Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Isaac Oppeneim, CEO of Zida, located in Gainesville, VA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Zida manufactures the world's first homecare neuromodulation device that treats overactive bladder. Overactive bladder is a disease that over 42 million Americans suffer from. Our goal is to make doctors and patients aware of this new form of treatment which is non-invasive and non-drug.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Isaac Oppenheim, and I am the CEO and inventor of the Zida Control Sock. I was blessed with a wonderful childhood filled with school, friends, sports, camp, and, most importantly, a close-knit and loving family.
I had a terrific relationship with my grandfather, Eric Oppenheim. As a child, I always knew that there was something different about my grandfather. Maybe it was his accent. Perhaps it was his fierce love for his children and grandchildren. As I grew older, I learned my grandfather's story. He grew up in a small village in rural Germany called Nentershausen. His family owned the local dry goods store, which was located on the town square. The social and political situation must have been dire because my great-grandparents took my grandfather on the day after his 13th birthday, the day after his Bar Mitzvah, and sent him to the United States to flee the Nazis.
As a parent myself, I often struggle to understand how my great-grandparents sent away their son. I have never figured out where my grandfather found the strength to move forward in his life, maybe even feeling alone in the world. But he did. He built a new life. A life filled with joy and happiness. He built a legacy from nothing. One that I am proud to uphold.
In 2015 my grandfather got an email sharing that the Synagogue where he had his bar mitzvah had been rebuilt and renovated. The email also included an invitation to come and visit the Synagogue. My grandfather decided to make the trip from Baltimore, MD, to Frankfurt, Germany. I decided to join my grandfather on this trip along with my two oldest sons.
We arrived in Germany on a hot day in mid-August. After many hours of travel, we finally made it to the Synagogue for the opening ceremony. We were all standing and waiting for the proceedings to commence when I caught a glimpse of my grandfather's face laced with shame. I looked around at my children as well as the surrounding people, and everyone was just so embarrassed. Here was a man who fled Nazi Germany, started a family and a business, and was able to return to the same Synagogue where he celebrated his bar mitzvah to watch his grandson come of age, and he couldn't control his bladder. It was right then and there that I decided I had to do something about this. Now six years later, about 18 months after my grandfather's passing, I am proud to share the Zida Control Sock with you.
Inspired by my grandfather, his courage, and his devotion to helping my family and me, hopefully, can ease the pain and suffering of millions of men and women across the world who suffer on a daily basis from incontinence and overactive bladder.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
FDA clearance of our device and production set-up.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The responsibility for everything, no matter how great your team and how much you delegate, hands solely on my shoulders as the owner of the business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start small and bootstrap for as long as possible, making sure that there is actually a viable business before you bring in investors and take on major expenses.
- Only get into a business that you love and have the ability to be a leader in.
- Build a team of experts who can help guide you. Dig into your network to get introductions to people that have experience in the field you want to get into.
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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