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The Brazilian entrepreneur, Marcel Fulayama of CDI Global uses technology to empower low-income communities.


The global CEO of the Center for Digital Inclusion has been an entrepreneur since he created one of the first Internet cafes in Sao Paulo, Brazil when he was just 17 years old. With the goal of "democratizing the internet," Fukayama gradually developed a network of ICafes throughout Brazil with the goal of making online access affordable for all citizens. Now 30, Fukayama leads an organization with operations in ten countries and over 700 low-income communities, training and inspiring locals to use technology to promote social change.

The best advice I ever received was....

You will be happier when you learn to say no. My father gave me this advice when I was younger and it's been the best advice. I've gotten involved with many initiatives and activities so it's been quite complicated to manage this schedule. It's quite important to learn to say no. It's a virtue to understand how to manage your time more effectively.

If I had to do it over, I would…

Do it exactly the same. We cannot change the past but we can build a new future. The future starts now. Looking back and learning what we have done, our mistakes and experience can bring more value to this new future.

What drives me crazy is…

The crisis of values our society is going through. I took business administration in college and one of the first classes I took I learned that the mission of companies is to maximize profit. The way our society is dealing with complex challenges we've faced, which includes urban mobility, chronic diseases, and climate change, is a great example of how we are dealing with our values now. The concept of success is based on economic success only. I feel that we have an opportunity with the millennial generation to change this paradigm and rescue important values and redefine success. Better yet, we can use the most impactful and influential of society, the private sector, to make a deep and major shift on society and their work.

Marcel Fulayama CDI Ventures

The first thing I do each day is….

Review my schedule, check my social media feeds, read news and emails.

The last thing I do each day is…

If it's a not good day or a really great day, I always try to thank my team or family or God to have had the opportunity to have that day. It's been a long journey as a social entrepreneur and it's a really lonely journey and tough journey. Each day is an important day. So at the end of the day I really feel grateful for the opportunities to learn, share and grow as a human being, as a leader, as a husband and as a son. It's important to save a couple minutes at the end of the day to go through the day and realize the learning points of the day.

Business should be a force for good because….

They can accelerate this change that we seek. We have to align an expectation that the shift that we seek will take a long time, maybe even generations. The expectation that is important to align is that we are all cathedral builders. We may not see the result of our labor. Businesses are a powerful resource and tool to accelerate this change by aligning with this powerful expectation.

No endorsement or connection is meant between those featured in this article and Chivas.

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