Co-founder and CEO at Black Mamba Foods

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Claudia Castellanos is the co-founder and CEO of Black Mamba Foods, a fair trade producer from Eswatini (Southern Africa) that manufactures and distributes specialty food products that are good for the planet and good for the rural communities they work with. 

The company’s range includes chilli sauces, pestos, chutneys, and jams, all made with organically grown ingredients and no added nonsense. Through its partnership with the local NGO Guba, Black Mamba trains smallholders in permaculture and organic farming and buys the fresh produce from them to make its goods.

To date, 60 farmers are part of their value chain, and their direct positive impact reaches over 1000 individuals in Eswatini. The company has won several Great Taste Awards in the UK for its sauces and exports to several countries including the US, the UK, Germany, Norway, and Taiwan.

Claudia Castellanos is passionate about changing the world one chilli at a time and is an impact entrepreneur and food rebel.

She holds an MBA from ESADE with a focus in Marketing and a degree in Finance and International Relations from the Universidad Externado de Colombia. She is a Future of Food Fellowship Fellow and has received several awards, including the WIA Awardee 2020, the 500 Most Influential Africans in the World 2021, the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women 2022, and the Trophee des Anciens Eleves du Lycee Francais dans le monde 2022.

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Episode Transcript


And I had this sort of calling and that’s why I ended up coming as a volunteer to Africa. And the reason why Black Mamba was started is because I saw the potential of…


doing something for development of rural communities. Eswatini is a very small country and it’s a very rural country. And I always wanted to get away from that perception of African needs help, more sort of like African needs opportunities of good businesses to help build up the economy and build up, yeah, the continent with the sustainable.


Welcome to another edition of Expedition Business, where we talk to inspiring entrepreneurs about the highs and lows of their business journey, and how on earth they manage to keep the flame of business adventure burning. Of course, facing your day with a smile is sometimes the toughest thing you have to do.


My name is Christél Rosslee-Venter, your host and the one lucky enough to be talking to Claudia Castellanos. But before I introduce Claudia to you, I would like to remind you to subscribe, like, comment and share this podcast with as many of your friends and family as possible. Without your help, we cannot continue to share the amazing stories of our South African entrepreneurs.


But, back to why we are here today. Claudia Castellanos, a Colombian Impact Entrepreneur and Food Rebel came as a volunteer to Eswatini in 2008, fell in love with Africa and made it her home. She’s a co-founder and CEO of Black Mamba Foods, a growing brand with strong social and environmental ethos based in Eswatini. That manufactures and distributes specialty food products worldwide.


And supports over a thousand individuals from rural communities. 

Christél: Claudia, welcome to Expedition Business. 

Claudia: Thanks so much for having me here, Christél. I’m very, very happy to be sharing this space and our journey and adventure with your listeners. 

Christél: Fantastic, fantastic. Claudia, before we continue, please just share with me, how am I supposed to pronounce your name correctly?


Claudia: Well, I’m originally from Colombia and in Colombia my name is pronounced Claudia. You know, I’ve been living here for many years so a lot of people call me Claudia. But if you wanna be a purist, it would be Claudia and the surname would be pronounced Castellanos. In Spanish we pronounce the double L like you. So Claudia Castellanos is absolutely fine but if you wanna be…


pronounced in the Colombian way, it would be Claudia Castellanos. 

Christél: Wow, wow. That sounds like an adventure on its own. Just quickly, you came here in 2008. Have you never ever considered going back to Colombia?


Claudia: It’s a very interesting question. I have the opportunity and the luck to be able to go back to Colombia every second year. I miss, what I consider my other home. I mean, home is now Africa and it’s what Eswatini, but Colombia is still very much my home. My mother is still there. I have a lot of friends. I miss the food, the glorious Colombian food. So I go there every two years, but I think my,


roots as well are very settled in Africa in what I do, in our purpose with Black Mamba, in the communities we support. So, I don’t know if I would see myself as living permanently in Colombia, but definitely visiting it as much as I can. Also for my kids to understand that their roots lie half in Africa, half in Colombia. 

Christél: Just speaking of, you said you fell in love with Africa with Eswatini.


But that’s not the only thing you fell in love with when you came here. 

Claudia: That’s correct. My husband is from here, jokingly always says that I came here as a volunteer and I volunteered to stay with him. But, it’s important also to know that a lot of people just fall. Sometimes I feel a little bit cliche of the woman that comes and then it stays because a man.


But I have to always explain and precise that I made my decision to stay because I fell in love with Africa and with the potential for development for rural communities that I could find here. And then Joe, my husband, was a lovely addition to the mix. So I ended up staying because I fell in love with the Eswatini, but obviously he came after that. And we have what I believe to be the two only Colombian-Swazi kids in history.


Christél: Cute, and how old are they now? 

Claudia: My son is 11 and my daughter is 7, so I’m still raising babies. 

Christél: Wow, wow. But before you know it, they are out of your house and doing their own thing. Just quite interesting when I was going through all your stuff earlier today. It reminded me of my university son that decided he wants to start a chili sauce business.


And it took over my entire kitchen, but eventually decided no, he’ll stay with investments. 

