This edition focused on Colon Province brings as a special guest the founder of Wisy, the first Panamanian startup to expand to Silicon Valley and offer its services worldwide. The first company in the world to achieve a technological leap by creating artificial intelligence that works on a mobile device without the need of an Internet connection. Achievements that have allowed Wisy to receive support from Nasdaq, Google, SAP, Carnegie Mellon and Stanford University.
Her creativity and innovation led her to study software engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, to be awarded the U.S. VIAGlobal Market Entry in Switzerland and to the cover of Forbes Magazine Central America in 2022. Achievements that have made her the globally relevant professional she is today.
Min Chen, is our special guest, a ‘colonense’ who inspires with her achievements, and gives The Visitor – El Visitante an exclusive interview to talk about her life in Colon, what it takes to make this Province reach the place it deserves and how important is for her to be from this beautiful province.
You were born in China, however, your parents were looking for better opportunities and came to Colon when you were only 4 years old. What was the experience of growing up in Colon and how important was it in your personal development both as a child and as a teenager?
“I had a good childhood growing up in Colon and the good layout of the city made it easy for me to become independent. Since I was in elementary school I moved around the city alone. I was also fortunate to grow up in a truly diverse and inclusive place, which I appreciate more as I get to know more of the world. I grew up with friends and peers of different races, religions, and cultures. Diversity was normal for us, but now I realize that it was also very enriching. In Colon I also learned to dream big, not to be limited by the context because I met many people who, despite adversity achieved great things.”
What are the places you remember most about Colon when you lived there, and what places do you like to visit today?
“I spent a lot of time on Calle 10 because on one side was my school and on the other side was my parents’ electronics store where I would help after school. When I had free time, I would visit Avenida del Frente or Calle 1ra with my friends to be by the sea. I also played a lot in the neighborhood that I grew up in Puerto Pilon. With my neighbors we explore the neighborhood, climb trees and ride bicycles. These are memories that bring me nostalgia and joy at the same time.“
What can be introduced in Colon to start developing a program that makes education focus on technology more available to people?
“Entrepreneurship must be taught, not only technological ventures, but entrepreneurship in general so that people can take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to them.”
How the province can move forward through civil society without depending so much on the Government, since authorities have not been interested in the development of the province.
“Civil society and private business in Colon must organize to create educational and entrepreneurial opportunities for the people of Colon. If the population prospers, Colon Province prospers. There are many good and hard-working people in Colon, those examples should be spread more to inspire other people.”
What does being from Colon mean to you?
“For me, being from Colon means being resilient, happy, grateful and resourceful. Friends, strangers, and the people of Colon welcomed me and my family with open arms. They helped us in the most difficult moments, like when we recently immigrated from China to Panama where a family received us in their home for months until we could rent an apartment, or when my parents’ electronics were looted during the invasion and customers brought their home audio and video equipment even when the store was in ruins and paid us in advance to help us as a business and family, and our neighbors shared food with us when there was a shortage due to looting and no access to the city. The people from Colon are cheerful and supportive, and manage to get ahead despite adversity. I feel grateful to have grown up in Colon and have always been inspired to dream big.”