Verona to Amman to Silicon Valley — My Journey

By Ygor Scarcia — @ygor86

Firstly, I’m not Russian — I’m Italian!

Now that we got that out of the way, this is the road I travelled from Southern Europe to the Middle East to America’s West Coast.

I was born into an entrepreneurial family — my father started from zero and built a successful hotel and restaurant business on Lake Garda, near Verona, Italy. From age 13, I worked in his companies, learning the nuts and bolts of running a small business. I expected to be running businesses from an early age.

Then Boxing Day (December 26 for the Americans) 2004 happened and it changed my outlook on life. I was having an unusually poor year in High School and was seeking purpose. When the Tsunami devastated parts of Thailand and Indonesia, I put up my hand to help. But I didn’t actually have the skills to make a difference from the relief agencies’ point of view. I was still in high school and my English was poor at the time. (It’s awesome now!) After a month, I threw in the towel. It was time to step up my game. I wanted to be an agent for change.

I enrolled in LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome as a political science major. I felt that was the most suitable major to help people for a living and make a difference in the world.

A few years later, armed with a Masters in International Relations I got lucky and landed an internship and subsequently a job with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in Amman, Jordan. Jordan was amazing — fascinating. I didn’t really know what to expect, and it was my first time in the Middle East. It was a very different culture, but one that was surprisingly open to outside experts. Amman was truly amazing.

I travelled all over Iraq on enterprise development missions, which means helping entrepreneurs build sustainable small businesses. We coached entrepreneurs on managing trade and relationships

between Iraq and the foreign companies. We ended up building four Enterprise Development Centers providing training, counseling, mentorship, financial linkages, and investment promotion around Iraq. We created sustainable change. We empowered people to make their economic future for themselves and their communities.

But the entrepreneurial bug was still niggling at me, and over the years I had built a keen interest in social entrepreneurship — doing well by doing good. The start-up world came calling, so off to San Francisco I went to enter the University of San Francisco MBA program to build the private sector experience I lacked. I was passionate about helping to build game changing companies that are impact driven by growth and profits. Capitalism meets a better future for all.


Originally published at medium.com on October 15, 2015.