Claudia: Really? But you know what? It’s interesting because sometimes you started as a side hustle, like Black Mamba started as a side hustle, you know, it’s just like, oh, let’s do it on the side because it could be fun. And my husband has been always crazy about chilies and spices, and I wanted to mix that with my love of working with communities.


But literally it was supposed to be a side hustle. I had a job as a consultant for a big American NGO. He had his construction business. So it was just kind of like, let’s do it on the side. Let’s see what happens in the back of our kitchen and look what it turned out to be. I think food is a super interesting sort, of like space to grow to obviously suffer as well. I think food entrepreneurs are a little bit crazy.


But it could be something that he can start as a side hustle and then who knows if it turns into something big. There’s a massive growth in the preference and the trends for spicy food around the world. So there is a big space for growth. 

Christél: That is very, very good to know. But Claudia, something that’s quite interesting to me is you mentioned earlier that you are a small business. But what I see, I see your sources everywhere. You even


on our hamburgers nowadays. So how on earth can you still call yourself a small business? 

Claudia: It’s interesting, you know what? Because obviously we started very small, like we literally started from the back of a pot of chili sauce in the back of my kitchen. I couldn’t even cook inside the kitchen because the smell was just too overpowering and the fumes. So it was even done outside of the kitchen with one person helping me.


And then it turned out now, obviously we have a factory, we have that first production line, which is great, because before we were doing everything by hand. We employed 25 people, of which 90% are women. We work with a massive sort of value chain of rural smallholder farmers. But in the big scheme of things, if you compare Black Mamba with the Tabasco, even with Nandos, you know, just going more locally, obviously we’re very small, you know, we’re a niche brand. We understand that our purpose goes beyond


chili sauce, our purpose is to create a brand that changes food ecosystems, that goes back to the idea that good food is only good, if it’s good for you, good for the planet, and good for the communities. So in that sort of purpose on how big our potential could be and how big our intentional and transformational purpose is, I still feel we’re very small. I mean, I want to change the whole world. I want chili world domination, as I say all the time, but I want to also change the way people think about food.


So in this space, I still think very small, but maybe like you say, we’ve also been playing the cards really well on the marketing side. My background is in marketing and I think it’s very important to portray yourself the one you’ve been seen by other people. And from the beginning, especially from the marketing perspective, to have good quality products, good quality packaging, good quality material in terms of the way you project that message out. And I think that’s,


why the perception comes as well as a business that is larger than what it actually is. And there is a lot of like the imposter syndrome as well there, you know, I think it’s something that unfortunately a lot of women in particular have. That you never feel that you are good enough or big enough or growing enough. So you always tend to minimise your…


achievements and maybe you just made me realise that when you say, what do you mean it’s a small business? Look at what you’ve achieved. And all of a sudden I’m thinking, you know what? You’re right. We’ve achieved pretty much a lot of things. So yes, we are still small in the big scheme of things, but it’s a business that has shown phenomenal growth, particularly in the last two years. 

Christél: You’ve mentioned being an impact entrepreneur and changing lives, not just for food and speaking of


the notion that you’re not good enough, trying to change that. What programs do you guys have that helps to alleviate all these problems? 

Claudia: So, that’s a very interesting and relevant question because I think that comes from the, the reason of existence of Black Mamba. You know, people have different entrepreneurs in general have different ways of why they decide to start their own businesses.


It might be,  something that you all of a sudden realised was missing in the market. It might be something that you saw, uh, that you love when you were little and that you couldn’t see it anywhere else. Some entrepreneurs start a business because they want to make money. I always feel that that’s like a very, very bad, reason to start a business because there’s a lot more possibilities of you not making money than making money. And then some of us that are.


Starting a business, first of all, because they didn’t see any other option to realise or to be the change they want to see in the world. If I can take that quote, it was allocated to Gandhi, but apparently Gandhi never said it, but I think in my life and the reason why I’m in Africa in the first place is because I was looking for purpose. I was working for a big corporate in Italy back then, and I felt that that life, my life was like really empty. I was just like, am I going to be just.


doing this all my life, you know, selling stuff for big business. And what am I doing to make things better for the world? And I had this sort of calling and that’s why I ended up coming as a volunteer to Africa and, and the reason why Black Mamba was started is because I saw the potential of doing something for development of rural communities. Eswatini is a very small country and is a very rural country. And I always wanted to


get away from that perception of Africa needs help, more so like African needs opportunities of good businesses to help build up the economy and build up, yeah, the continent in a sustainable way. So for me, the whole point of Black Mamba, that’s why it existed. It never started per se as a business. It started as a development project for rural communities. So the development was based on the fact that they could grow.


ingredients of fresh produce organically. We’ve always wanted to do that. I’m a very strong green activist. I’m a very vocal green activist as well. So that is translated for better or for worse into what Black Mamba is. So from the beginning, we wanted to work with organic ingredients. We wanted to work with smallholder farmers because obviously the impact that you have when you work with 100 farmers would be more than one big commercial farmer.


We don’t want to use pesticides. We didn’t want to use anything artificial in the crops. So that was the beginning of it. It’s like, once we have that sorted, we need to create a product where those farmers can use their crops. And the product, obviously from the background in marketing needed to be fun, needed to be modern, needed to be high quality. And, and Chili’s was perfect because my husband was crazy about Chili’s. It’s what we consider a chili head. And also because they grow beautifully and they’re also what we call high value crops.


