I recently had a chat with 20 year old student/entrepreneur Daniel Gómez Iñiguez. Daniel is the Co-founder of Solben, a company that designs and manufactures a press that extracts oil from plants to produce diesel fuel.
Today, Daniel and Solben has over 15 full-time employees. The company did more than $1 million in revenue in 2010 and the partners predict $3 million in sales this year.
Hi Daniel, can you quickly give us some background information about yourself before we move on?
I am student of Chemical Engineering in Mexico. I started my first company SOLBEN about 4 years ago. I am 20 years old.
When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Since I was young I have loved creating businesses, I think you never know you want to be an entrepreneur, you just do it.
Tell us about Solben and how the idea came about?
Some years ago, Me and my business partners realized that Mexico were the only distributors of International technology for countries such as Germany, England and South America for the renewable energy sector. They were expensive and the service was very inefficient. So we decided to develop our own Mexican Technology to demonstrate that in Mexico we could also create competitive innovations for the world.
Have you been able to cope with education and running a business?
Yes, if you are efficient there is time for everything.
Did you raise money to launch the company?
No, none at all, we started by selling, asking for money in advance and reinvesting the profit to grow the company.
What would you say was probably the most difficult part of starting the business?
Execution. A lot of people haves great ideas, but the ones that take them to execution are the successful ones.
What’s the toughest feedback you’ve ever received and how did you learn from it?
Well I learned from Peter Thomas, that there are 5 bases of an entrepreneurial life: Values, Focus, Vision, Transmit and Reflect.
Tell us some of the key lessons you've learnt so far on your journey as an entrepreneur?
I have learned that nothing is impossible, it doesn’t matter where you are or what your age is, if you have a clear goal you would reach it. I have learned that success is not money, but the number of lives you change through the path of success that would never end. Finally I had realized that you make businesses to learn and not to make money. If you learn every day, money would come by itself.
What would you say has been your most memorable moment so far?
Raising my hand at the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange.
How do you stay grounded with your recent success in business?
Well I am sure I still had done nothing I would like to do for the world, so I stay focused working on my goal.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 years?
I want to demonstrate that before 25 you could take a Mexican Company to the Stock exchange. I have four years before that, so I am just working hard towards it.
What can we be expecting from you in the future?
I expect to increase the quality of life of people in my country and then of the entire world. I am sure SOLBEN is not the only company with high impact I would do, so I see myself working on other ideas that can transform the world for the better.
What advices can you give to entrepreneurs out there looking to get involved in this industry?
The function of a great leader is to create more leaders and not more followers. Create of the people around you leaders, to be successful.