Q&A: what it takes to be on Forbes’ 30 Under 30

- Leadership - Sep 06, 2016

At only 28, entrepreneur Marco Barbosa is definitely one to watch. He has ambitious and clear goals for the future, not only of his fast growing company eSolidar but for the world. In fact, he’s hoping to change the way business and charity have been viewed as two different aspects of the world’s economy.

Now on Forbes’ 2016 list of “30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs” in Europe, we asked him a few questions about how he got there.

What does it mean to be recognised by Forbes on its 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs list?

It’s always great to be recognised for the work we do, specially by an entity like Forbes. It’s a brand validation and it gives us confidence to keep our mission and believe we are on the right track to make a change to how online charitable giving is done.

How did you go about starting a company while being a student? What were the challenges you faced?

The inexperience is the biggest challenge that can only be succeeded by accepting failure and learning from that at a very fast pace. At the beginning everything is new and the propensity to fail is extremely high. It requires a very strong mindset to accept it and not give up. When we don’t know what to do and which step to take next, it’s crucial to be surrounded by more experienced people who can help us, not only with a business plan or strategy, but often with the emotional challenges. At the begining it’s very easy to give up after a few mistakes if we don’t have auto-confidence and believe that this is a “marathon” and the success will be somewhere down the line.

What is a ‘social entrepreneur’?

Basically is an entrepreneur who focuses on solving social, cultural and environmental problems. Conventional entrepreneurs typically measure performance in profit, revenues and increases in stock prices. Social entrepreneurs measure the impact of their ventures in society, but without ignoring the financial sustainable model that can allow their ventures to scale and create more impact on society.

Have you made any mistakes along the way, and what have you learnt from them?

So many… and will make more for sure. I think the biggest lesson is exactly that, learn from mistakes, adapt and try again. I usually say “fail faster, try harder”.

From the company perspective, team is key. And the process, specially when it is a startup in its early days, of who you select to hire will determine the potential for the company’s success. Another mistake was to focus more on fundraising to scale instead of making sure we can become financially sustainable before trying to scale.

What advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs looking to make their mark?

Just try and be positive. It’s better to regret something you’ve tried than something you wish to do. You will never know what can happen, even if you think you will not be able to do it. Believe me, you are better than you think you are. Even if it doesn’t turn out how you would expect, your learning curve will be massive. Just take a look at the stories of most of the successful entrepreneurs and you will see how many companies and projects they’ve tried before they became successful. Also, when you’re trying to build something that’s yours and you’re passionate about, the joy of working and living will move you to face challenges you never thought you could do. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.

Marco Barbosa, CEO of eSolidar; an all-encompassing platform where you can support the charities you love through charity shops, auctions, donations and volunteering.

Read the September 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine. 

Follow @BizReviewEurope

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