Xavier López Ancona
Xavier López Ancona, CEO of KidZania
Xavier López Ancona turned child’s play into big business.
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.”