Young Upstarts

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[INTERVIEW] Bobby Genovese On Ecotourism, Business Leadership And Giving Back

A businessman by nature living in the Bahamas and avid equestrian and philanthropist at heart, Robert Genovese, or Bobby as his friends call him, is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and developed a range of businesses throughout the span of his career. At the age of 25, Genovese founded his first company in his home of Ontario, Canada.

Today, with years of experience in tow, Bobby Genovese spends most of his time helping other entrepreneurs achieve their goals, as well as working on his various philanthropic efforts.

Among his passions, Genovese is also concerned about land conservation, and has partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with the mission to protect ecotourism land and waterscapes of several Florida state parks.

Genovese also dedicates his time and resources to supporting Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. He has also been a chair of the annual Car and Boat Rally Scavenger Cups, which began in 2007, and has helped raise more than $16 million for the hospital’s cancer research efforts.

We sat down with Bobby Genovese to gain his insight on both entrepreneurship and the importance of giving back.

You started your own business at the young age of 25.  What were some of the challenges you faced at the beginning of your career and how would you do things differently today?

Bobby Genovese: Well, I think every entrepreneur has the best intentions of what they hope their company will do. Back then I was so streamlined focused on growing my business that I forgot to look at the bigger picture.  You have to be able to look ahead and ask yourself, What’s next?  How will I achieve those larger goals?

I think the most important thing is that you truly love what you do and you’re passionate about it.  Building a new company and leading it takes a lot of work and there are plenty of obstacles along the way.  Having passion for what you’re doing makes it a lot easier to overcome the obstacles that you will inevitably have to confront.

In a competitive world that is in a constant phase of evolution, what advice do you give entrepreneurs hoping to break into the business world?

Bobby Genovese:  Find a good mentor. As an entrepreneur, you already have an independent streak as well as the drive and passion for whatever business you are trying to establish. However, there will come a time when you hit those inevitable low points, and you won’t be exactly sure what steps to take next.  When you reach that point in your journey, it’s important to have a business mentor to help. A mentor is anyone in your industry with more experience than you and who are invested in your success. They need to have a deep understanding of your field of work that you don’t quite have yet. Go to them. You’ll be grateful for the advice.

Echoing philanthropists around the globe, you have said that giving back is a privilege.  Why do you feel charity work is important and how do you encourage other entrepreneurs to get involved?

Bobby Genovese:  Entrepreneurs, with their creative-minds and unrelenting drive, already have the means to invest in community projects and provide financial support to local charities. This enables further development beyond their own ventures. The qualities that define an entrepreneur are the same qualities that should motivate them to pay it forward.

Ecotourism is: “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”  Your involvement with ecotourism in Florida is encouraging.  Why has bringing an awareness to this issue been important to you?

Bobby Genovese:  As someone who has been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit, I was given a tremendous appreciation for the diverse cultures and wildlife on our planet. Simply put, ecotourism creates value for natural areas that remain pristine, unaltered, and natural.  We’ve got to be able to protect the land and waterscapes around us while attracting people to enjoy their beauty and ensuring accessibility to visitors.

Social responsibility is about everyone playing their part in society and giving back to worthy causes.  How can this be accomplished within a business organization?

Bobby Genovese: Again, get involved with the community.  Support health research, sponsor a child in need, go out and start a community garden, organize a sporting event and raise funds for a charity – any of these initiatives will get your people out of the office and into the community to lend a helping hand.  This not only demonstrates how successful we can be in coming together for a common cause, it also shows how necessary it is for each of us to be involved as a society.

 

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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