So somebody that has a very small extension of land can grow chilies not in big quantities, but still get a decent fair income out of it. So that’s at the bottom of it, is the possibility of securing a sustainable income from the farmers, is the possibility of improving the way you grow food that regenerates the soil. So all the techniques that they use is called permaculture, the whole philosophy around it.


And permaculture is ingrained on regenerating the soil. So not only you improve the livelihood of the communities by providing an income and better ways of growing their own foods and food security, but you’re at the same time regenerating the soil, improving the ecosystems of the land. So it’s like a beautiful harmonious way of getting people and communities together. So on top of that, of course, what you realise is that you need to hopefully provide more


of what you’re doing in terms of income. Because income is great, it’s a good start, because income allows you to buy the things that you need. Most of our communities sort of invest in better water resources, on school fees, house improvements, so that’s actually great, but we realise, okay, another thing that we can do is work a lot on wellness. Eswatini is still a very patriarchal country. Women are still seen as inferior than men.


And they tend to neglect themselves because of kids, because of husbands, I think in general, women tend to just put everybody in front of themselves. So, we started working on wellness issues, on health issues. So we do checkups, yearly checkups for breast cancer and cervix cancer. We have done peer training, so we have different groups that we have also for our employees, women that learn about any sort of


wellness and health related issues, you know, like any sort of diseases that you might have. How can you check on diagnosing those things? How can you just keep a better, checkup on yourself? We’ve done a lot of work on gender-based violence as well. Swaziland has a new gender-based, well new, like a few years old gender-based violence act


that protects women much better than before, but a lot of women are unaware of this. So we’ve done a lot of training on like getting the women telling them, this is the rights that you have that you have and that you need to check on. And another thing that we realised that was very important is financial literacy, because it’s great that you have an income, but if you still don’t budget on that income that you have, if you still don’t do savings where you can, then that money probably doesn’t really generate a substantial change.


So this is the main things that we do at the moment with both our employees and the farmers that work with us. 

Christél: Wow. But all this sounds like you guys are social entrepreneurship going here. Not a normal business. 

Claudia: Yeah. Yeah, we are. You know what? I always define a social entrepreneurship or a social business as a business that prioritises people and planet above profits.


But it’s still a business because I believe it’s extremely important to build something sustainable. And also th e whole value chain is built on that. Like we don’t do anything for free. We don’t give seedlings for free to the farmers. Everything is accounted for. We believe that everybody needs that accountability. And when you’re accountable and you don’t take things for free, you don’t take things for granted. So everything is accounted for in the value chain, but the reality is the…


We care at the moment first, that first thing at the moment, if you prioritise properly is the planet because without planet there’s actually not even people. So how do we actually thread lightly on the planet? How do we improve things and regenerate as much as we can? Then on the communities and how do we improve the livelihood of communities by providing opportunities? And then the third thing is like, if we do these things well, and if we have a product that is still good for the market.


and that is sellable, then you will obviously get the profit to reinvest on the first two piece. So it’s a triple bottom line where people and planet are prioritised. 

Christél: It almost sounds like poetry, everything that you guys are doing. But I was thinking while you’re talking about how you get the local farmers to grow the crops and you don’t use commercial farmers. I sort of


thought back to my own garden is still overtaken by chilies. Because my children feel it has to be grown organically. But the reality is that using organic products, doing all the things that you do is very expensive. It’s so much cheaper to go to the big markets and just buy a big bunch of chilies and you can have a much cheaper product.


How do you marry all of those? 

Claudia: That’s actually absolutely right. And you have to deal with that on a constant basis as a business, because it’s about, I think, to first of all change the perception of it’s good for you because you can buy a bigger bag of chilies, but it might be loaded with pesticides. So why are you really feeding your body?


Are you actually doing something good for you as a consumer by putting in your body products that are not necessarily healthy? And then when you go beyond that, and is that sort of reconnection between us as humans and the planet, is it also good for the, for the soil and for the land to just pump it with pesticides, just for me to get cheaper products? So obviously it’s very difficult to get that message across when you’re first


thought during the day and that’s why it’s so difficult. And that’s why organic I think is still perceived as a premium thing, not the right. Actually should be a right for humans if you think about it. It’s like, why do we have to think that cheaper food that I can afford is ultra-processed or full loaded with pesticides, with additives? Well, the reality is as humans, healthy should be the cheaper option, which is not at the moment. So that’s why our main thing is to change food ecosystems and to change the way people perceive food.


However, what we realise is this a certain space in the market where people are, and it’s actually growing, which is the beauty of it. Younger generations like the Gen Zs, millennials even, are starting to change their perception. There is what we call, that’s our first sort of like target market, we call them ethical foodies. So an ethical foodie is a person that loves food.


I mean, I love food. I love delicious food. I want to experience, I want to try new things from every way. So are the people that buy Black Mamba products are ethical foodies that love food, but they are very conscious of actually figuring out where the food is coming from, what is in your food and is it really benefiting or not something? You know, like not all the brands need to be like, oh, they need to benefit farmers, they need to benefit the planet.


