RP Spotlight: Never too early to become an entrepreneur
There are so many remarkable people on RoundPier. This month, we want to shine the spotlight on Elsa Rodriguez. Elsa is a high school student from Barcelona, Spain — HOLA! She has already been involved in two interesting businesses. One of which has won a number of awards and a trip to Silicon Valley. This has earned her speaking engagements at entrepreneurship events in the USA and Europe.
RoundPier: These are some amazing achievements. Let’s get straight to the point — we are really interested to hear about the businesses you created.
Elsa: Thank you. I created my first business at the age of 14 and it was an online supermarket where we sold food that was already expired but suitable for consumption. For each sale we were also giving food to the local foodbank. When I was 16 years old, some friends and I created Sharge, a platform where people can share their charging stations through Blockchain technology (decentralized payments) with an IoT device we created. With this startup, we won a national competition and we won a scholarship to accelerate this startup in Silicon Valley.
RoundPier: So, there is a social element in both of these businesses. Are you just focusing on improving people’s lives or you are also looking for commercial success?
Elsa: I guess I was focused on both. We wanted to solve a real problem. The best way to have commercial success and to attract people is by creating something that can improve people’s lives.
RoundPier: Is this all purely individual effort or you work as a part of the team?
Elsa: It is 100% teamwork. You don’t go far alone or with a bad team. The key to achieving success is working with a team that is really passionate, ambitious, and with diverse skillsets. This is the best way to complement each other as you may not have coding or business skills but someone on your team may have this knowledge.
RoundPier: Tell us about yourself. Did you always want to be an entrepreneur? Do your parents support this?
Elsa: Since I was really young I was interested in technology. When I was 11 years old I wanted to work at Apple in Silicon Valley. So I started to do some research about this technology hub, and after that it was clear I wanted to do something related to entrepreneurship and in technology. My parents have always supported me. They always say that I should do whatever I like and I’m passionate about.
RoundPier: We presume you have little free time. Do you still get a chance to do stuff that students your age are doing? Are you participating in any school events or extra-curricular activities?
Elsa: I barely have free time. Yes, of course I do the same stuff as my friends. Apart from working on Sharge, I play basketball, I have training during the week and on weekends I play a match. I am also a basketball referee. I attend and give speeches in many conferences and I’m involved in some other projects. And obviously, I’m on last year of high school so I have to study a lot.
RoundPier: When do you have time to do all that? Give us some advice on how you manage to juggle various things and still attend school…
Elsa: I always try to study in the bus when I go to school, or when I’m going to my basketball training. I have to go to sleep really late on weekdays, but that’s the price I have to pay if I want to do all these extra-curricular activities. I’m happy doing it, it’s worth it. When I have exams and homework, I always do a schedule of the week and organize the time I have to spend on each subject. When I’m studying I also try to stay focused and avoid my phone. I always set a timer of how much I have to study and how much I can rest.
RoundPier: Finally, what are your plans for the future? Are you planning to attend university or follow the path of some other entrepreneurs and continue working on your ideas?
Elsa: Next year I’m going to university. I’m not sure what I want to study. At the moment, I think I’ll study something in engineering. Even if I have so many ideas in my head, I think I should go to university. I want to learn and experience new things away from home. Apart from learning new things, I look forward to meeting new people, and making new friends. When you’re involved in entrepreneurship you don’t know what is going to happen with your company. So having a degree can help you whenever your company isn’t working and you got to find another job.
Sign up at roundpier.com to connect with Elsa to ask her questions about what it’s like to be a student entrepreneur and join her newly created Entrepreneurship Group. And if you want to share your unique story or know someone who should be featured in RP Spotlight email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.