Interview with Carlota Corzo, CEO and Co-Founder of Lazzaro
Lazzaro is one of the projects that has made its way through Social Nest Foundation’sRaise for Impact program, which trains impact entrepreneurs in how to prepare for their first round of investment.
Lazzaro is a technology-based social company that has developed a SaaS application for helping NGOs raise funds digitally in a sustainable and transparent way. Its technology allows NGOs to easily and conveniently create a fundraising platform with all the functionality they might need (donation, crowdfunding, events, partners, etc.).
We interviewed Carlota Corzo, its CEO and Co-Founder, to learn a little more about this amazing entrepreneur, the challenges she has had to face when it comes to entrepreneurship and what she gained by going through our Raise for Impact program.
Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur? Were you born an entrepreneur or did you make yourself into one?
I am now, yes, the truth is, it's been hard for me. Ever since I was young, the concept of entrepreneurship has always been something I've been very respectful of, especially the idea of uncertainty. In fact, at home growing up everyone was self-employed and working in the tourism sector, so entrepreneurship for me meant 24/7, no breaks and getting sick was never an option. But the truth is, without even realizing it I had been an entrepreneur my entire life, ever since I was a little girl, always creating new things and looking for ways to add value. Or later on, while I was studying, by setting up NGOs and starting up a whole host of projects. Today, I view entrepreneurship not so much as a person who sets up a company (which is also true) but rather as a way of being completely bound up in the need to create and, as was my case, even when working as an employee I always had several other open projects or initiatives. I don't know whether you are born one or make yourself into one, I guess it's a combination. In my case, it was a process of discovering what had always been there, which was the need to create.
How did you come up with the idea to create your project?
In the case of Lazzaro, as I mentioned, I've created 3 NGOs and have always been involved in the social sector. At first, what we focused on was the idea of transparency. That is, how can something so pure as a person donating their time/money not come with guarantees as to where it goes? And more than anything, having the technologies needed to guarantee it in today's world?
What are the biggest challenges you've had to face while leading your own project?
Truth be told, challenges exist everywhere at all times; luck, in my opinion, is being able to overcome them creatively, that is, nobody knows the solution, instead you have to come up with it yourself. I actually think the things I am working on the most are creativity and being able to manage all these situations with the least possible stress (which I am quite proud of). I am also lucky to have a multidisciplinary team that believes in me, and in that aspect, I value collective intelligence a great deal. Not having to know everything but instead being able to rely on people who provide you the resources to have that strategic vision.
What do you consider has been decisive to growing your company?
Resilience (laughs) and, intimately linked to that, passion.
In our case, we have never received private funding and have managed to juggle it all ourselves, nor did we have economic resources to invest, but we did have knowledge and drive. In this respect, we have faced very big challenges along the way, and that resilience mixed with passion, and knowing it made sense, have been super important. In this respect, I want to emphasize that really, anyone who wants to can carry out an entrepreneurial project, the important thing in the end is, how to generate enough cash flow until I get it right enough to be able to continue to keep my life up.
What would you recommend to someone thinking about starting up a business?
In line with the previous question, they should do some self-analysis, what does their current situation look like and what's the right way to start a business that they are going to feel good about doing.
What did the ‘Raise for Impact’ program provide you as an entrepreneur?
More than anything else, it provided some background as an initial guide. It was one of the first accelerators we were in and it helped us understand everything we had to figure out and of course, information is power!
What did the program provide to your project?
The chance to see the project from the outside and structurally.