Former Obama Administration Member Natalia Olson-Urtecho Named Director of Government, Innovation & Growth at Startup Sherpas

Startup Sherpas Appoints Natalia Olson-Urtecho as Director of Government, Innovation & Growth

Barcelona, Spain – In a significant boost to its global initiative, social enterprise Startup Sherpas has appointed Natalia Olson-Urtecho as its new Director of Government, Innovation & Growth. The announcement was made on Monday 26th February 2024, showcasing Startup Sherpas’ commitment to empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs through paid work experience opportunities.

Olson-Urtecho brings a wealth of experience in fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development on a global scale. Her illustrious career includes serving as a Presidential Appointee during Barack Obama’s administration and as the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration. During her tenure, she oversaw critical initiatives that supported entrepreneurship and small businesses, managing significant federal contracts and loan programs.

Her extensive background in international, regional, and local government operations, digital transformation, and sustainable development make her an invaluable asset to Startup Sherpas as it expands its startup training platform globally. Olson-Urtecho’s proven track record of leveraging technology for societal benefit aligns with Startup Sherpas’ vision of creating a generation of innovators ready to tackle global challenges such as climate change, sustainable food systems, and economic stability.

Reflecting on her new role, Olson-Urtecho said, “I am excited to join Startup Sherpas and leverage my experience to empower young people with the entrepreneurial skills they need to make a difference. Together, we can build a network of innovative leaders poised to solve the world’s most pressing problems.”

Professor Ger Grauss OBE, a renowned global education consultant and adviser to Startup Sherpas, added, “The addition of Natalia Olson-Urtecho to the Startup Sherpas team is a game-changer. Her expertise and vision will undoubtedly accelerate our efforts to empower young entrepreneurs to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Mayor Collboni of Barcelona emphasized the local commitment to youth and innovation that made Barcelona a perfect match for Startup Sherpas. He stated, “We know that for every sector of our economy, we need the very best talent to support them. And we know our young people need to see opportunities to work, to create startups, and have a vibrant career in Barcelona. Paid work experience while they are still at school and the ability to create their own startups even before they leave school means they have real experience. They have developed workplace skills, and that will meet both these needs.”

Startup Sherpas’ expansion into the Mediterranean and Latin America marks a significant step in its journey to create a global community of one million young entrepreneurs by 2029. With the support of the British Embassy, the Spanish Government, and now Natalia Olson-Urtecho, the organization is well-positioned to inspire and nurture the next generation of global innovators.

For media inquiries, partnership opportunities, or more information about Startup Sherpas and its mission, please contact:

Hugo Pickford-Wardle

Founder – Startup Sherpas


Spanish Language Enquiries:

Natalia Olson-Urtecho

Director of Government Innovation & Growth



About Startup Sherpas:

Startup Sherpas is a pioneering organization dedicated to equipping teenagers with startup skills through a unique model that blends paid work experience with junior startup training. Committed to addressing global challenges through innovation, Startup Sherpas has educated almost 5000 teenagers in the UK and is now poised to expand its influence internationally. The organization champions the power of a global generation of innovators to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

About Natalia Olson-Urtecho:

Natalia is a serial entrepreneur, Obama Appointee, Venture Capitalist, and triathlete with a deep understanding of global politics and the practicalities of startup life. You can find out more here:


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