Juan-Carlos Libreros, co-founder of PezCo Aquafarming, comes from a family of entrepreneurs. His path to entrepreneurship took him far away from the family business before he returned full circle to the aquafarming industry that his family knows so well.
"My brother and I chose to attend college instead of entering directly into the family business," he said. "When I first came to the U.S. from Colombia, I came with the idea to finish my advanced degree in biomedical engineering and return to Colombia to pursue biomedical manufacturing. However, I was offered a great job that I took thinking it would provide valuable experience for me to take back to Colombia. Well, I kept moving up in the organization and years passed by. Eventually my brother suggested we form a company to import our own farmed products from Colombia into the U.S. I decided to launch the company with him in 2013 and it's been a wonderful and rewarding track."
Libreros created a fully integrated supply chain that enables PezCo to guarantee quality control from farm to fork as he says. "Our interest is to continue to feed the world with certified-sustainable seafood that is responsibly farmed in the waters of Colombia, South America," he explained. "We responsibly farm the land to protect the sea. Our sustainability certificates speak to that. We also make positive social contributions to those involved in the business. We are a vertically integrated company that owns the commercial house here in the U.S., the processing plant, the waters where the fish grow and the hatcheries."
When launching his company, Libreros benefited from the assistance of Prospera, which provided a grant to develop a business plan, an accounting assessment, corporate branding and a new website. "For us, it was instrumental in generating a unified corporate image and a web presence," he said. "Though we don't sell products online, our website allows us to convey a consistent message to many."
Libreros's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to just do it. "The sooner you start, the better," he said. "As you age, you become more risk averse, but it's never too late. Secondly, don’t be afraid to ask for help because you're not going to have all the answers."