“It was during a school project, that gave me the opportunity to start my own business, sell a product and draft a marketing plan, that I realised entrepreneurship is what I am good at and what I like doing.”
In his final year, he worked alongside his friends on a number of business projects but despite those experiences, Filip feels there was not enough encouragement for young people to become entrepreneurs: “In Sweden and I think a lot of other countries you’re taught that you have two ways: study something for a long time or go work for a long time. We don’t talk too much about starting your own business right after school.”
However, the lack of conversation surrounding entrepreneurship did not thwart Filip’s ambition. Instead of going to university Filip went straight to work and waited for a good time to take the first step on his entrepreneurial path. It did not take too long, after just six months working as a sales representative at a boat company, Filip got a call from a business contact and together they started Städarna i Motala.
Filip was up for the challenge, and from the start was ambitious, he recalls: “A local newspaper came to interview us about the new cleaning business, Städarna i Motala. The headline indicated that we would employ 15 people in one year. I started with zero, so I had a lot of pressure, but we started doing our thing and it went really well. Now, one and a half years later, we have 20 employees.”
Filip’s company has seen significant growth in a short period of time, but throughout his journey he has had NyföretagarCentrum Sverige, Youth Business International’s member in Sweden, in partnership with the Citi Foundation, at his side. The young entrepreneur discovered the organisation at a business fair in secondary school, and when he started his own business he contacted them right away. He signed up for their mentorship programme and feels incredibly grateful to have mentors in his life. “I think mentorship is one of the big keys to success as an entrepreneur and I think it’s good to have more than just one.”
He meets with his mentors on a weekly basis and learns from their wealth of experience in the cleaning sector. He also asks them questions about leadership, time management and more. He wants to see his business continue to expand and grow and relies on having a mentor there to ask questions.
Because the cleaning sector is growing a lot in Sweden, Filip finds it a very interesting realm to work in. “If you look back 10 years ago, it was so different, so undeveloped, and I think we can make a big change in the cleaning sector as well. The opportunity is ahead of us.” Filip’s company currently operates in four cities, and he has big plans to expand in the future.
When reflecting upon what he considers to be his greatest fulfilment as an entrepreneur, Filip admitted that his answer has changed a lot over the past year. “In the beginning, I was like, yeah, you will earn money and be successful, but now I think to build something is the best fulfilment of being an entrepreneur. Also the people that you meet and work with, the people you succeed with .”
Filip is unlike most 20 year olds in Sweden; he does not know many people who started their own businesses right after school. But he enjoys the challenge and working alongside people with the same mindset and goals that he has.
Filip's experiences at school helped prepare him for being an entrepreneur, not just the good, but also the bad - the fear of failure. His message to other young entrepreneurs is to meet new challenges with the knowledge that failure is an important learning experience.
“Try and start. When you’re young, you don’t have too much to lose. I think it’s better to go out and do your thing and try, and you will fail a lot of times but you will never succeed if you don’t try.”
NyföretagarCentrum Sverige is part of the Youth Business Europe programme, a regional initiative supported by the Citi Foundation to help young entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.