Employment and Jobs

Empowering Entrepreneurs for Inclusive Growth: A Conversation with Rocio Pinto of Multiverse

April 16, 2024  • The Aspen Partnership for an Inclusive Economy

Rocio Pinto is the co-founder of Multiverse, a Guatemala-based organization that harnesses entrepreneurship as a catalyst to the country’s development. Multiverse addresses immediate entrepreneurial needs, including mentorship, tailored programs, online courses, consultancies, and a dedicated entrepreneurship school, all aimed at ensuring entrepreneurs have the knowledge, network, and resources they need to thrive. They’ve supported more than 4,500 entrepreneurs, resulting in at least a two-fold increase in jobs per venture and elevated incomes for all participating enterprises.

Pinto is also a fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and (with Multiverse) a recipient of a 2023–2024 Global Inclusive Growth Spark Grant, awarded by the Global Inclusive Growth Partnership, a collaboration between the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and the Aspen Institute. We asked her about her work, her inspiration, and her future in creating an inclusive economic future for all.

What led you to your work supporting entrepreneurs?

My father emigrated from Spain to Guatemala because his home country’s civil war robbed him and others of opportunity. My family’s personal history—arriving in an unknown place and starting from scratch to become entrepreneurs—has inspired me greatly. I always heard at home that as long as people had access to entrepreneurship or the chance to obtain a dignified job, the rest depended on the drive or energy each individual put into it—but access to opportunity was the most important.

After jobs where I didn’t feel aligned with the organization’s purpose, I decided to pursue my master’s degree with a specialization in entrepreneurship. I was fascinated to learn about the history of great entrepreneurs who questioned how to make countries more competitive and provide more opportunities. All the economic philosophy I learned and the conversations I had with my mentor Giancarlo Ibargüen and Manuel Ayau, the founder of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, sparked a desire to do something about fostering entrepreneurship.

One day, I attended a conference on entrepreneurship and development in Guatemala, and learned that 70% of the Guatemalan economy was informal. This data surprised me—and kept me up at night. I began a personal research process, studying models from other countries and becoming aware that there was much to be done to create what we were beginning to call the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.

The entrepreneurial ecosystem of countries exists by nature from its conception, as it arises from human action itself. But it needs to be organized, supported, and ordered so that opportunities are truly inclusive and reach everyone. My life since that conference has been dedicated to understanding the best ways, vehicles, and methodologies to offer solutions to entrepreneurs in the region.

What is unique about Multiverse’s approach? Does it have global applications?

Multiverse is a platform created through a heuristic process: trial and error. We have been able to test the best methodologies used in other similar geographies and integrate the feedback we gather from each experience. In this sense, we have been able to modify those parts of the methodologies that, for any reason, whether cultural or due to the type or stage of entrepreneurs in each country, need to be adjusted to achieve the goal of making fundamental changes both in the entrepreneurs and their companies.

Multiverse has managed to develop a very particular methodology by blending the best practices learned from the top acceleration and entrepreneurship programs worldwide. We have also built a global network of mentors and advisors that allows us to find answers to questions that are complex or require very specific areas of expertise.

We started by serving entrepreneurs from Guatemala, both from the city and rural areas. Then we expanded to the Central American region, and for the past two years, our programs could serve entrepreneurs from all over the world as long as they meet the requirements for participation.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about this kind of work?

I have learned many lessons since I started this adventure—from the certainty that work, discipline, and dedication to something that moves us and transcends our existence have the power to make us achieve things we never imagined, to simple lessons that have filled my heart with gratitude and humility.

But I have learned three fundamental things:

  1. It is crucial to understand that institutions dedicated to facilitating entrepreneurship owe their existence to entrepreneurs, and that their process is neither linear nor identical from one to another. Such solutions are not mass-produced, and the impact must be tangible rather than merely a number to be accumulated in a report. The actors supporting an ecosystem must work in collaborative competition to provide the entrepreneurs with the best solutions and value
  2. Business models are not static or set in stone. Successful companies are those who understand the importance of staying on their toes to innovate and reinvent themselves continuously. The world moves rapidly, and the market responds to those who are ready to respond.
  3. Not all ecosystems have the same needs. The important thing is to identify what is lacking in the one we are working on, then create a context of real opportunities that includes entrepreneurs equally.

The AGLN’s mission is to awaken purpose and values-driven leadership across the world to address our greatest challenges. How is Multiverse an expression of your values and the legacy you want to leave as a leader?

I firmly believe that human beings deserve a dignified life. I believe that the ability to provide ourselves with what we need to live that dignified life lies in the freedom we have to obtain it through our dignified work, and having access to opportunities. This is completely aligned with Multiverse’s cause: “A world where entrepreneurs who dare, compete freely and meritocratically, build business models that improve the quality of life for future generations.” And I see it and experience it all the time in each of our programs and with every entrepreneur. When people find support, tools, and a clear path, they seize the opportunities and take responsibility for their lives, achieving a life full of results and passion—a dignified life.

