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Xavier López Ancona

EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Class of 2021, Mexico

Xavier López Ancona, CEO of KidZania

Xavier López Ancona turned child’s play into big business.

Photographic portrait of Xavier López Ancona

Xavier López Ancona

When Xavier López Ancona asked his boss for a sabbatical to focus on a passion project, he was laughed at for wasting time on a “little business.” Fortunately, he was undeterred and continued with his plans. Today, his little business is KidZania, the world’s fastest-growing educational entertainment brand, operating 27 parks in 22 countries, with more than 9 million visitors, every year. It’s a unique concept that immerses children ages 1 to 14 in career-oriented role play in the context of a mini city.

Xavier launched his first La Ciudad de los Niños (Kids’ City) in 1999, when it was particularly hard to find funding for a business idea in Mexico. But Xavier refused to give up. He instead raised money through corporate sponsors who agreed to pay for a presence in the park.

Xavier’s first park was a huge success, and he has brought the idea around the world. While parks have been temporarily closed due to COVID-19, Xavier has used the time wisely to upgrade and improve the park experience, even opening a new park in Mexico City.

With each new KidZania opening, Xavier remains committed to his vision: “to ignite the hearts and minds of children everywhere by empowering them to create a better world.”