Interview with Jozef Vodicka [President of TrashOut]

Interview with Jozef Vodicka [President of TrashOut]

Jozef is a very curious guy who detected a problem related to illegal dumps in Slovakia and other European cities in 2009. He compared the problem among cities with similar population size and analysed the problem wasn’t about the number of people living in the cities, it was about the way the environmental issues are approached in every town.

He decided to take action about this. During that moment, every person was buying an Android Device and he thought to develop a mobile application to allow people reporting the illegal dumps taking pictures of them and making a basic report. This way the project TrashOut get started.

I made different questions during our interview about his project, the business experiences, lessons and his recommendations for other future entrepreneurs.

Where do you think the illegal dumps are a real problem?

Jozef: It’s everywhere but we have noticed the problem is not just the illegal dumps. These are always going to exists unless we increase people awareness about recycling and this is our aim now with the application as well.

Is TrashOut your first business?

Jozef: It’s not my first business because at the university I was making some projects related to Social Causes. I have software development skills and I started to use them during that time and asked to other people to join to the projects, that way I found interesting people who could collaborate to make TrashOut a reality.

TrashOut was accelerated by Wayra CEE (Central and Eastern Europe), what do you think about this support you received? and would you recommend it to other startups?

Jozef: We are proud about being part of the Wayra family. This is one of the biggest accelerator world wide and it helps us a lot because in 8 months we got the development of approx. 3 years of work doing this by ourselves. They provide us with different mentorships and we improved every day. And of course I recommend it.

Which are the lessons you’ve got during your entrepreneurship path?

Jozef:

I could say 3 lessons I’ve got during all my experiences and that every entrepreneur should know:

  • When you are an entrepreneur or founder you have to choose your team carefully. If you choose bad people they are going to slow down the development,  and if you choose good people they are going to accelerate the project. You have to hire people because of their heart and personality.
  • You have to eat healthy and make exercises. These will make your mind calm and it’s going to improve your productivity.
  • Make networking. You have to connect with other people / businesses and collaborate.

 

Do you think is necessary to start social business in this moment? What would you do to inspire people to start their projects?

Jozef: For me, it’s not about a business. It’s about find a pain and solve it. If you are not ready to start your own project, join to a non profit organisation and you’ll get experience.

It’s my case with AIESEC. I learned about how an organisation works, how to deal with stress and how to manage people. These are necessary skills to be an entrepreneur.  And another point is, it doesn’t matter what’s your business about but make Social Thinking part of it.

Did your AIESECer life makes you be what you are right now?

Jozef: Absolutely. I learned plenty of stuffs in AIESEC like: See the stuffs from the other people perspectives, don’t make excuses and make the objectives a reality and of course, the network and help among people is an invaluable characteristic in this organization.

How do you see the Czech Startup Scene?

Jozef: Czech is missing skills in Sales & Marketing comparing with US or UK people. It must be they are taught to make presentations and sell himself from early days in their lives.  We are more technical people.

And I think our communication with the companies management is slower and it has more bureaucracy than in US or UK.

What’s the future of TrashOut?

Jozef: We want to make the app easier to report and monitor the illegal dumps problem and  educate people to start recycling.

 

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I hope you got great information from this interview and if you can give me your feedback it would be great. For more information about TrashOut and Jozef Vodicka, you can follow them in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

You can check the previous video-interview with Gaspard Bos about the Perpetual Plastic Project as well.