How has your experience with the Central America Leadership Initiative and as part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network shaped your approach to impact and leadership in developing Multiverse?

CALI has impacted my life in incredible ways. Leading initiatives aimed at making the world a better place can sometimes be a very lonely path, filled with uncertainty, and at times it feels like madness. Most of the time, many obstacles arise in pursuing the mission one sets out for oneself, and this requires building resilient character to quickly overcome them and move forward. In CALI, I found a community of people whom I feel close to, just as “crazy” as I am about achieving the impossible. They are dreamers and idealists—people who challenge the status quo, who are not satisfied and seek a better world, who care about the present but also the future, and for whom leaving a legacy for future generations matters. People who closely adhere to my values. Individuals who in a week feel like part of my family. This has allowed me to feel accompanied, supported, encouraged, and has solidly reaffirmed my commitment to pursue and work for this dream.

The AGLN network, the experiences, and the opportunities I have been exposed to are invaluable. Winning a grant—one that will contribute to empowering more entrepreneurs, women, or people who will stop crossing to the north because they now find better opportunities in the country where their home and their family are—has been enormously valuable, and I feel grateful and very inspired.

Four Featured Entrepreneurs

El Shukero:

In 2012, El Shukero began operations by selling traditional Guatemalan-style hot dogs at various locations and catering events—but they ran into extortion by gangs (maras) and changed focus to events and home delivery only. To drive their growth, El Shukero started an acceleration program with Multiverse. The goal was to implement strategies for launching new products, design a marketing structure and plan to attract more customers, analyze and optimize the menu, and improve financial profitability. The work plan focused on creating effective marketing strategies for the target segment, analyzing menu products with the help of an expert who supported them in creating seasonal products, generating a customer retention strategy, and establishing proper financial records.

As a result, El Shukero is in the process of expanding its communication networks, actively participating in events, and establishing partnerships with national and international brands. Additionally, they are working on a brand export model to the United States and an intensive service sales strategy.


Autentika is a clothing manufacturing company with 10 full-time employees. The founders embarked on their first acceleration program with Multiverse in 2022, setting objectives of implementation of an effective billing strategy, the review and legal restructuring of contracts with collaborators, and the evaluation and possible redesign of the brand.

Currently, as a result of their process with Multiverse, Autentika has a team of 15 full-time collaborators in the production area. They are on the verge of closing a significant contract with one of Guatemala’s most prominent restaurants and have initiated the process of establishing an LLC in the United States. Furthermore, they are participating in a new acceleration program with Multiverse, focused exclusively on exporting their products to the United States.


Bidea started in 2010 as a web development company, working on projects for businesses in Guatemala. They developed a personal organizer application, and though this did not have the expected impact, they realized they had everything necessary to offer application development services. Leveraging the founders’ experience, they also created a specialized sales training program for corporate teams, and in 2021 created a bot for in sales support on social media.

Bidea embarked on an acceleration process with Multiverse, with the goal of presenting itself to a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) for a potential service alliance in Latin America. The work plan included creating an automated sales expansion plan, identifying the main legal implications for operating regionally, professionalizing their value proposition, reviewing the platform user experience, and developing a marketing plan with regional impact.

After participating in Multiverse, Bidea closed the sale of a minimum viable product to a BPO looking to implement these types of artificial intelligence and sales solutions. Now, Bidea is an active mentor in Multiverse’s network.

Equipos Electricos Guatemala:

Equipos Eléctricos Guatemala had its beginnings in 2006 as a conventional hardware store in the department of Mazatenango, but underwent a significant change under the leadership of one of the owner’s sons during the pandemic. Recognizing the opportunity for sales expansion through digital communication and online sales, they conducted an initial test that revealed the market potential beyond the locality of Mazatenango—in fact, encompassing the entire country.

In 2023, Equipos Eléctricos joined the acceleration program at Multiverse to analyze and improve its business model to make it more efficient and scalable. During the program development, mentors helped with the creation of a new marketing strategy, and the company achieved better resource control by analyzing processes and financial statements.

Currently, Equipos Eléctricos is in a stage of sales growth, and is leasing larger warehouse spaces and negotiating with courier companies to ensure quality deliveries nationwide. A sales website has strengthened its online positioning, the customer service team has grown, and the company is developing a training program for operational staff to upgrade their skills in trades such as masonry, welding, and carpentry, among others.

The Global Inclusive Growth Partnership, a collaboration between the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and the Aspen Institute, selected three Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) Fellows as the recipients of the 2023 – 2024 Global Inclusive Growth Spark Grants in December of 2023. The Spark Grants are designed to catalyze new models of inclusive economic futures for all. This year’s unprecedented application pool showcased the depth of world-changing innovation led by AGLN Fellows, further demonstrating the network’s powerful drive to be a force for good.