Meet Randy Frías: Advance scholarship holder and outstanding ITLA graduate takes steps as an entrepreneur
November 9, 2022
Randy Frías is a talented 21-year-old from Santo Domingo East. He resides in one of the most disadvantaged sectors with limited access to health, housing, education and employment; a place where people can become marginalized and socially excluded.
Randy lives with his older brother and his mother who supports the household with what she produces in a clothing store. His father lives independently and separately from them.
At the beginning of 2020, with economic limitations, Randy enrolled at the Instituto Tecnológico de Las Américas (ITLA) with the desire to become a software developer.
The first months of his classes were paid for by him and his parents with some savings they had. However, when the pandemic arrived, the economic situation at home was greatly affected. “There were no more savings, and the pandemic worsened the sales at the store… My parents told me that they no longer made enough money to pay for my studies, and that same week my laptop was damaged.” Randy was convinced that he had to give up his dream – his studies.
During this time, Randy received an email from ITLA informing him about the scholarships offered by USAID’s Advance Program. Randy applied and was selected to receive a scholarship. “When I got the scholarship, I felt very fortunate… From then on, I focused on raising my GPA and finishing my technical career.” Randy knew his life was going to be different.
“The scholarship fulfilled all the needs I had. I am very grateful to the Advance Program and USAID,” Randy said when questioned about what the scholarship meant to him. “Because it was not only the economic help, but all the academic guidance and complementary training I received… Thanks to that, I developed leadership and entrepreneurial skills.”
The competencies Randy developed through the Program led him to participate in and win two entrepreneurship contests: Ideaton Nature Village from the Nature Power Foundation and TotalEnergies Innovation Challenge from the TotalEnergies company. In addition, he was encouraged to start his own business together with two other people.
Today, Randy is an outstanding graduate of ITLA’s software development degree program, and he is developing an application that connects freelancers with users. Thanks to the generous support of the Advance Program through USAID, Randy’s academic training was saved; and a young man in vulnerable conditions is now able to pursue his dreams.