Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Madeleine Prothero, Co-Founder of Ecosistema Formazione Italia (EFI), located in Milan, Italy.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are "the" community for the Italian Training Industry. We host networking events, create learning materials, provide speaking opportunities, find trade shows to attend, and do other things to support our members' professional or business development. Our members are individuals and organizations committed to elevating the training and development industry. These could be professional coaches and training organizations who provide training, HR and L+D managers who are looking for training, or marketing agencies and business developers who support training. We are the organization that connects them and ensures they have what they need to be successful.
Tell us about yourself
I have a unique history. I started my professional journey as a young woman who wanted to earn her Ph.D. in Political Science, focusing on religion in political conflict: I loved learning and wanted to find a unique way to help our global community. I earned my MA in Religious Studies at Florida State University in 2020 but decided not to continue to a Ph.D. because I wanted to do something that I felt had a more personal impact. I joined the EdTech Wyblo team as a founding member in 2021, where I met Stefano Marchese and Kevin Giorgis, my co-founders for EFI. We realized the technology Wyblo provides is a key component to successful training-- the other is collaboration. So we started EFI to facilitate industry collaboration, and it grew from there.
I love helping others, so knowing that the work I do every day might help someone achieve their business goals, help someone learn a new skill to advance their career, or just become excited about learning keeps me excited to work.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think my biggest accomplishment as a co-founder is actually being a co-founder. I was told by a few professors and teachers that they see me starting my own business or organization, but I could never visualize myself doing that because I didn't know how to do it. I was always focused on school, and the school doesn't teach you how to start your own business.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing about being a co-founder is the uncertainty. I love the endless possibilities I have as a co-founder, but those possibilities can be a bit intimidating because they are so uncertain.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You aren't going to be perfect, so don't try to be.
- You will make mistakes; it's okay if you learn from them.
- Make sure you take time for yourself.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Although EFI is based in and for Italy, I actually live and work in Los Angeles, traveling to Italy every few months!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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