From Household Company to Local weather Tech, This Macedonian Founder Shares Her Journey to Affect Entrepreneurship

Skopje-primarily based organization developer and venture manager Olga Rajcic never intended to grow to be a section of the tech field. For most of her vocation, Rajcic centered on establishing her family members small business, as effectively as working on a number of social entrepreneurship initiatives. 

However, all of this adjusted in 2018, when she met her fellow co-founders of Challenger – a cellular app that motivates its users to walk, run or bicycle more, and get rewarded for it by having price reduction codes for items and companies in regional organizations. 

Right now, Challenger has quite a few thousand end users in North Macedonia who have traveled far more than 1 million kilometers and somewhere around 6,000t/m3 of carbon dioxide have been saved working with the application. 

In an job interview with The Recursive, Rajcic talks about her entrepreneurial journey, motives and inspiration for performing what she does now, the potential of Climate Tech, and more. 

The Recursive: How did you arrive up to your recent situation as a founder of Challenger?

Olga Rajcic: I had by no means experienced a clear intention to have a vocation in the tech field, rather I constantly required to acquire or grow a business enterprise. Immediately after finishing my grasp research, I started off operating in my loved ones business enterprise, but I was constantly searching for a new profession challenge and particular expansion. The hunger for expertise, new impactful assignments and new ordeals is what led me to go to Startup Weekend Skopje 2018. 

At this event I satisfied Stefan and Teodora (Challenger’s co-founders). This weekend has modified my job absolutely and took me to my entrepreneurial journey. My preceding experienced and volunteer working experience shaped obviously my situation in my crew (accountable for enterprise dev, marketing and advertising and group management).

If I search again at Olga in 2018 and the man or woman I have become nowadays, I would say I am grateful currently due to the fact I have entered into a totally new market and discovered so quite a few new capabilities and company serious-lifetime classes. Extra are about to occur, and I can’t wait around to see exactly where all of this will guide me.

From Family Business to Climate Tech, This Macedonian Founder Shares Her Journey to Impact Entrepreneurship,

When it arrives to Local climate Tech, how would you amount the potential that the Western Balkans have when it arrives to implementing this kind of alternatives, apps and so on?

Every yr we are witnessing new progressive apps and tech alternatives around the area that are tackling local weather improve and protection of the setting. We are confronted with numerous current market gaps, thanks to undesirable implementation of laws, which leaves area for creative minds and entrepreneurs to remedy these problems by using know-how. 

I am assured that the Western Balkans have excellent young entrepreneurs, specially in the area of local climate tech, nevertheless we want aid to get our options to extra developed markets and broaden our affect. We undoubtedly have to have room for recognition and sharing our lessons, achievement moments and failures in purchase to study from every other, and husband or wife for bigger effects. Only by sharing our stories can we even more inspire other people to be section of local weather tech, and convince them that inventive and big matters can also be constructed in this region.

I am proud of my group, simply because we never gave up, specially in all those moments when men and women and our potential customers could not see the reward of our product or service and were being skeptical simply because they were being worried to implement something new. Following COVID-19 and a number of pivoting, I can finally say that we identified our sector-suit. We say that it is effective and if a person purchases our product or service here on the Balkans, imagine what we can do with it internationally.

What do you see as the principal problems in the field of Weather Tech appropriate now?

Unfortunately, climate tech goods are nevertheless not perceived as a necessity in the B2B market, but instead as “nice to have” resources. This is a little something we are hoping with my group to get over in the future months, by incorporating much more functions and creating our product or service far more appealing to our focus on shoppers. 

In addition, we are surely living in the most complicated moments in the new background, which would make other difficulties to be precedence of the agenda of each individual place and business having said that, local weather transform and means to tackle it is some thing that we want to choose treatment of no matter what. In the next few of yrs there could possibly be a slowdown in the ClimateTech market, nevertheless I do expect that this market is a thing that will flourish in the a long time to appear. 

We really should not forget about that we have a Sustainable Progress Objectives agenda by 2030 where by firms as effectively as engineering have to enjoy a very important role in achieving them. This is why my workforce has a eyesight to make Challenger a software that will aid businesses be element of the SDGs agenda. Undoubtedly there should be more traders and partners in this field in get to develop this form of startups and scale them up.

