Tim Vieira founded Brave Generation Academy, a different way of teaching and experiences for students. Tim explained a little bit more about this innovative project and some steps of his career.
The Portugal News (TPN): When did you start gaining interest in business?
Tim Vieira: I have been interested in business from as early as I can remember, I was always doing business because I understood that it was the only way I could be independent and get to do what I wanted, so it started really early. I can remember doing business at probably around the age of 12 when I was doing little things that started teaching me that having a little bit of income. Then I just kept growing, going from one project to another, to different industries, I've done quite different things in different industries as well, I worked with all sorts of different people, I've employed over 4,000 different people, it's been quite a journey until today, but I think all I've done in the past has got me ready for today. I love what I’m doing and it's great when you're doing something and see it makes a difference and people are grateful for it. I think it's what's driving me now, working in education and throwing away the box and doing education in a more inclusive way.
TPN: Do you enjoy teaching people about business? Teaching how to start one, for example?
TV: I enjoy teaching people how to find their purpose and then knowing how to work with others and get somewhere in life. I think I do that in many ways, not just with Brave Generation Academy, I've done that throughout my life. I've mentored countless amounts of youngsters who've done startups. I've always been very much into helping, but also because I've gone through things myself, I've been through a hole and I've had to get out of it, I had to adapt, I had to think outside the box, I had to say sorry and move forward, I've had to lose and move forward, I've had to forget to move forward.
“I'll be in the Shark Tank for the rest of my life”.
TPN: Is that why you decided to join Shark Tank?
TV: Yes, I thought I could inspire young people that were looking at doing business. I think Shark Tank happened at a very tough time in the Portuguese economy, it was down, there was very little hope, and it was important we start believing in people again. We need people to change their mindsets, to change their modus operandi, we wanted to change something, and that's what I enjoy doing, making people start believing in themselves again. I think I've been doing Shark Tank my whole life. I've invested in many businesses, I've lost in many businesses, and we've had success in some, but I've always been backing and pushing, trying to get us to the finish line. I think Shark Tank didn't start when I did it the first time, and I don't think it will ever finish, I'll be in the Shark Tank for the rest of my life.
TPN: On your website it says you focus a lot of your projects in Africa, can you explain why you invest so much in the continent?
TV: My heart is a big heart. I have Africa in my heart, and I have Portugal in my heart. And, obviously, I know Africa is the future in many ways, it's got so many young people, it's got a big market and there is still so much that it needs, and Africa could be complaining about what they don't have, but actually, they're grateful for what they have and they're working hard to get more, and I think in Europe sometimes we're tired, we blame and wait for everybody else to do something for us, in Africa you don't, you do it yourself and find people who work with you to do something. I think Africa in the future will be working for Silicon Valley, doing programming.
TPN: Can you explain what the Brave Generation Academy (BGA) is?
TV: The BGA is a different way of doing school. More flexible, and more relevant in today's world. We look at young teenagers and they're not happy with the way they're doing school, having to do tests and the things they're studying and how they're studying, at BGA it's a lot more flexible. We do these labs where we have learning coaches that are there for more than just your school, they're there to help you find your purpose, get experiences, give back to the community, to learn skills in sports, and music.
TPN: Are your kids or family involved in your projects?
TV: My co-CEO is my wife. She's been there from the start. She listens to me day and night, at home and at the office. She's an incredible asset to BGA, she runs the things I don't like to run, like back-office, payments and all kinds of stuff. It's not just my family. My team is unbelievable. When I see their enthusiasm and hard work, it's unbelievable.
Tim Vieira is a passionate traveller, who aims to find new realities and apply them to his work, trying to turn the world into a better place.