How a Teenage Entrepreneur Found His Life-Calling at the Airport

Flavio Augusto da Silva and his Family

Despite having no personal phone, the young focused entrepreneur conducted a job for selling language courses through the telephone at the Airport

Back in 1991 Flavio Augusto da Silva at 19 was lucky enough to get a job in school teaching English, telesales position, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As a telesales person, the position required him to work from home reason being the role didn’t come up with the office structure. This was a big challenge to him because his parents had no landline telephone at home.

These household phone lines were a luxurious item back then. It was so expensive to buy and it came with installation charges. Even if there was money to buy it, it could have taken long for it to be installed, maybe 2 years on the waiting list.

As a vast thing, mobile phones were of future and Mr. Augusto had to act so quickly to retain his position or else, he would not last long. As a solution, he had to rush and make a transport hub his office, from the nearby Rio’s Santos Dumont Airport.

He discovered that he was rather good at selling places in English language classes, despite the busy airport noises in the background. He was so focused that he quickly rose up to the position of Commercial Director. With his skilled experience, Augusto seriously planned to start up his own business.

He knew he could do it, as the company he was working with was too slow to upgrade its standards and also improve the quality of their courses. He knew the secret of success and he was ready to lay his own foundation.

Though he had to be a sole proprietor, it was hard for him to commence as he knew a few words in English and furthermore, devising actual learning materials will be a challenge. The second challenge was accessing a bank loan. So he had to rely on $20,000 overdraft, paying a very high-interest rate.

He at once launched his own business, named it Wise up, and hired 18 people with skills in English, and knew he will not go just bust after several months. His focus was to attract different customers from different language schools in Brazil. He focused mainly on adult people, teach them English to secure jobs in Brazil, different from other neighboring schools which taught children and people going abroad.

Despite tough economic inflation times in Brazil in the same year, that is 1995, rating to around 148%, over a thousand people signed up for Wise up classes the first year. This created an immense employment to 24 Wise up Schools, as it had disintegrated, and employed 1000 people across Brazil.

The Wise Up expanded so fast that within two years it opened over 400 branches across the country, by then 2012. From the company he was working with, he wanted to resign as he now saw himself as a contractor entrepreneur, and had the ambition to build successful projects and face the challenge.

In the same year, he went ahead and sold his company, Wise up, to Brazilian media conglomerate Grupo Abril, about $480m. Mr. Augusto went ahead and bought Orlando City for $120m, a majority stake in the US side, before joining the Major League Soccer. Through the recent years, the Orlando City has grown to an extent its value is figured at $490m, leading in MLS. The reason he chose the City is that of destinations for the Brazilians.

Back to Wise up business, still under Grupo Abril’s ownership, there was mismanagement and the business failed to grow as planned under Grupo. There was a struggle in itself which led to selling it back to Mr. Augusto, at $107m, the quarter of which Augusto sold it.

In his renewed ownership, Mr. Augusto has increased it to 440 branches, across Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and Mexico. He has a dream by 2020, he will have increased them to 1000 branches, and he has no hopes of selling it again.

From analyst Ricard Motta, “Augusto has a quick reputation act who within no time reversed the business solution to normal again, as his plan for the business was held in advance”

Flavio Augusto da Silva and the Orlando City Football Team

This busy man with now both at hand Language business and football club advice the young entrepreneurs who are ready to tarmac a long journey to success. He regularly advices through his online blog “Valuation Generation” which is an advisory blog.

“I don’t feel I’m better than anyone. It’s only a matter of learning how to do it,” says the proud father of three.

As now the father of three, his trajectory proof is that everyone is capable to make it in life as long as you are ready to learn and make use of your experience.#Rewordit


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