Students from around the world compete for $100,000 in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in Own the Room, a new original documentary from National Geographic. Two of the film’s main subjects are Alondra Toledo, who works in her family’s bakery in Puerto Rico, and Daniela Blanco, an immigrant from Venezuela who attends school at New York University.
“Given the difficult time our world is facing, this enthusiastic and determined group of young entrepreneurs are a ray of hope for a better, brighter future,” said co-directors Cristina Costantini (Mucho Mucho Amor) and Darren Foster (Science Fair) in a joint statement.
In the trailer, viewers learn that 51 different nationalities will be represented at the competition “as the top student entrepreneurs” from their countries and territories. It’s up to the judges to find the person “who is going to…wow this planet in the next five, 10, 20 years.”
That person could be Toledo, who is invited to compete because she designed an app that allows for easier communication between deaf and hard-of-hearing communities and health care professionals. Or it could be Blanco, who developed a technology that creates synthetic chemicals with solar energy.
“This is a competition where people can come from difficult backgrounds and still make it,” says Blanco, who left Venezuela for the U.S. because of the crisis in her home country. “My mom told me, ‘You have a story that deserves to be heard.’”
She adds: “The companies that exist right now were made by someone. So, why can’t that someone be us?”
Own the Room premieres on Disney+ March 12.‘Own the Room’ Features Latina Entrepreneurs From Venezuela & Puerto Rico