But is it actually a brand that is doing more good than harm to the overall planet, to the overall future of human species? So it’s obviously a question that if you think about it, maybe there is people that still won’t care about that. And it’s fine, you know, like everybody has their own sort of prerogatives and principles that they have. But what we realised, and also because we have so much more access to information, and there is a possibility of


getting to know much better what the brands are doing. We are constantly being on the eye of the public. So before, you know, you could buy whichever brand and say, oh, you know, that’s what is available and that’s it. We have a lot more availability. We have availability of information and people get to actually understand and see what the brands, what the brands are doing, where they’re coming from, you as a consumer or us as consumers, we have enormous power of purchasing


with our values, you know? So that’s what I think is changing the world, that we have a big responsibility, but if you as a brand start constantly bringing that message across, constantly targeting the people that will be in tune with your message, it’s the small changes, actually, the small incremental changes that make the big changes. So even though we know for a fact we’re not gonna be bought or purchased by everybody. We understand that there’s people that really


follow and share our values. And those are the people that are going to be coming back. And the other thing that we know for a fact is that you can be as good as you want to be. You can be, you know, like Jesus Christ, but we’re talking food here. So the first thing that people will do is think about if it’s food that is tasty and if they like it. So we need to make sure as well to provide a product that tastes good.


looks good. And then the third thing is that it does good. So it’s a good addition and people will be happier to buy it because if you choose between brand A and B and brand A tastes delicious, and also it looks great and also is good for the planet and brand A, B tastes delicious, but that’s it. You would probably go for the one that offers a little bit more, even if you have to pay a little slightly more. So it’s a constant…


education, reinforcing of messages, making sure that our food is good enough so that everything else is a good addition to it. And figuring out and figuring out that because of our access to information, we will get more and more ethical foodies that will purchase our products. 

Christél: But while you were talking, I was also thinking that if you taste black mamba, it will change your world in more ways than one. Almost. But…


Claudia, I want to ask you, when it comes to your business, what makes you feel on top of the world? 

Claudia: Oh God, I love that question because you probably know, and obviously all the entrepreneurs that you’ve spoken to, they probably mentioned that the journey of an entrepreneur is like a roller coaster. So you go from being on top of the world to go down deep in the place that you said like, oh my God, why am I doing this? And then again, you go on top of the world. So…


I would say for me, being on top of the world,


Probably three things, if I think about them clearly. So there’s obviously the one that is related to our main purpose. You know, like sometimes when I feel defeated, sometimes when I feel, oh God, there’s so many challenges. I can’t work on this anymore. I’ve been working, you know, like seven days a week, 24 hours for three months. I’m exhausted. I can’t keep on going. What I usually do, and that does the trick for me to be, again, on top of the world, is go and visit the farmers we work.


And you go there, it’s a beautiful environment. So there’s nothing to do with that pity thing. It’s like, oh, please help us poor Africans. It’s gorgeous farms that have been transformed into oasis of greenery through the practices of permaculture. These happy faces, usually older women, those are our main farmers because they work close to home. It’s a way for them to generate income to support their grandchildren without having to leave home. And…


They love doing that space. They always say that it calms them down. They chat to other neighbors that they’re doing the same. So it’s a very relaxing environment, very green. I go and chat and just sit with them and they just start telling me with much pride, look at my chilies, look at my herbs, look what I’ve learned in terms of medicinal plants. Look at the extension that I did on my kitchen. This is thanks to what we do with Black Mamba.


So you come back energised every time I go to the fields. And I tell that to my team as well, you know, sometimes you forget the main reason why we exist because you’re like in your computer 24 seven, dealing with issues with production, labels, all the things that are not related to the main purpose. And when you lose focus and you lose track on why you’re doing what you’re doing, you tend to get defeated. Then you go back to the source. It’s like you’re all of a sudden get this like big push of beautiful vitamin happiness.


And then you’re like, okay, so that’s one of the things that make me feel on top of the world. When I go and visit the farmers and chat to them and see the real impact that we are creating. And then the second thing I think, and this is more on a, you know, personal entrepreneurial side that we entrepreneurs usually love challenges. And some of them are really


big challenges, but then we managed to make it. It’s just like, it’s a big sort of influence in your personality. So when we, for instance, get a listing that we were looking for, we were mentioning about burgers. You know, when we did the collaboration with Burger King and they did a massive campaign when they launched their Peri-Peri range with our peri-peri sauce. And I went to Joe Berg and they did this billboard, 100 meters long billboard.


by what’s the name of this place, Fourways. And there was on the billboard, they were amazing. They’ve been an amazing partner because they’ve been portraying Black Mamba as Black Mamba. They didn’t have to, but they did. So there was this three meters long bottle of Fairy Fairy sauce next to the Fairy Fairy range on the billboard. And I crossed the highway, went around, climbed on the thing to actually get closer


billboard and I was under the billboard looking up and I saw a three meter size bottle of our peri peri sauce and I have to say at that point I fell on top of the world. I was like I can’t believe we did this. I can’t believe this is this three meter tall bottle of peri peri sauce that you have in every billboard that is part of a big corporation now that is changing lives. It’s here on this billboard. So that was a great feeling of like success, you know, it’s like


And that was more obviously on the ego side of like, wow, this is a brand that is making it. But that makes me feel as well on top of the world when we have something like that, even stop when I’m in the middle of nowhere and somebody comes to me and they said, what do you do? And I said, I work with Black Mamba and they said, oh, wow, those sauces are amazing. I love the flavor and I love the fact that they support rural communities. So I feel my work is done in that case. It’s like they like them and they also understand why Black Mamba is Black Mamba. So usually those three things make me kind of like


start getting all the energy that I need again to keep on pushing. 

