40 Under 40 – Matthew Hotsko

Matthew Hotsko has been a shining example of a community builder since graduating from the University of Pennsylvania as a member of Zeta Psi’s Sigma chapter. Upon graduation, Matthew joined a fellow brother’s startup company, RivalMe, in Los Angeles and later moved with the company to San Francisco. While there, he assembled a team and launched a product in Silicon Valley, participating in YetiZen – a prestigious accelerator program. With that experience and new connections, Matthew traveled back to his native Panama, where he started EcoStudio Association, the premier co-working space in Panama for the “Maker Community”.

Working with limited resources, Matthew has partnered with MIT and other major international brands to bring essential tools and education – along with high-tech know-how – to Panama. This May, EcoStudio became the first (and currently only) fabrication laboratory in Panama. Matthew lists this experience as one of his proudest professional accomplishments.

“In May of this year, my team achieved one of our goals to open the first Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory) in Panama. Upon completing this goal, we put Panama on MIT’s Fab Foundation Map and became part of a global network of Fab Labs in 1201 locations worldwide. In October, our NGO was selected out of 56 applicants for the Ford Environmental Grants in Central America. We received 1/3 of the $50,000 prize money for projects that will help Panamanian communities transform waste plastic into usable materials for construction and fabrication using open source software developed by Precious Plastic in Belgium.”

In a world where people are largely looking out for themselves, Matthew Hotsko has brought back to his home country the best parts of his college and post-college experience, transforming his community and offering opportunities for advancement to an entire country of eager citizens.

Matthew’s experiences with the fraternity, and connections made along the way, still remain an important part of his life.

“Every couple of days I get the urge to share an experience with the brothers I connected with. It was as important as it was then as it is now to surround myself with people who were earnest to learn about who I was and help me achieve the goals I set out to accomplish. Collaborating with the brothers to achieve mutual goals paved the way for me starting my own business and working with people from 8-80 years old on a daily basis.”

Additionally, he offers this advice to those debating whether or not they should follow their entrepreneurial instincts:

“If you have an idea that you believe in, make time each day to make it a reality. Brick by brick you will lay the foundation for your idea to become a project or business. If you find yourself having doubts or negative feedback, consider them a challenge for you to come up with a better solution. Be sure to talk to your colleagues and open up to your networks to get their honest opinion so you can see your project from multiple perspectives.”

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