Vanessa Barzasi, co-founder of BioBright

vanessa barzbasi profile picture

BioBright Supplies algae plants as interior design decoration and substitute for plants and flowers. We are a part of the UCL Incubator and are close to getting £240K investment!
Right now we have 2 full time workers and 2 internship students.

What is your background? What made you decide to get involved in supporting entrepreneurs?
I hold a BSc in Economics and an MSc in Politics, Violence, and Crime. Additionally, I have a proficiency in multiple languages, including Italian, French, Spanish, and a basic understanding of Mandarin Chinese and Arabic. Throughout my academic journey, I developed a passion for understanding social dynamics and the complexities of our global environment.

This passion, combined with my desire to make a difference and contribute positively to society, led me to pursue entrepreneurship. I strongly believe that the current efforts to protect and improve our environment are insufficient. With this in mind, I founded Biobright, a company aimed at creating innovative solutions to enhance our ecosystem.

Biobright’s mission is to make a tangible difference by developing sustainable and environmentally-friendly products. By leveraging my background in economics, politics, and my linguistic abilities, I strive to bring forth innovative ideas and implement them in a way that positively impacts our environment.

My decision to become an entrepreneur stems from a strong conviction that I can make a meaningful contribution to our planet. I am driven by the belief that we must do more to protect and preserve our natural resources. Through Biobright, I hope to create a positive change and inspire others to take action for a brighter and greener future.

What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
BioBright Logo

For me, entrepreneurship is the embodiment of bravery, resilience, continuous learning, and adaptability. It involves the ability to work collaboratively within a team and to assume various roles and responsibilities as needed. A successful entrepreneur demonstrates strong leadership qualities, effectively manages challenging situations, and navigates through uncertainty.

Being an entrepreneur is amazing because you can be yourself, do what makes you happy and have the opportunity to talk with people that you wouldn’t get the chance to meet in a normal job.

How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?
We recognised the importance of sustainability and the negative impact of dying plants during COVID, which led to us conducting several rounds of research, in order to determine if there was a demand for our idea.

Once we had done the research, we considered the practicality and feasibility of developing our idea. Could we bring it to life with the available resources, technology, and expertise? Assessing the technical, financial, and logistical aspects was also fundamental to understand if our idea was realistic to implement.

We looked at the unique value proposition and identified what set our idea apart from existing solutions. Was there a unique feature or benefit that made it stand out? Differentiating ourselves from competitors was fundamental to increase the likelihood of success. The last important point was the validation we gained having received feedback from individuals and potential users.

What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?

Resilience: You are going to face many failures but you need to keep going and achieve your goals
Creativity: Without creativity you cannot fix problems and improve the business
Communication: Strong communication skills are essential for entrepreneurs to effectively convey their ideas, build relationships, and inspire others.

What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
I love that each day is different to your previous one. I love the opportunity to be selected for awards, speak in public and be invited to events where you can meet other entrepreneurs.

What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?

SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, was an organization that really inspired us.

Elon Musk’s bold vision of advancing space exploration and making life multiplanetary has captured the imagination of many. His determination to push the boundaries of what is possible has inspired people to think big and pursue ambitious goals. SpaceX has achieved several notable technological milestones, such as developing reusable rockets with the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, and successfully launching the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. These achievements have demonstrated the potential for reducing the cost of space travel and opening up opportunities for commercial space ventures. SpaceX has disrupted the traditional space industry, challenging established players and government agencies. Their innovative approaches and cost-saving measures have shown that private companies can compete and succeed in the space sector, breaking down barriers and inspiring other entrepreneurs.

If you had 5 minutes with the above individual/ company/organization, what would you want to ask or discuss?
We would like to speak about a potential partnership in order to colonize Mars and also ask him what was the biggest challenge that he had when he was creating SpaceX.

What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
When we won 2 awards at Oxford Brookes University and another one at UCL. Being part of the UCL Incubator and having sold the first product.

What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
We have learned that everything takes time and we cannot force a biological process. We have also learned that if even if you have an amazing product, this does not mean that you are going to sell it immediately, because you need to educate your customers and at the same time deliver the right message.

How have you funded your ideas?
We won two awards and created the business using the prize money.

Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?
Yes, Oxford Brookes University and UCL.

What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
It’s good because we are very close to London, where we have another office and have the opportunity to access to the UCL Incubator. The bad thing is that there are not a lot of VC and Angel Investors as there is in London.

If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them?
If you graduated from university or if you are studying at uni, definitely have a look to see if your university supports startups and apply for their accelerator programme.

Any last words of advice?
Be resilient and never give up. If you feel down just speak with someone that already went through the same difficulties that you have.