Christél: And how long does that energy last? 

Claudia: Until the next challenge. 

Christél: So what would be your major challenges that you have to face on a daily basis?


Claudia: I guess, you know what, Black Mamba has grown a lot in the past few years. We went for like being very organic, very sort of like only independent stores, having a bit of international market to all of a sudden export to many countries around the world to have larger customers buying from us. So that jump between being very small and being on a scaling path comes with lots of challenges. Like, you don’t know how to work with that. You don’t have enough systems. You not have


might not have enough people or people in the right places on what you need to do. All of a sudden you need a lot more inputs, you need a lot of more cash flow to actually work out on the things that you know are happening but you don’t have the cash now. So any entrepreneurs will tell you when you ask challenges and that’s a fact because I’ve heard it everywhere is like the first challenge that we have is financial. How do we deal with this amazing opportunity when you don’t have necessarily all the money now to work with them?


So that allows you to actually start working on different ways of funding, loans, equity, investments, and stuff like that. But that’s a challenge that we leave on a daily basis. Managing cash flow, I think it’s a big challenge for entrepreneurs. The growing sort of like pains come as well. I feel like, like mom is in like a teenager stage, when you don’t feel necessarily comfortable with your own body, you’re like growing and you’re experiencing all these changes and you’re like, don’t know how to…


react very well to them. But another thing for us that is quite challenging, I think, is Black Moms are an export business. We export quite a bit to South Africa, but we export quite a bit as well to the UK, to the UAE, to the US. And we’re far from the markets. We are a landlocked country in the bottom of Southern Africa. We have to actually, to export, we have to do it via South Africa, yes or yes. There’s quite a bit of red tape.


Customs is not necessarily the easier thing to do that. You have to deal with that. You have to deal with also probably regulations that are not necessarily clear. Our business in many cases in Eswatini has been a pioneering business. We’ve done things that nobody had done before. And as fun as it sounds, not exciting in terms of an adventure, pioneering can be very expensive.


because you do something new and then the government doesn’t know exactly how to do that. And then you just do something and then you realise it wasn’t done properly. Like very simple case that I give you, we created this beautiful hot honey, which is honey infused with chilies. Super popular. And then we spoke to customs here because obviously, you know, anything that is animal based like honey is a little bit trickier than anything that is plant based.


And they said, of course you can export honey to Europe. I mean, we’ve been exporting meat for years. This is the sort of answer. And then they also said it’s also condiment because it’s pasteurised, it’s cooked. So it’s not raw honey. So in that feeling, we export honey to Norway. Just to realise afterwards that Eswatini itself as a country didn’t have the program to control honey. So the country itself, not us, we’ve had every, all our permits, everything we needed on the rule.


But it was the country itself that wasn’t authorised to export honey. So that sort of pioneering based on, because nobody really knew how that worked, cost us a lot of money, destruction of the product, get stuck in the customs there for a lot of time, having to pay for warehousing there. So those are the challenges that we deal with that almost we’re sort of like building a market that didn’t exist before. Again, I love that. I think I like the thrill of the.


Let’s do something new, new products that nobody has done before, new markets. Like has anyone exported to Fiji? But then we realised it can be also a bit challenging because of the sort of country that we are and where we are located versus where our markets are. 

Christél: And I suppose there’s a lot of administration involved with all of this. Do you handle it? Do you have somebody that manages it on your behalf?


Claudia: I’m glad I don’t have to do that anymore because another thing that you have as a prerogative when you grow your business a little bit is to start choosing what you’re good at and what you like doing versus what you hate doing. Probably not really good at. And one thing that I’m not good at, I might not be too bad at it, but I hate completely is anything that is related to operations and admin. I don’t like it. I’ve done it. I sort of understand it, but I really just don’t give it to me.


So I have the most brilliant operations manager, our CEO, our chief operating officer. She’s brilliant. She’s learned all of that. But what we realised is Black Mamba, and that is one of our investors that actually made me realise that. She told me the other day, entrepreneurs see opportunities with other people, see problems. And I’ve never seen it that way before, because she said, do you realise that obviously you are in a small country that doesn’t have enough markets. So what did you do?


that problem you turn into an opportunity to start exporting. Cause you have no choice. I’ve never seen it as a problem though, from the beginning, we knew already a country that has 1 million people of which 73%, 63%, sorry, live below the poverty line is not the target market for a gourmet product. So we knew for a fact that we needed to export. So it was almost kind of like we didn’t even think about it. And we started learning the admin and learning the logistics and learning to speak, tariff codes and Incoterms.


and shipping and stuff because it was from the beginning, it was what it was. You know, it’s like, we have this thing, we’re very stoic in this, in this business. Every time we have an issue, it’s like, you know what, it is what it is. So we deal with it and we move forward. So it is what it is. So we turn a challenge into an opportunity and that has given us as well, a competitive advantage because even though I still feel very small, I get businesses that are 10 times our size.


or entrepreneurs coming to me and saying, like, how do you do it? How did you start exporting to Taiwan? I want to understand. So that has given us a competitive edge. And that’s what the admin and everything that is involved, we’ve been doing it for so many years, so we keep on learning on that, but we already have a base on foundation on how to do that. 

