It starts with a single idea, one fortified over time through action. Before long, a concept turns into a company, and the entrepreneurial journey begins. Most business owners look to the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) for the direction they need along the way. For those entrepreneurs still attending high school, college or university, they use the EO Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (EO GSEA) as their compass, where they receive the resources and mentorship needed to truly thrive.
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In many ways, entrepreneurship is a singular journey, one ventured by a lone visionary who sees obstacles as opportunities. When that journey is shared with the world, something magical happens. Just ask Anju Rupal, an EO Switzerland – Zürich member, serial entrepreneur and founder of Abhati Suisse, the first skincare line with a social responsibility bent. In this interview, Anju opens up about her philanthropic expedition, the merits of pursuing beauty with dignity, and how through cosmetics, she’s giving people the keys to end an overlooked global crisis.
You’re a longtime entrepreneur with a number of successful businesses under your belt. How did you transition into social entrepreneurship?
“The social responsibility seed was planted almost 25 years ago, when I was visiting India for the first time. As I was walking down the street, a woman approached me and asked if I could watch her two babies while she found a place to go to the bathroom. I was shocked! It had never occurred to me that there were a significant lack of toilets in India, and that not only did people defecate openly, it was a way of life. I found myself returning to India for business later in life, only to find that nothing had changed. People were still going to the bathroom in public, and it was even being recorded on cell phones and shared inappropriately. I knew that I had to do something to contribute to a solution. I just didn’t know how.
In the March issue of Octane, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s (EO) award-winning member magazine, we interviewed Gaurav Agarwal, an EO Kolkata member and chair of the 2014 EO Regional Integration Event (RIE), about the value of hosting a regional event, the importance of getting the most out of EO membership and the impact of global learning. The 2014 EO RIE was held 9-12 January in Kolkata, India. Here’s a snapshot of the event’s impact and a sneak peek at our special interview:
Nick Friedman is hard to miss. You can recognize him by his tan pants, lava-orange shirt and the smile that wraps around his face like a scarf. To the employees operating out of his College Hunks Hauling Junk headquarters in Tampa, Florida, USA, the sight is every bit as common as the palm trees that pepper the local landscape. As the co-founder and president of the largest US-based junk-removal and moving service, smiling has become second nature for the EO Central Florida member…like breathing, blinking or ruminating about business during a culinary chomp in nearby Ybor City.
In all corners of the world, entrepreneurs are playing an integral role in the development of communities, economies and industries. And it all starts with engagement. For Rosemary Tan, a member of EO Malaysia and EO’s Global Chairman, the art of engaging has helped her find success and significance in business and beyond. In this featured interview, Rosemary shares the highs and lows of her entrepreneurial journey, the value of EO leadership and how through engagement, she continues to find new value in herself, her business and her life.
Your family has played—and continues to play—a major role in your life, encouraging you to get the most out of everything you do. How have they contributed to your success?
RT: I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my family. I am the oldest of six siblings, and am blessed to have everyone so close by; we stay in touch regularly and meet every Sunday for a three-generation dinner. My grandma taught me how to seize every opportunity and ‘taste’ everything in life at least once. My dad, who was a successful entrepreneur, taught me the value of hard work and that experience is the best MBA you can get. And my mom, who’s a paraplegic, taught me the power of perspective and to always lend a helping hand. I am truly blessed for the strong foundation my family has given me, as well as the many lessons they’ve provided over the years. My family inspires me to engage the world every day to see what it has in store.