Urtzi Terroba is a young man from Bizkaia living in Guatemala who runs three business projects and has a clear entrepreneurial and social vocation
His desire to see the world has helped Urtzi Terroba to develop clearly defined views. This young entrepreneur, born in Portugalete 30 years ago, has spent a decade away from home. He has made the most of this period by establishing or participating in four companies. As soon as he finished his International Business studies at the Chamber of Commerce in Bilbao, he decided to take a year off with his brother who had just finished his sixth form studies. “We spent eight months visiting a score of countries, and that changed our lives forever,” he says. After going through this enriching experience, he chose to continue travelling the world, although more “slowly”, settling in various countries and living “amazing experiences”.
After spending time in England, Singapore, Sweden, Argentina, and Panama, he is currently residing in Guatemala. Together with three partners, he founded Clarity, a consulting and knowledge management software company with headquarters in Panama. “Like any entrepreneur worth his salt, this was my first failure. After two years, I left the business due to disagreements with my partners”, he says. He is currently involved as a partner in three business projects in Latin America related to innovation, the food industry, and modern technologies.
Bioarroz, presented at the Global Forum of Innovations in Agriculture 2015 in Abu Dhabi, is an ambitious project that could generate “major improvements for global agriculture”, he asserts. “In Colombia, we have developed and patented a process to transform rice husks into high-quality organic fertilizer, an innovative solution that simultaneously deals with the accumulation of this waste (particularly problematic in Africa and Asia), and improves agricultural production outputs on the land treated with the fertilizer obtained”, he explains. He would like to see this system applied by rice producers around the world.
In addition, in the coming weeks, his Cafe8coffee product will be launched. This is the first luxury coffee liqueur; a limited edition produced in Colombia that will be sold in Bogota airport, he says.
At the same time, he is in charge of the knowledge management department at Solutions Tech, a software company for accounting and tax consultancy organisations and services, where he is developing the Bsmooth methodology and software, a cloud platform to manage the activities of various organizations. This project, developed in Guatemala, is to be introduced in Panama first and then in Europe, he says.
– Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
– I don’t think I have become an entrepreneur. I believe it is an attitude that I have always had. I’m very curious, and I like to turn things around in my mind, and I find it difficult to follow orders; therefore, what motivates me when I work is to do things myself and so I open my own businesses. I believe that if I’m going to spend X hours a day working on a project, I should feel comfortable with it and feel like I’m doing something important for me. Choosing to be an entrepreneur is the best option for that. In the end, it is about choosing freedom before security regarding work; and that was my choice.
– Is it easier to be an entrepreneur outside of Spain?
– It is difficult to answer that question because I have never been a businessman in Spain. However, I do think that there are advantages in developing countries with regard to Europe because the market is less developed in general and there are more opportunities. Let’s say that there is “a lot of work still to be done”. In addition, in Latin America, the simple fact of being European is an advantage, as you automatically earn additional respect, which always helps.
– What difficulties have you encountered when opening and running these businesses?
– There are many difficulties. First of all, and perhaps the most important aspect, is to find the right partners with whom you share values, ideas, objectives, and a way of working. In addition, when running a business, you must be willing to do any type of job (legal issues, product development, marketing, sales, customer service, etc.), whatever it takes. Being an entrepreneur is not only about having an idea and implementing it; it is mainly about being prepared to change and adapt, to try and try again until you find your place in the market and become successful. When you’re an entrepreneur, you can never get away from work because these are your projects and they become part of your life. Although I’m not sure whether this a hindrance or an advantage, because, in the end, you create a routine that you like, it’s no longer an effort to go to work on Mondays, and that’s really a good feeling.
– What are your professional challenges and ambitions?
– My main goal is to ensure that my projects are well-established and operating autonomously before I’m 35 (so that I do not have to work on them), which will enable me to travel and dedicate my time to social projects, but with financial peace of mind thanks to the income from my companies. That’s what I’m working on!