Christél: Something that I’m quite interested in is you started Black Mamba because your husband loves


chilies and chili sauces. So to what extent is he still involved? 

Claudia: He’s not very involved. And I think one thing that we discover very soon in our relationship, whether business and marriage, is that we didn’t work well together. There’s some couples that work extremely well as business partners. And I always wonder and marvel and how they can do that.


because I tend to be very, maybe that’s the Latino blood, very kind of like things need to be done this way and that’s it. And we tend to be a little bit no filter. So I don’t go around beat about in the bush. I think they say in English, where you just like try to say things in a certain way. It’s like, no, this is terrible. Just forget about it. And so he understood that it was better to save.


and to keep our marriage going and rather not work too much on Black Mamba. But to be, to tell you the truth, he’s still an incredible source of inspiration for creativity. He is a builder, but he works a lot on sustainability building. And he’s a graphic designer. So he’s extremely creative. He was the one who came up with the logo of Black Mamba with the first design of the labels. Every time we launch a new product to market, every time we


work on something related to the marketing of the brand. He’s always there to give a hand, to provide his advice, to do everything like that. And he’s definitely one of the biggest customers of Black Mamba in terms of consumption, not in terms of payment. The amount of Black Mamba that you consume at home is not even funny. I always said that is a great sort of like proof that the product is a good product because we go through bottles of Black Mamba like you have an idea, even my kid, my older son.


He loves black mamba already. He loves our chipotle sauce, and peri-peri sace. So he’s still very involved from that side, but on the operational day-to-day management, he’s not involved at the moment anymore. 

Christél: Just coming back to your Latino blood that you mentioned earlier, I suppose it’s something in the line of it’s my way, there’s no highway option. 

Claudia: Yes.


I would say maybe at the beginning, but one thing that you also that I’ve learned on the journey, I tended always to be like that, you know, like some people, like they said that women are bossy and I rather call it like we have leadership skills, but the reality is that I wasn’t very much kind of like a person that would concert and let’s discuss about these things, which is very much an African way, you know, like.


In our business, besides me, I’m the only sort of like born and raised in South America and brought here, the rest of my team, they’re all people from Swaziland, except my CEO that is South African, but like literally there’s a different way of organising thing of talking through things. And I had to adapt as well to that. You know, I have to understand that sometimes I might be willing to do things in a faster way. And in those specific cases is.


Totally, like you say, it’s my way of the highway. No, but it’s like, listen, we don’t have time for massive discussions under a tree here. We just have to move on and do these things and period. And I think that makes also the entrepreneurial journey a little bit lonely because certain big decisions are on your shoulders and you have to take them. And you wish somebody would take them for you, but it’s just like, it’s your responsibility and that’s it.


But on other things, I’ve learned as well to become a lot more, to just bring the team on board. I think it’s a very good way of them following your vision, even if it’s crazy that they’re involved on what you think. They’re involved, and we do that all the time. We have meetings called town halls, where we share everything from the financials to the plans, to everything we’re doing with every single person of the business.


And we have also management meetings where we constantly touch face, touch points of like, this is what the dream is. This is what the vision is. This is the goal. This is the actions. So I’ve become a lot more, um, tame, if there’s a word in that sense, because that’s, I think the only way that you can actually grow the business, you need your team, you know, like every time they say, Oh, you’ve done amazingly well with Black Mamba, I was like, I wish I could take the credit, but no, I mean, really it’s a, it’s a massive team effort that we’ve done and having


amazing people in my team that actually just follow this crazy dream that we have. 

Christél: But the reality is it all starts and ends with you. 

Claudia: Yes, yes, I have to say that. You say that and you make me feel a little bit overwhelmed. 

Christél: Okay, but speaking of it all starts and ends with you, what fun and exciting ways do you use to regroup, refocus and re-energize your soul and your body


body and everything.


Claudia: Personally, and this is just me being me, one thing that really re-energizes me is dancing. I think we Latinos, we have music in our blood. And then for me, just like listening to pumping music at home and started dancing, taking my kids and dancing with them, always gives me this boost of energy that I need.


Um, exercising as well. I think it’s very important as an entrepreneur at some point to build a certain routine that gives you certain results. And I realised that for me, the day that I managed to exercise is always a better day than the day that I’ve done exercise is just obviously of the release of, um, um, endorphins that exercise gives you that makes a better day. I’m always feel more motivated and energised when I do that. Um, I’m a very social person.


