José (Pepe) Shabot Cherem (Mexico, 1985) is a young social entrepreneur who has founded and led various for- and non-for-profit companies.
He graduated as the top student in his class from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City with a Civil Engineering degree. He earned his MBA from Stanford University in 2009, where he received the Arjay Miller Scholar award for being one of the best students in his class, and won the Ernest C. Arbuckle award for his leadership contributions to his class.
Pepe’s professional career began at age 18, taking his first full-time job the same day that he started his undergraduate degree. Ever since, he hasn’t stopped working in projects that share his social vision and values. He has worked in Mexico, Brazil, India and the U.S.
Since 2009, he is CEO at Inmobiliaria Quiero Casa, a company he started with the vision of building sustainable high quality entry-level affordable apartments near subway stations in Mexico City. So far, the company has developed over 100 projects, and delivered over 9 thousand apartments. The purpose of the company is to create sustainable long-term value and quality of life for all its stakeholders: employees, customers, investors, communities and cities where it works.
During Pepe’s leadership, the company became the largest residential developer in Mexico City. Quiero Casa has received numerous awards, including the National Housing Award (twice), national and international sustainability awards, and numerous local honors. The company also prides to have contributed to improve development standards for other companies in the city, encouraging other developers to improve the standards of communities where they build.
During Quiero Casa’s growth Pepe found that many potential customers had difficulties in documenting their income sources (a characteristic of the Mexican job market), which led them to difficulties in getting a mortgage loan, thus failing to afford an apartment. This is why he opted to start ION Financiera (where he is now the CEO) the only regulated financial company in Mexico, focused in providing mortgages and real-estate loans. ION continues to grow with the vision of providing long-term affordable mortgages to informal workers, who are over 50% of Mexico’s workforce. It currently manages over US $300 million in outstanding loans, and due to its innovation, the company has been recognized by organizations such as the International Union of Housing Finance, Harvard University and the Mexican Finance Ministry.
Pepe dedicates a significant amount of his time to social ventures. He’s part of the Ashoka Social Entrepreneurs Network, where he shares his experiences with other social entrepreneurs. He is also the founder and Chairman of Construyendo y Creciendo, his first venture, started at age 19. Construyendo y Creciendo is a non-profit organization that offers educational programs for construction workers. So far, it has provided literacy as well as elementary and middle school to over 20,000 construction workers.
In the last five years, Pepe, concerned about the future of Mexico City, grew an interest in urban challenges and city planning. This led him to start two new ventures: Mejor Ciudad, a think-and-do tank that through research, education and advocacy, promotes good planning and good government in Mexico City; and Alianza Por la Ciudad, a public-private, non-profit partnership that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business, and promotes Mexico City’s development.
He is also a member of various business and education focused organizations: The Urban Land Institute, where he is a Board-Member for the Mexico Chapter; CANADEVI (National Housing Chamber), where he is Vice-President; CMIC (National Construction Chamber); ADI (Real Estate Development Association); as well as international entrepreneurship and social development forums such as the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit.