Maria Borrego recalls a narrow set of goals presented to her as a teen: graduate high school, avoid pregnancy, and pursue a low-wage job.
“I grew up in poverty,” Borrego says. “I was never encouraged to go to college, and I was never told how to apply for college or scholarships.”
Junior Achievement (JA) Business Week was Borrego’s first encounter with the world of business and sparked her lifelong passion for entrepreneurship. In contrast to the type of future she previously envisioned, JA Business Week volunteers and speakers supported Borrego’s potential to become a successful, savvy, and creative businesswoman.
Borrego vividly remembers when she was elected CEO of her company at JA Business Week. “I still have the picture to this day and I remember how much encouragement I received from the JA volunteers,” she says.
In addition, JA Business Week introduced Borrego to campus life and the possibility of a higher education. A couple years later JA awarded Borrego with the JA Inspiration Scholarship, and she was able to pursue her interest in business by taking college courses in accounting, marketing, and web design.
Today Borrego owns Gallery On The Go, which started as a hobby and grew into a company that now has over 70 representatives nationwide. She continues to harness her drive and resourcefulness to navigate what she calls, “the entrepreneur hustle.”
Borrego says, “The entrepreneur life is defined by ups and downs. We call it pivoting…and more pivoting! It’s a hard life but I love business, problem solving and seeking out an undefined vision for the industry I am in.”