From Family Business to Climate Tech, This Macedonian Founder Shares Her Journey to Impact Entrepreneurship,
Challenger’s staff

What have been the advantages and negatives of becoming a woman in the startup ecosystem in the Western Balkans from your knowledge so considerably?

I do not consider that there are positive aspects nor down sides of staying a female in the startup ecosystem in the Western Balkans. Startups in the Western Balkans absolutely will need simpler access to more substantial marketplace alternatives and investments for more rapidly progress.

If I can look at the startup advancement from 2019 up until these days, I am grateful that we have extra prospects now, nonetheless we want regional investors to help us in order to increase bigger cash in other ecosystems.

What does a day in your lifestyle look like? Notify us something we do not know about the industry you are working in.

  • Waking up at 6AM and preparing for operate in my household enterprise. 
  • 7-8h Arriving at function and examining all emails, duties and arranging my day
  • 8-10h Coordination of all open responsibilities with my group and responding to e-mails
  • 10-14h Conferences with companions and clientele
  • 14-15 Profits technique
  • 16-17h Stick to-up with my group for what is predicted in the following days
  • 18h – Investing time with relatives and friends 

Two occasions a 7 days I volunteer my time and awareness in numerous NGOs in buy to develop impression in spots exactly where I am not professionally associated on a daily basis. I use Sunday for psychological health and relaxing (placing my aim on the forthcoming functioning 7 days).

What did you want to be growing up and how has this eyesight altered over the yrs?

In the course of my significant school several years, I have volunteered and taken part in numerous impactful assignments. By means of this experience I have realized that it is my phone to make an affect in the modern society I are living in, but it was a query of how I will carry on to do that. 

These ended up the periods when my parents taught me that by becoming a responsible chief and constructing a enterprise that usually takes treatment of its neighborhood, one can have the biggest possible to produce influence in just about every modern society. 

Hence, I always experienced an aspiration to join affect making with owning a small business, and it appears that this paved my way of the place I am right now. Possibly I will test diverse business enterprise products during my occupation, but for 1 I am confident – that my enterprises will generate an impression in their area communities, or even broader.

What is your definition of success?

I have normally tried using to determine success, and realized that is a subjective issue and you cannot put it in one sentence. My journey confirmed me that accomplishment is a journey, and not a closing vacation spot. So, I would alternatively like to set numerous factors that I make the puzzle of accomplishment, individuals becoming:

  • Regard and appreciation for your get the job done from the men and women you are surrounded with – surround your self with individuals that will point out your name in a area entire of possibilities
  • Make an effect (this can be in many sorts) in your neighborhood
  • Deal and defeat all your fears in buy to become the finest model of you
  • Create a enterprise (products/services) that will alter other people’s life and encourage other people
  • Be curious. In no way cease discovering and get all possibilities together the way
  • Under no circumstances give up, and learn from each individual oversight
  • Know how to rest but not quit (overall health and psychological nicely-getting is a priority)
  • Be grateful for just about every phase along your journey

How has technological know-how formed your vocation so significantly?

Technology is shaping our lives not only our professions in the most unforeseen ways. It is apparent that we need to continue to keep speed with technological alterations and discover new abilities in order to continue to be applicable and aggressive in the workforce industry.  

As mentioned previously, I under no circumstances imagined to be included in the tech industry, but it would seem that Challenger has transformed my vocation, thus my existence route. Just one issue is for certain that we can all use engineering for great in purchase to make effects, and I am satisfied that I am section of these types of an entrepreneurial journey.

No make any difference what we carry out with our startup, the tech business is now in my skilled DNA and I simply cannot wait what the foreseeable future will deliver.

What are your skilled objectives for this 12 months?

I am grateful that a lot of of my specialist plans are already obtained this year, but there are couple still left these remaining:

  • Successful partnerships in the 6 nations as Challenger is growing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Albania, and Armenia.
  • Productively complete this calendar year with new purchasers, delighted users and new characteristics.
  • Getting ready Challenger for our following major investment decision and new marketplaces in 2023.
  • Sharing my knowledge through mentorship and consulting with other younger business people.
  • Get surrounded by persons who will encourage me and force me more to new qualified endeavors.