Maria Nazar, from Nazareth, shares her journey as a social entrepreneur. Her passion for creativity and connection helped her launch a successful startup, eventually receiving recognition as a leading change-maker for Forbes 30 under 30 in Israel. In her story, Maria encourages youth to take charge of their dreams and push through for success.
This story was recorded in partnership with MALA, StoryCorps, and Benedictine University’s MEPI 2016 Program.
“When I was sixteen I was reading a story, the story was in Korean. While I was reading the translation of the story, and I finished the first book which ended on a cliffhanger. I realized that the rest of the series was not translated, so what I did was I created a blog. I went to the fandom of the story and asked them to help me continue the translation of the story by taking parts of the Korean words and translating them through google translate and other machine translations. This process took two to three years, we were actually able to translate twenty books of the series with the author’s’ permission. And it was really done without most of the translators even knowing the language.
So this was something I was very proud of and very happy. The source was called Legendary Moonlight’s Chapter. And after about two to three years, we had a lot of viewers. We spoke with the author again to ask him if we can continue translating, because the publisher was up to twenty books. He said he is interested in translating it professionally, which is something we were really happy about. But I saw the amazing opportunity that existed there and the fact that I was not really planning to just stop everything. The community that built around these stories became my friend, even though they were people from the internet I never met. I still know them and I still get to speak with them on a lot of hours, even more than my actual real life friends. So that was a very interesting experience and I wanted something to stay and keep us in common and to keep this opportunity.
So I changed the theme a bit, I tried to instead of translation for people and direct them to post their own stories and post it on the blog. So I decided to switch what was at that time my hobby, to an actual start up, an actual business. And since then, I am lucky to say it has been growing and thanks to that I’ve been chosen as Forbes 30 under 30 in Israel. I’ve spoken with many American students here, as I said my friends from the internet – so many of them are saying that they can’t find opportunities sometimes. But which is really shocking for me, because I’ve heard America is the country of opportunities. And I think that it has been a long time since I was a student, but I think that there are many opportunities around you and you just did not look well enough.
So if you want something, you can just go search for it. It most likely exists somewhere. Also really for every student, especially high school students, because they do not realize that they actually have more time than they think. And in that time they can actually create their own startups. This is something I really believe in, that the perfect time to do a startup is while still in high school because you’re smart enough to do that. You still have the time and you still have so much support. Once you finish, you do not have the responsibilities so you can have a gap year or you know the responsibilities that the community are expecting from you. You can actually go full in with working on the start ups. That other people let’s call them the adults who finish university and who plan to have their own start ups but actually also have families. So being a student who just graduated would be a better time to actually work on a start up.”