Andre Leonardo - Making Things Happen!

IJ Anita Tejwani
Published on: 13th April 2015
Born and raised on the Azores Islands in Portugal, Andre Leonardo, 25, has travelled more than 50 countries. He is an entrepreneur, an optimist and a dreamer who strongly believes in MAKING THINGS HAPPEN!

The need to do something different had well ignited in him from a tender age of 6. He started a cheese factory at his home and would also go to sell flowers to the neighbours, and at other times, he would sell ice-creams on the beach. All these he did because they were fun to him but he wouldn’t do anything for business or money. Money was just a consequence of what he was doing.

His best supporters would be his parents, “Whenever I wanted to do something different, my parents would always encourage me to try it even if it was something stupid,” he laughs. This support from friends and family has always stayed with him in his journey of trying different things and succeeding at them.

“Sometimes, it seems really difficult to just make things happen even if you possess the confidence and drive to make them happen and this forces us to think- “Am I crazy?” and in such stages the supporters and inspirations play a vital role,” mentions Andre.

As he always had this hunger of doing something, he organized two non-profit international events while studying at the University. They were among the biggest events in the world but the most amazing part of organizing the event on Azores Islands was the population on this island which was 53000, and the tickets to the event were sold out 15 days before it took place. The event was completely full with 600 people. “It was amazing as 1% of the total population was attending that event. In the US this sounds crazy!!” smiles Andre.
Andre Leonardo
At the age of 21 when he organized the two non-profit events in 2011 and 2012, where Andre invited speakers from all over the world to change the perspectives of entrepreneurship, it was loved by people of Portugal.

Andre has been developing projects to foster the entrepreneurship activity in the Azores Island and has helped many people start their businesses and also come up with some NGOs. He then started the “BE BOLD” movement which is an inspirational movement to make people believe that it’s possible to get a better life and it’s possible to achieve goals. “Since 2008, Portugal has faced economic crisis and the urge to make people see the other phase of things and make them believe that in times of crisis too they can achieve what they desire gave birth to the BE BOLD movement,” narrates Andre.

It was similar to the saying - ‘you can cry when things are not going well or you can sell napkins for people to cry on’. He believes that every time there is a second vision and some other way to reach what was aimed. Continuing with this belief, he took up a project: A round the world tour reporting the most inspirational real entrepreneurship stories to inspire other entrepreneurs! During this tour he visited 23 countries across the world in a period of one year and interviewed the top CEOs and business people from different economies who have millions in their bank accounts from the Silicon Valley. He visited India and Africa to witness and interview people who earn their living by selling fruits or purses on the streets. “The goal of this project was to show the world how people are entrepreneurs in their own way and successful too, and how they are inspiring and have the never give up attitude,” says Andre Leonardo who took a bag pack and a camera and travelled the four corners of this world to inspire entrepreneurship.

Initially, the plan was to cover 100 inspiring stories from 20 countries but it happened so that the impact of the tour was reflected much on international media due to which people started following Andre and then came sponsors who wanted him to visit their countries which made it finally to touring 23 countries and Andre interviewed around 143 entrepreneurs. “The most difficult phase wasn’t the tour but to start the tour by finding sponsors, but with my belief I have succeeded in making this happen. In the end, the sponsors were super happy, the media coverage was incredible and the stories were just unbelievable. The travel has been one of the most adventurous part of my life and an incredible one!!” he says proudly.

“I have fears just like someone else, but I have never let these fears interfere in my ways of life. But the best of times when I am totally fearless is when I am with my family and friends, and after being away from them for a year I love being with my family more.”
Andre shares an instance which inspired him deeply on his tour to 23 countries. On his visit to Tanzania, he met a guy of 30 who spoke the native language of Swahili and wasn’t introduced to English by the age of 10. He narrated his story to Andre which goes this way. He lived in a small village in the South of Tanzania where they spoke in some dialect which wasn’t Swahili, nor did he know English. Till the age of 10, this guy had never witnessed electricity. He happened to go to his Aunt’s village where she was a school teacher. This school generated electricity by using solar panels. This was the first time he had witnessed light. He was amazed and thought that that was crazy!! He thought that there was another way to produce electricity. He then travelled back to his village and went to the library and found an old book which was left there by some European traveller. This book was about electricity and manufacturing of solar panels. He used whatever he found, be it parts of his bicycle or some things from the streets, and he actually manufactured the first solar panel in his village which generated a little bit of light, that too at just a tender age of 10. The surprising fact was- the book was in English and he had manufactured this solar panel by just looking at the images in the book as he wasn’t able to understand English.  

“He had no experience, no resources, no help from anyone; yet, at just the age of 10 he was an entrepreneur on his own, and I feel this is real entrepreneurship which means - having the desire, drive and passion to making things happen be it in any field!” says Andre Leonardo.

“My message to people would be to get inspired from this guy and not to complain about the problems; rather, find solutions and actually make their dreams happen in reality,”- Andre Leonardo.
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