I love spending time with people. I’m the opposite of my husband. He’s an introvert. It’s usually like that. And I love seeing friends. And for me, there’s nothing better than going to, you know, having the chat with your girlfriends after a day of work and just gossip a little bit and see what’s happening. Something that has nothing to do with work. Interesting love. I get re-energized a lot when I do trade shows. I love travelling. That’s another thing that is so good for my soul. I…


When you are, when I’m here in Eswatini, obviously running Black Mamba, I have my family, I have my kids, you have to somehow juggle and balance everything. When I’m travelling, especially when I’m travelling on my own, it’s me on my own. So I tend to actually spend a little bit of time with myself, even though I’m working or doing other things. And that always makes me feel better and coming back home, loving my family even more than when I left. So travelling is another thing that really…


reenergizes and makes me refocus. And I have a very good, um, sort of like advice for people that are travelling. And I told them now people of my team, sometimes travel into trade shows. I send them instead of me going and they always tell me what’s, what’s the advice. And I said, the only advice that I’m going to give you when you’re travelling is say yes to everything you’re tired after a long day of work and they tell you, should we go to that market? Say yes.


It’s like, should we go on? Yes. You sleep when you come back home, but when you’re travelling, you cannot, I suffer from FOMO like you have no idea, Christél. So for me, it’s like when you’re travelling in particular, you sleep when you come back home, you sleep when you die, but at the moment, absorb everything and you’re going to find the best experiences, the best memories, the most fun things to do when you are absolutely open to everything. 

Christél: Well, that sounds like


Amazing advice no matter where you are, how old you are, what you do is say yes. Oh fantastic, fantastic. Tell me quickly when you travel, I assume you do a lot of travelling to South Africa. The majority of your travels is to South Africa and back.


Claudia: I do a lot of South Africa. Yes, I do travel quite a bit to the States and to Europe as well, because of Black Mamba. I’m starting to travel a little bit more to the GCC, to the area of Emirates, Saudi, because of market growth. So the great thing is that I always mix work with also seeing stuff, you know, like I lived in Europe, in Italy for four years, in Spain for two years. So if I have to go to the UK, I probably book.


four or five days to work there and then a couple of days to go and see my friends in Madrid, just to do something like that. But South Africa is definitely a big part of my traveling and especially Cape Town. Most of my customers now move to Cape Town. I wonder why they decided to move to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Um, so it’s, it’s, I don’t need to be, you know, like, uh, forced to go. I sacrifice myself. I always said, Oh, I need to go to Cape Town again. Okay. Um, and now.


direct flights from Swaziland they started I think six months ago. So it’s a breeze. Now you just jump on the plane two hours later here in Cape Town, you do what you need to do work, you see your friends and then you fly back. So I do a bit of travelling to South Africa. I love South Africa. 

Christél: Wow. Claudia, I just want to come back quickly. You mentioned that you do exercise as part of your regrouping, refocusing and rejuvenating.


What type of exercises do you generally do? 

Claudia: Um, it’s a mix of everything. I’m a person that gets bored very easily. So if I were to do one single thing, I know after five days I would quit. And I need innovation in my life. Constant, uh, yeah, constant things that just come to me and use stuff. So I love running, but I love running in different spaces.


So one of the things that I love is when I’m travelling and always go and run in a new space. It’s a brilliant way to get to know your new space as long as it’s a safe space. Obviously you always ask, it’s like, can I run here? And it’s okay. But that’s something that I always do when I’m travelling in particular, and it’s super easy. You just need your tekkies and some tracksuit, bottoms, and shorts, and then you go. I love anything that is dance-related. So anything that has music, like hits, training, anything that is cardio-related, I think is more my thing.


But lately I found out as well, just to quiet my mind a little bit to start doing yoga. Yoga, at least strength yoga in particular, like doing it once a week. It’s a great thing to actually just really focus on strengthening your core, your muscles, but also kind of like not focusing on your mind on too much high speed. I think I tend to be a person that goes at 100 miles an hour. So yoga allows me to do yoga.


to just sort of like quiet down a little bit my mind so that works well as well. 

Christél: On the sporting side, any new plans, any big goals that you want to achieve, events that you want to tag-pod in?


Claudia: Um, there’s always in the back of my mind, there’s the, the running of a, you know, my, my husband does a lot of like trail running and I always come with him and our kids to beautiful places in South Africa for trail running. And so he does this massive ones that are like 40 kilometres a day. There’s ultra trail running. There’s a gorgeous one close to, oh God, in the bird. I forgot the name now. It’s by the, close to head, close to.


You probably know because you’re like sort of adventure, but it’s gorgeous. So what they do now is that they do that you can do one day, 18 kilometres. So you could do 18 kilometres instead of doing 40 kilometres, because I know my, you know, I know my strengths and my weaknesses and it’s definitely not a strength, but I think I would love to do that more because I love running in the outdoors and having to do just now that the kids are a little bit older.


Before I could leave them alone, there were babies, so he was running and I would come along and we would do other things, but now the kids can just stay down while you do 18 kilometres. So I think that’s sort of like my goal. And the other thing is build a lot more muscle. I think when you’re getting to a certain age, you know, I’m 47, you start.


feeling that your body requires a certain different type of exercise and a lot of exercise that I require I think now, I believe is more of strengthening your core and your muscles. So I think I’m just going to, I’m working already on building a lot more strength. 

Christél: Well, I believe also there’s a lot of amazing trails to run or to hike in Eswatini. 

