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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Millionaire thanks to an airport telephone

Por MRod

Between the language business and his football club, the life of Flavio Augusto da Silva goes on. The entrepreneur keeps updated a blog called "Valuation Generation", which aims to give advice and encourage young people who want to become businesspersons. "I see my trajectory as proof that everyone is capable of achieving it," he says.

When he was 19, he got a job selling English courses on the phone and, although there was not one in his house, he decided that this would not be an impediment to achieve his goal. Flavio Augusto da Silva belonged to Rio de Janeiro and his parents could not afford a telephone line. According to the report by BBC, this was a luxury in 1991 Brazil. His family did not have the US $ 960 that was worth the installation of the service and, although they had had the money, there was a waiting list of two years. As cell phones remained an almost futuristic artifact for most of the population, Da Silva had to find a solution to be able to do his job. Then he came up with the idea of using the public telephones that existed at the Santos Dumonty airport to transform the air terminal into his new office. Today the entrepreneur has his own English school, Wiser Education, with annual sales of US $ 113 million. And his personal fortune is estimated at US $ 300 million. "I have no doubt that I found my destination in that airport," says the 46-year-old entrepreneur.

When the telemarketing challenge began, Da Silva realized that he had the skills to sell English courses despite the incessant noise of the airport. He rapidly turned into the commercial director of the business and four years later he decided to create his own school. "I felt I was ready," he says. "The company where I worked was not willing to make the necessary investments to improve the quality of the courses." "I knew the product and I knew I could do it." The first challenge was that, despite having skills to sell English courses, I barely knew a couple of words of that language. The second was that, since he could not get a bank loan, he had to use the US $ 5,500 from his line of credit paying a high interest rate. Da Silva hired 18 people to develop pedagogical materials and their own methodology, betting that they would have enough demand to not go bankrupt in a few months. He launched its Wise Up business English school, aimed at adults looking for work. Although Brazil was going through a difficult economic time, nearly 1,000 people enrolled in the first year. Three years later, Da Silva had a network of 24 schools in different cities across the country and in 2012 introduced the franchise model, a strategy that allowed him to open 400 branches.

When he reached that point of growth, the entrepreneur decided that he had already done his job in the company and set new horizons. "I want to create a successful project and then I go for new challenge." That same year he sold Wise Up to the Brazilian group Abril for US $ 240 million. In 2013, he invested US $ 120 million to become the majority shareholder of the Orlando City club, shortly before the team entered Major League Soccer, the most important league in American football. But Wise Up returned to him at half a price. Under his leadership, the firm began to expand again. Today it has 440 schools in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, managed by the Wiser Education associate group. And Da Silva has set a goal of having 1,000 branches in Latin America in 2020. For some, dreams have a way of coming true.