The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.
Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!
Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.
Can you tell everyone your name, please?
My name is Alexander Florio
Where did you go to school?
I studied at York University and Seneca College in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?
A lesson that I learned at an early age is the price of success is hard work. If you have an idea that you genuinely believe in and you work hard enough at it, you can be successful. However, it takes time and patience.
We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.
Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?
I would say, my father. He has worked extremely hard his whole life and taught my sister and me at an early age that we need to do something we love, but work hard at it.
Thank you for providing background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.
What is the name of your company?
Where is your company located?
We are based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the app is available in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
What services or products does your organization provide?
Swob is a unique app that is focused on an underserved market — Students looking for a job.
Swob is the first of its kind. While other apps are focused on full-time jobs for adults — we concentrate on Students! Over 29 Million Students have part-time jobs in the top 8 developed countries around the world — AND turnover is 70% per year! Swob is designed (and tested) with students in mind. It’s easy to use and relevant to them — quickly set up your profile, search for jobs, swipe right to apply, swipe left to ignore.
What problem is your business trying to solve?
The problem that Swob aims to solve is to help students find employment and help employers find students. Before Swob launched, we spent a year doing testing, gaining feedback from both students and employers. One problem that became a common theme amongst students was the lack of resources/tools for their employment search.
These students would spend time walking into stores, physically handing in their resume, all while not even knowing if the places they are applying to are hiring. By targeting students and high-turnover industries, employers can experience the benefits of securely filtering through the best possible candidates, safely and efficiently while students can see what jobs are available, in the industry of their choice.
How is your business unique against your competitors?
Targeting students is not something other job boards have focussed on. By targeting high turn-over industries such as food service and retail with a cost-efficient and easy to use solution, we help students find work and employers find students. Using our employer dashboard, employers can quickly access jobs posted, view the applicant’s profile, and the number of applicants per role (https://www.swobapp.com/).
What separates Swob from our competitors is our target audience. With a focus on high turnover industries and part-time opportunities, we have created a tool for a specific market, making us unique from other applications/job boards and through the use of working with student groups, this will help build more awareness of Swob and keep us top of mind with students looking for work.
How did the idea for your business come to fruition?
The idea was sparked due to my frustration in looking for a job opportunity. I became frustrated with the experience and thought there has to be an easier way to apply for a job, and that sparked the idea. I remember coming home that night, speaking to my sister Stephanie, who is also a Co-Founder, and we never looked back!
Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?
Job seekers can download Swob for FREE in the App store if they have an iPhone or an iPad, and employers can learn more about us and sign up to post roles at https://www.swobapp.com/
Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.
What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?
I would say:
- If you have an idea and truly believe in it, then go for it because you never know.
- Treat others the way you want others to treat you.
- There are going to struggle, however, don’t quit. Keep your head up and don’t let the struggles bring you down.