September 29, 2023


The Business & Finance guru

From Household Business enterprise to Local weather Tech, This Macedonian Founder Shares Her Journey to Effects Entrepreneurship

Skopje-based business enterprise developer and challenge supervisor Olga Rajcic hardly ever intended to develop into a element of the tech field. For most of her profession, Rajcic focused on acquiring her loved ones organization, as perfectly as working on many social entrepreneurship jobs. 

On the other hand, all of this altered in 2018, when she fulfilled her fellow co-founders of Challenger – a cell app that motivates its buyers to wander, operate or bicycle additional, and get rewarded for it by obtaining lower price codes for products and solutions and providers in neighborhood firms. 

Now, Challenger has several thousand users in North Macedonia who have traveled a lot more than one million kilometers and around 6,000t/m3 of carbon dioxide have been saved employing the app. 

In an interview with The Recursive, Rajcic talks about her entrepreneurial journey, motives and inspiration for undertaking what she does now, the long term of Local climate Tech, and far more. 

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

Olga Rajcic: I had hardly ever experienced a crystal clear intention to have a job in the tech field, as a substitute I always required to create or increase a small business. Just after ending my master scientific studies, I commenced doing the job in my family company, but I was generally searching for a new job challenge and own expansion. The starvation for awareness, new impactful projects and new encounters is what led me to attend Startup Weekend Skopje 2018. 

At this function I achieved Stefan and Teodora (Challenger’s co-founders). This weekend has altered my vocation totally and took me to my entrepreneurial journey. My previous skilled and volunteer expertise formed in a natural way my posture in my group (dependable for small business dev, advertising and marketing and community management).

If I seem again at Olga in 2018 and the individual I have become currently, I would say I am grateful today mainly because I have entered into a fully new business and discovered so several new competencies and business enterprise genuine-lifestyle classes. Additional are about to arrive, and I can not wait to see in which all of this will direct me.

When it arrives to Climate Tech, how would you amount the potential that the Western Balkans have when it arrives to employing these kinds of alternatives, applications and so on?

Each 12 months we are witnessing new innovative applications and tech options all around the area that are tackling local climate transform and security of the natural environment. We are faced with quite a few market gaps, because of to poor implementation of guidelines, which leaves room for resourceful minds and business people to resolve these problems by using know-how. 

I am self-confident that the Western Balkans have good younger business people, primarily in the discipline of climate tech, nonetheless we require assist to get our methods to far more made marketplaces and develop our effects. We surely require area for recognition and sharing our lessons, results times and failures in purchase to discover from every single other, and spouse for bigger impression. Only by sharing our tales can we even further encourage other people today to be portion of local climate tech, and persuade them that inventive and massive things can also be created in this region.

I am happy of my crew, mainly because we under no circumstances gave up, in particular in these moments when people and our potential shoppers could not see the advantage of our item and were being skeptical mainly because they ended up fearful to carry out a little something new. Just after COVID-19 and a number of pivoting, I can ultimately say that we observed our sector-match. We say that it functions and if another person buys our products here on the Balkans, envision what we can do with it internationally.

What do you see as the most important problems in the industry of Climate Tech proper now?

Regretably, local weather tech goods are however not perceived as a requirement in the B2B marketplace, but rather as “nice to have” equipment. This is one thing we are seeking with my staff to get over in the next months, by adding far more functions and making our products more desirable to our focus on buyers. 

Furthermore, we are definitely residing in the most hard situations in the new background, which tends to make other troubles to be priority of the agenda of each place and corporation nonetheless, local weather improve and approaches to tackle it is some thing that we have to have to consider treatment of no subject what. In the subsequent few of yrs there may well be a slowdown in the ClimateTech marketplace, on the other hand I do anticipate that this business is something that will flourish in the many years to occur. 

We need to not overlook that we have a Sustainable Development Targets agenda by 2030 exactly where businesses as nicely as engineering have to perform a essential role in reaching them. This is why my staff has a eyesight to make Challenger a instrument that will assistance organizations be component of the SDGs agenda. Undoubtedly there must be additional investors and partners in this subject in buy to grow this sort 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 rewards and down sides of staying a female in the startup ecosystem in the Western Balkans from your practical experience so significantly?

