting organic waste into fuel.

In his research project, he found that Mexico had no biodiesel plants with new technology to produce it, opening up the perfect business opportunity and giving him his chance to shine. In 2007, aged just 17, Daniel founded and set up Solben, a company specializing in bioenergy solutions, confident that it would soon become the industry leader in this fuel.

“We have been operating for eight years now; we believe we have been very successful and very productive. We currently have 18 biodiesel plants covering a large area of the country; we operate in 13 Mexican States and this year we plan on operating in 4 more”, says Daniel Gómez, Director General of Solben.

This innovative operation has crossed borders, and the plan is to open plants in Bolivia, Argentina, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Colombia soon. Daniel is now 24, and his successful venture earned him the New York Stock Exchange entrepreneurship award, presented on its trading floor, for young international entrepreneurs.

Solben currently has twenty employees, “Many of them hold PhDs and Masters degrees – it is important to emphasize that we collaborate with four other companies to produce, collect and sell oils and develop the technology”, says Gómez.

Mexican industries are benefiting from this new generation of fuel because the price of biodiesel is lower than that of diesel, while helping to protect the environment. One of its biggest customers is the road haulage sector, which benefits from great cost savings.

For the International Baccalaureate, it is a source of great pride that its programmes produce successful students such as Daniel Gómez, who uses his talent to develop new technologies that contribute to improving the welfare of the country as a whole, and that these same technologies have the opportunity to reach other parts of the world.