Jairon Francisco, CEO Green Trade Solutions, currently studying Engineering Projects and Systems Management MSc at Kingston University
What is your business in a few words?
We assist coffee farmers in making their coffee production process more efficient and environmentally friendly, enhancing and improving the quality of the product using novel biotechnology techniques. This is a sustainable idea that requires relatively low investment and is easy to implement.
How did it all begin?
I opened my coffee processing business in Dominican Republic two years ago. But I noticed the coffee farms’ production was decreasing and this was a worldwide issue due to Climate Change. I decided to give another turn to my business idea for it to become a social enterprise looking for solutions.
The challenges have you encountered so far?
It is difficult for some people to understand and accept the level of risk entrepreneurs take. Especially family and friends find it hard, seeing us investing our youth, our own money, and years of experience in our dream. They seem supportive, but their fear is stronger.
The pros and cons to be a student entrepreneur?
- It is an amazing journey.
- You will not regret anything about this experience.
- It feels great and it gives you so much satisfaction to follow your dreams and inspire others while you do it.
- You’re in the spotlight. Everybody is checking on you. Act wisely.
- Fear is going to be on every step of this journey. You have to identify fear and determine whether or not it is rational or irrational.
- Your loved ones will go with you. They will suffer if you suffer. But never give up, because they will learn from that too.
If you had the chance to change something about your entrepreneurship experience, what would it be? And why?
I should have started earlier. When you start working for the industry and you are getting promoted, like I was, there is no challenge anymore. I wanted something different, I wanted to be in a position where I can influence and transform, and I realized I will only be able to do that if I start my own enterprise.
Any advice for a future student entrepreneur?
Start now, especially if your idea sounds crazy. We have to believe in what we do, in our ideas more than everybody else in the world.