I do not consider that there are positive aspects nor down sides of currently being a woman in the startup ecosystem in the Western Balkans. Startups in the Western Balkans undoubtedly need to have much easier obtain to even bigger market place alternatives and investments for more rapidly advancement.

If I can assess the startup progress from 2019 up until finally nowadays, I am grateful that we have more options now, having said that we require area traders to aid us in purchase to elevate more substantial money in other ecosystems.

What does a day in your lifestyle glance like? Explain to us something we never know about the field you are performing in.

  • Waking up at 6AM and getting ready for operate in my loved ones enterprise. 
  • 7-8h Arriving at work and examining all e-mail, duties and arranging my day
  • 8-10h Coordination of all open responsibilities with my team and responding to e-mail
  • 10-14h Meetings with partners and purchasers
  • 14-15 Product sales method
  • 16-17h Follow-up with my staff for what is expected in the following times
  • 18h – Shelling out time with family and friends 

Two situations a week I volunteer my time and know-how in different NGOs in buy to make effects in spots in which I am not skillfully included on a every day basis. I use Sunday for psychological health and enjoyable (putting my concentrate on the future working 7 days).

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

In the course of my substantial college yrs, I have volunteered and taken component in various impactful assignments. By this expertise I have understood that it is my call to make an affect in the culture I are living in, but it was a dilemma of how I will continue to do that. 

These were the times when my mom and dad taught me that by getting a dependable chief and making a company that usually takes treatment of its neighborhood, one particular can have the finest likely to build impression in every society. 

Consequently, I usually had an aspiration to join influence earning with obtaining a small business, and it appears to be that this paved my way of where by I am today. It’s possible I will consider distinct small business products all through my vocation, but for one particular I am confident – that my businesses will make an affect in their local communities, or even broader.

What is your definition of success?

I have usually tried using to define results, and recognized that is a subjective make a difference and you can not place it in a single sentence. My journey confirmed me that achievement is a journey, and not a last vacation spot. Therefore, I would instead like to set many features that I make the puzzle of success, those people staying:

  • Regard and appreciation for your get the job done from the individuals you are surrounded with – encompass by yourself with individuals that will mention your title in a room comprehensive of options
  • Make an impact (this can be in many forms) in your community
  • Deal and triumph over all your fears in get to become the most effective version of on your own
  • Create a business enterprise (solution/solutions) that will transform other people’s daily life and encourage many others
  • Be curious. In no way cease discovering and consider all options along the way
  • In no way give up, and discover from each blunder
  • Know how to rest but not quit (health and fitness and mental well-staying is a precedence)
  • Be grateful for each move alongside your journey

How has technologies formed your occupation so far?

Technologies is shaping our life not only our careers in the most unexpected ways. It is evident that we have to have to keep rate with technological improvements and learn new skills in purchase to remain pertinent and aggressive in the workforce marketplace.  

As mentioned beforehand, I under no circumstances considered to be involved in the tech sector, but it seems that Challenger has altered my job, so my life route. A person detail is for confident that we can all use technologies for good in order to build influence, and I am pleased that I am aspect of this kind of an entrepreneurial journey.

No make any difference what we execute with our startup, the tech field is now in my qualified DNA and I simply cannot hold out what the foreseeable future will bring.

What are your professional ambitions for this 12 months?

I am grateful that numerous of my professional ambitions are previously accomplished this 12 months, but there are number of remaining these currently being:

  • Effective partnerships in the 6 nations as Challenger is expanding in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Albania, and Armenia.
  • Efficiently end this year with new customers, content users and new features.
  • Planning Challenger for our next massive financial investment and new marketplaces in 2023.
  • Sharing my know-how as a result of mentorship and consulting with other young business owners.
  • Get surrounded by folks who will encourage me and drive me even further to new specialist endeavors.