Colombian lawyer Felipe is father to three beautiful girls (Isabella, Sophia and Ariana). He is passionate about encouraging the next generation to become true entrepreneurs and to follow their dreams. He outsmarted Lord Sugar in series 10 of The Apprentice (and paid the price). His motto is “the harder you work, the luckier you get”.
- What has been your Best Life Project to date?
As an aspiring entrepreneur, creating Tiny Town, one of the biggest indoor play areas in the country. Starting from scratch, we built it with the help of our family who put their houses and jobs on the line. Tiny Town was extremely innovative as it was designed by us to be a “W” so that children, especially children with autism did not feel trapped and were able to see the outside at all times.
- The unknown … what challenges did you have to overcome?
The biggest challenge (which we are still trying to overcome) is COVID. The uncertainty and Government lockdowns deeply affected us and the business, not being able to be there for our clients and the community. We are trying to overcome the pandemic, but sadly at the moment, we have not been able to do so and our business may not survive.
- In hindsight…..what would you do differently?
Create bigger spaces for children under the age of two. When we created Tiny Town we thought that older children (8-12) would become our main clients. However, it became very clear that during the week, the main “clients” were children under two years old. You learn every day!
- Next steps?
We are working with our lenders, employees and the community to see if there is any way that we can re-open again. The key issue that we are discussing is whether we can open and continue being commercially viable.
- From lockdown ……what lifestyle changes has lockdown made you consider?
Appreciate freedom a lot more. Appreciate business and being able to trade freely. Before lockdown we took things for granted. What is clear is that in business there are external factors that you can not plan for. Also, you realise that even if you have a great business and have not done anything wrong, an act of nature can end it.
- Kissing frogs …. is there an unexpected person who has helped you and, if so, how did they do it?
Someone that works in the council. He has been amazing trying to find sources of funding, business networks and giving us ideas. In the current circumstances you feel extremely lonely and lost. Finding someone that helps you makes a huge difference.
- My Inspiration ….who or what inspires you?
My mum raised me and my sister and brother. On her own, she was able to be a “Mum” and a “dad” and to provide us with everything that we ever needed. She is also my “business partner” and always has support for all our crazy ideas.
- How do you relax or do you struggle to relax?
I struggle to relax. I need to be doing something at all times. Time is precious and it’s the only thing that we have. I want to maximise time as much as I can.
- Guilty secret pleasure?
Writing. I love writing and reading biographies. Recently I finally published my book – The Third Option: Entrepreneurship. The book is all about creating a new generation of entrepreneurs.
10. Words of wisdom
The more you work the luckier you get. I believe that “luck” is a product of hard work.