NAME: Laura Carrera Garcia
BACKGROUND: Technical Agricultural Engineering (2000), Degree in Environmental Sciences (2003) Agronomic Engineering (2004) Doctorate in Agronomic Engineering (2009)
ACTION/SECTOR: Agriculture and Science / Research
ORGANIZATION: Flores en la mesa
My Background and Career
I was born in Soria, a cold and little settlement in the central area of Spain, although I currently live in Zaragoza. As I have always liked the field, I decided to take up Technical Agricultural Engineering in Soria. In 2000 I decided to begin a double degree: Environmental Sciences and Agronomic Engineering at the Catholic University of Avila. These were great years that have developed me both as a person and as a professional. Later on, I did my thesis in the Experimental Station of Aula Dei-CSIC in Zaragoza, developing work in between enterprise and research. My thesis was about Reproductive Biology of the Japanese medlar. It started from a real problem that an Agrarian Cooperative had related to a low production of medlars. My thesis gave way to several publications and communications in numerous symposiums, and it also helped the enterprise to solve its problem. The relationship between enterprise and science was what made me become interested in the connection between the two worlds. This is how the idea “Flores en la Mesa” (flowers on the table) was born, an enterprise that introduces new botanical products into the agrarian market. The leading product of my business is edible crystallized flowers, little and beautiful natural candy for ‘haute cuisine’. This enterprise can be framed into the agro alimentary sector for gourmets. However, we also collaborate with research centers for the development of production and marketing of this product, studying the beneficial properties and the sensorial differences of edible flowers.
Economic problems: investing your savings in an enterprise project is risky, especially if, as it was my case, you are in charge of a family.
Family problems: being a mother is obviously not a problem, but it is a big challenge at least for me, and even more with a two-year-old son.
Personal problems: being a mother and an enterprising woman at the same time, not having much time for myself, and having to leave aside my hobbies, such as painting, reading, going out with my friends or just doing sport.
Keys of success: Personally, what makes me jump out of the bed every morning with enough strength is my family. I also think that a good educational and professional training are the key to be where I am right now. My personality and character are also key points for success, as I am a very self-reliant person on what I do. My project is the result of everything I have learnt and all the people that have contributed with something. I am proud to be able to count on a lot of people who believe in my project and who contribute in many positive aspects. When one is starting up a business, it is difficult to make a difference between friends for leisure and friends for working, as boundaries can be easily blurred. Besides all this, being original, following my intuition and learning from my own mistakes, have been essential for the start-up of my business.
Inspirations: My father and my thesis tutor, each in his own way, have contributed with the values that go with me in everything I do. My passion for flowers and for gastronomy has also been an important factor on which the business is based.
Competences: I apply all the new knowledge I acquire for my daily life, so I can organise and plan activities easily. I really like cooperating with other people when I am working and I usually have no problem coordinating and motivating the staff I am in charge of. If I have to make a decision, I can do it straight away, and if I come across any trouble, I quickly look for solutions to solve it. I consider that personal development acquired at work is essential, as it helps you to open your mind and to grow up. In order to do my job satisfactorily, I always try to set realistic goals, so as to be able to reach my aims.
Qualities; I consider myself a very active person, I don’t like being still without doing anything; moreover, I am very communicative and I love interacting with people. I don’t think of myself as a conservative person, but the other way round, I like challenges and innovating. Above all, I am optimistic, and when I want something, I can get to be very persistent. I trust in everything I do, and I am sure I can achieve it. I think I have a great vision of the future, that’s why I don’t hesitate to take a chance on new projects.
In my job, I am very organised, and I like to be practical as well as efficient. In short, I consider myself an independent woman who knows what she really wants.
Hints & Tips
Lucky saying or phrase - Very well!, Who said “fear”?
As an entrepreneurial woman, the piece of advice I can give to other women who decide to take the risk in their own project, is to be sure of themselves (and therefore of their projects). Self-reliance is essential, without it, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve everything I have. First of all, you have to believe in your own project, and that it is going to work, because if you don’t trust it yourself, who will? You have to defend your idea so it can go ahead, and although you find many obstacles along our path you have to face them and get over them. For instance, if you decide to start up a new business, and you are, as I am, in charge of a family, the most important thing when investing money is deciding the limit of money invested. This is the solution I found to put an end to my dilemmas, and it really worked. And if you are also a mother, you shouldn’t be afraid. You always have to think that family goes first, but both things are compatible, although it may seem hard at the beginning. I decided, as I had a child, that from 6 p.m. onwards, I would only be available for my family which, in short, is what you work for. And if I had an event or meeting I couldn’t call off under no circumstance, I compensated my family for by spending more time with them another day. Everything can be achieved by establishing your priorities. Another thing you have to be clear about, is setting your goals, taking into account that these aims can be flexible. You must know where you are leading to, but you can choose different ways in order to get there.