Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andres Urquiola, CEO of Val-u, located in Caracas, Venezuela.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We teach financial skills to kids in schools with technology. We do it to improve their quality of life and reduce poverty. Our customers are private schools in Latin America. We are looking to reach US schools in the future.
Tell us about yourself
I met Eduardo, my co-founder, at the university 11 years ago. Although we learned many things, we never learned how to make good financial decisions, which cost us a lot of money (we got into a Ponzi scheme). Also, my dad lost all of his money when I was a baby because he did not know how to make good decisions. That caused a lot of stress in our family, and I don't want anyone else to go through that.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We created a startup that gives direct employment to +10 people and produces value to +20 schools and +4.000 students each month. We created something out of nothing in a country like Venezuela, where everything is falling apart, and we did it without funding. I'm really proud of what we have built.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The mental strength that you must have to keep pushing. Discipline is what separates a winning company from a losing one. Comparing yourself with others with more opportunities is a temptation, but it is really bad for your peace of mind. Don't do that.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Think deeply if you want to dedicate 15 years of your life working hard to build something valuable. In case of doubt, don't do it.
- Working hard and having a superhuman capacity to learn new things and problem-solving are the two most important skills of an entrepreneur.
- Trust the process. If you make things right and make good decisions, in the end, you will succeed. Just be patient.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I'm open to helping other founders, especially in education, tech, startups, and edtech. Best!
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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