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Student Success Story – Eco-tourism made in Luxembourg

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Published on Monday, 30 November 2020

Philippe Freitas Morgado is a recent graduate of the University of Luxembourg’s Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. His start-up project, Simpleviu, will give tourists and locals a new and environmentally friendly way to experience Luxembourg. Morgado’s project embodies ideas of sustainability and circular economy by using Luxembourgish materials, products and services to design glass & wood chalets which blend into nature, respecting and showcasing the surrounding environment.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR START-UP IN ONE SENTENCE?

My project, Simpleviu, consists of designing, installing and managing innovative and ecological tourist accommodations and services in Luxembourg.

WHAT IDEA WAS AT THE ORIGIN OF YOUR PROJECT; HOW DID YOU START?

The initial idea came from my girlfriend. We are both passionate about travelling.  Together, we have travelled to over 100 cities in 25 countries and we had many different experiences and stayed in many different places. Every time we travelled, we would say ‘this is missing in Luxembourg’ or ‘we could use this in Luxembourg’. 

When I had to think of ideas and choose one for my business plan, my girlfriend reminded me about a unique eco-tourism concept that we had discovered in Iceland, Sweden and Morocco and that we thought could work really well in Luxembourg. However, I didn’t initially put this idea on my list. However, the day I had to meet my supervisor to propose my ideas for my final Master’s project to him, I decided to replace a main start-up idea with Simpleviu. And ultimately that was the idea which was chosen.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR START-UP IN 3 NUMBERS? 

0 – Because taking on this project means having zero fear. We are working on something that we are so passionate about and no matter what we have to do we feel zero fear because we see this as a dream becoming true. 

1 – Because to succeed, you only need one person to believe in you and give you an opportunity This was our case. It was one person who gave me the opportunity to present in front of 12 municipalities and some organisations. Among them, it was again one person who called and created the opportunity to use the land for Simpleviu. Now, more people did call us to discuss opportunities, but one person can open a lot of doors for somebody, especially in the beginning.

2 – Because there are two of us founding this start-up and just two people can create something big.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF YOUR STUDY PROGRAMMES FOR YOUR START-UP? FOR YOUR CAREER?

The Master was important because I was coming from a background in Mechanical Engineering. I had no idea about business; I needed to learn everything. Topics like marketing, innovation, management, accounting, finance and communication are essential to understanding how to build and run a company. Also, more practically, I learned how to write a business plan and set everything up administratively.

I have to thank my high school teacher, Henri Schoen, who also teaches at the University of Luxembourg. He has been a mentor to me. First, he saw my potential, suggested that I go to University of Luxembourg and recommended the Bachelor in Engineering. After my Bachelor, when I told him that I didn’t want to become too specialised in one field, but I wanted to keep a global overview and that I had an interest in starting my own business, he suggested I apply for the Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I shared my concerns that I would not be prepared because of my Bachelor, but he reassured me that I had what it takes to succeed. 

TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS? 

Two words: hard work, just hard work. Because I completed secondary school at a technical high school, I entered the University with some catching up to do. When I chose to study Mechanical Engineering for my Bachelor, I didn’t have a solid background in the hard sciences. But I persevered, put in double time and I ultimately finished top two in my graduating class. 

When I decided to do the Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, I found myself in the same situation. I needed to learn things that students with an economics or management degree already knew. Now, in the professional environment, I adhere to the same philosophy: If someone else invests three or four hours per day in a specific task, that means that I will choose to invest the double.

No matter your background or you level of talent, if you put in the hard work and dedication, I believe that you can achieve it.

 

Philippe Freitas Morgado and Liliana Soares in Iceland where the idea for Simpleviu was born. 
Photo: Philippe Freitas Morgado 

 

For more information about the Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, offered by the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance and in partnership with the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, please visit the programme’s website.