Xavier López Ancona is the founder, CEO and president of Kidzania, a global chain indoor family entertainment centres. Each KidZania centre is a replica of a real city made for children. Children aged 4 through 14 work in branded activities and earn kidZos (KidZania’s money), and their earnings are kept in the KidZania bank for the kids to spend at the gift shop and on KidZania activities. The kids wear electronic bracelets that allow parents to keep track of their children remotely.
“There are around 60 different establishments in each city, and we invite private companies to be represented in the city—Toyota, Coca-Cola, American Airlines, Walmart, and Telmex are here to name a few,” Xavier told The Business Year. “They are all multinational companies, both local and foreign, and they all very much value the chance to build close ties with the future generations of our society. In parallel, we also have collaboration agreements with public organizations because we believe it is very important to show the most realistic image of our society.”
Xavier founded KidZania in Mexico in 1999. Since then, the company has grown to 27 locations in 21 countries, with 10 more locations currently in development, three of which are in the US. The centres have received more than 68 million visitors since their opening and an average of nine million visitors a year, making Kidzania one of the fastest growing global “edutainment” brands in the world.
Although Xavier founded an international chain of family centres, he does not have any kids of his own. He grew up in a family of eight children and has 16 nieces and nephews.
Prior to founding Kidzania, he was the director of venture capital at General Electric Capital.
He has a bachelor’s in business administration from Anahuac University, a master’s in administration from the Pan-American Institute of Business Administration (IPADE) in Mexico, and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
Forbes has listed Xavier as one of Mexico’s most successful entrepreneurs.Tags: amusement parks, edutainment, family entertainment, Latin America