Pixza restaurant was started by SIPA alum Alejandro Souza MPA-DP’13 to employ homeless and formerly incarcerated people in the food industry.
Why We Love Pixza
Pixza’s mission is to achieve the socioeconomically productive integration of homeless young adults in Mexico. It achieves its mission by providing formal employment opportunities at a pizzeria, and by offering an integrated social empowerment program.
Alejandro’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Alejandro had always been a foodie. When he moved to New York, he missed Mexican food made with blue corn. One evening, while sitting with a friend at the Heights, SIPA’s favourite neighbourhood bar, he realized how he much he valued the food back home in Mexico made with local ingredients. When he graduated, he entered the food industry back in Mexico. However, working in food was not enough and he wanted to drive impact via his passion for food. He recognized how serious the problem of youth unemployment and homelessness is while volunteering at a homeless shelter and shadowing a formerly homeless man. He started Pixza to address the need he saw and where he now employs formerly homeless young adults as pizza makers and distributors.
Running a High Impact Business
Alejandro measures impact by how Pixza is able to integrate homeless youth into society and provide them productive economic opportunities. He goes beyond measuring how many individuals Pixza employs and instead focuses on helping the youth overcome a set of challenges that make it difficult for them to get jobs. He focuses on three objectives: 1) Developing a personal and professional life plan with a coach, 2) Helping youth achieve independent housing and 3) Helping youth to continue their education. Overall, he aims to help the youth turn their lives around so their children aren’t born into the same circumstances as their parents.
Advice to Aspiring Entrepreneurs
"I advise entrepreneurs need to work with a sense of profound empathy for the audiences that they’re trying to serve. Entrepreneurs need to be extremely passionate about what they’re doing — passion is key. Your work need to be meaningful enough to get you through each day."
Favorite PLACE on Campus
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