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Starting a Business with $0 with Dr. Maria Navas Moreno

Meet Dr. Maria Navas Moreno, founder of illumifyXd. She is an immigrant entrepreneur from Colombia. IllumifyXd is focused on cancer research.

Why did you decide to start your business?

I have always wanted to contribute to society in one way or another. That's why I went and did my Ph.D., but then I realized that that wasn't for me. I learned that commercializing these techniques was hard, and not many people wanted to undertake this.

What motivates you to continue your business?

There are many people I don't want to disappoint, and that is a big motivator. I want to get this research to people because I know that many people have been touched by cancer. Treatment has progressed, but what comes after is still unknown, and I want to make that a little bit easier.

What do you like about what you do?

I enjoy talking to people. I get energized by changing ideas and the learning processes.

Did you face any hardships?

There is always the issue of money and getting to the point where you can detaingle cash and the company's success. Understanding personal success and how much money the company receives is essential initially.

How did you build your first company without capital?

My partners and I started talking about what we were good at, which happened to be engineering. Then we networked as consultants. That's how we kicked off and grew. In the beginning, it was a little fake it till you make it, but we focused on what we knew.

Three tips you would give to immigrant entrepreneurs?

Think of the fastest and least expensive way to test the idea and see if you have any traction before getting more resources. The next thing I would say is to get a plan and envision your project to success. The third one is making five progress slides, but it is doable.

If you'd like to support Maria, follow her Instagram @phyicsneuron, and watch the full story on our YouTube channel if you are an immigrant-origin entrepreneur and would like to collaborate with us, email

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