More than 3,700 miles from home, it wasn’t until Nuno Mecia Lopez found himself at Ohio Dominican University that an idea sparked within him that would combine his entrepreneurial ambitions with a personal passion: supporting his home region of Galicia in northern Spain.
A recent graduate of Ohio Dominican with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science, Nuno enrolled in the university’s MBA program to pursue an advanced degree and further discern his professional path forward. During the first graduate course, he was tasked with developing a personal development plan that forced him to consider where he wanted to be professionally in the years to come. It was during that time that he developed an idea to create an adventure travel company that would allow him to share his beloved home with the world.
With the help, guidance and support of individuals including Dr. Natalie Kompa, director of ODU’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and 2011 alumnus Max Whiteside, the Center’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Nuno developed a formal business plan to launch a company called “All in Galicia.” The goal of Nuno’s venture is simple – to help visitors experience Spain in a much different way than those who visit popular tourist locations such as Barcelona and Madrid. Aside from the location itself along the Atlantic coast, one of the unique features of “All in Galicia” is that it offers guests the ability to tailor their experience by selecting a number of various packages. Those packages may include kayaking, boat trips, sight-seeing, wine tasting, cooking lessons and more.
In addition to running the company, Nuno serves as a personal tour guide for all visitors from sun up to sun down; he picks guests up in the morning from their hotel, and drops them off during the evening. Thanks to personal relationships he has developed with many local businesses in Galicia over the years, visitors are able to enjoy a truly behind-the-scenes experience that is authentically Spain. As he puts it, “I want people who come to visit Galicia to feel like a local, not a tourist.”
Realizing that creating a travel company is not an overnight process, after developing his business plan, Nuno invited members of the ODU community to participate in a trial run of what a package might look like. During the summer of 2021, one of his professors, Angela Heck-Mueller, her husband and some friends joined Nuno as he introduced them to his home region. During the trip, Nuno captured beautiful photos and videos as well as client testimonials he could use for future promotional purposes. He also took this opportunity to learn from the experience so that he could further improve, tweak and refine the “All in Galicia” experience for future guests. Today, as Nuno works to complete his MBA at Ohio Dominican, he remains focused on growing his startup so he can showcase “real” Spanish culture to countless others in the years to come.
Currently, Nuno is offering a number of exclusive trips to ODU alumni, faculty and staff scheduled to take place during the summer and fall of 2023. Those who are interested in learning more about “All in Galicia” and available packages are invited to learn more at AllInGalicia.com. A video highlighting Nuno’s journey is available by clicking here.
As Nuno puts it, “It is because of being a student at a small university, along with people who care about me, that I have been able to determine and create my future.”