Claudia: Yes. So we do that a lot, you know, like there’s beautiful runs, there’s almost every weekend there’s a run. So we do…


I do always 10 kilometres, my husband does 20 kilometres, but we have beautiful mountains. We do one as well that is really good fun as a team building. So obviously we portray the brand that is healthy for the planet, healthy for you. And so some of the sort of activities that we do together, one of them that we do every year is called the Resolution Run, which is a run in one of our beautiful reserves called Lelwane.


And in Lelwane, literally we take all the team. So there’s like women that are over 50, and then there’s like others that are like, you know, in their twenties. And we literally get everybody, all the production team, the people that cook, the shop, the people, you know, like the security guard, and we all put on our Black Mamba t-shirts and we go and run for 10 kilometres on the resolution run. So it’s really nice to be outdoors. Like, I think it’s what Eswatini in South Africa, we have this beautiful advantage of being able to be outdoors as much as we can.


Christél: Well, I think also the reality is people that’s more conscious about the planet, about what’s happening around them are also normally people that’s more active. And it’s quite a nice marriage between using a brand that is good for a planet, tastes amazing. I must add that. And then also being good for your health.


Claudia: So you know what, on marketing, it’s funny that you mentioned that because we do sponsor every single activity that is related to sports in Swaziland. So the trail runs, the bicycle races, I mean, the sponsors, we always provide prices. We sponsor to the extent of our capacities, but it’s, we’re always there and people know and they’re expecting a gift back to black mamba at the end of the race. They’re expecting to see black mamba people because we.


tend to portray ourselves. And I think it’s true for everybody, even though the people that were not really into that, we discovered the pleasure of being outdoors, like a function, end of year function of Black Mamba is a lunch, but then it’s like a three-meter, three-hours walk around the reserve. That we wouldn’t do that, and necessarily not all the people that work in Black Mamba would be like, trailing, and they say things like, oh, that’s for white people only. But they realise that it’s actually so much fun. It’s like, no, we don’t do that. Camping? God, what is that?


But then you realise that they love it. Like we did amazing work for our function end of the year. And we, I got them a little bit lost. So that’s why it lasted three hours, but it was, it was amazing, you know? So it’s, it’s kind of a mentality that goes with the, with the business and without values as well. 

Christél: Wow. It sounds so, so super, super exciting. Tell me quickly, if you could be 20 years old again, and you could change anything.


What would you change? 

Claudia: Hmm. God. You know what funny now somebody asked me the other day, why would you say to your 20 year old self now based on everything, all the experience that you have, and I said back then, first thing is like, don’t sweat the small stuff. You know, we all tend to think at some point in your life, it’s like, oh my God, this is so complicated. This is so difficult. So challenging.


And then back then I remember being a workaholic, which I still am, but thinking that I didn’t have time for anything. This is like on like my 24, 25. So then obviously you start running your own business and you’re like, Oh God, I thought I was busy when I was doing corporate, this is hilarious, this is 10 times worse, it’s like I’ve never been busier in my life. Then you have kids and then you try to run your business with your kids and run a family and then you realise, you know what, don’t sweat the small stuff. You really think that there’s so much challenge in your life when you’re younger, rather enjoy it.


and embrace it and don’t think that it’s just, it’s so complicated. Everything is so difficult because things are about to get probably a lot more difficult eventually, and it’s more about the mindset that you have towards that. I think we tend to worry too much about things and especially when we’re younger. And then if I could be the person that I am now inside, when I was on my training, I would have saved myself a lot of drama and a lot of like issues that were probably nonexistent.


And the second thing would have been like, I always said, Ooh, if I had tell my 20 year old that I would end up living in Swaziland, SOTV, running a chili sauce business, my 20 year old would have laughed out loud and would have asked, it’s like, what is this? Where is this place? What do you mean chilies? Because life really takes you places you’ve never imagined.


And that’s the other thing. Like, I guess I would say to my 20 year old, just be open to everything. I’ve always been a very open person. I’m a very much of a yes person. It’s like, I don’t mind, you know, leaving my life, corporate life behind in Italy and move to Africa, to a place that I’ve never been before. But I think it’s more that, it’s like, just embrace the journey, have fun, and be a little bit adventurous. I think adventure in your life, it’s always good. It’s always good to have a little bit of a feeling of being a little bit uncomfortable all the time.


not on a comfort zone. 

Christél: Absolutely. Because you also never know when it’s going to end. 

Claudia: 100 percent, you know, so you need to enjoy every day to the max. And obviously, some days you can, you know, when you have to be eight hours doing a report for something that you hate, you’re like, Oh God, I really don’t want to be doing that. But then just take time to do something fun and a life in general for me. As I said, I’m very blessed. I think I’m a very optimistic, positive person in general. So it’s just like.


It’s fun. I embrace everything that comes. I obviously suffer when I have to suffer, but overall, I think that that’s the sort of feeling of being at having an adventurous spirit and a positive spirit that just pushes forward basically. 

Christél: Oh, fantastic. Claudia, I suppose you never get time for to read books. But if you had time, what would you do?


be a book that you can recommend? Do you have a book? 

Claudia: I was thinking about this question because I know entrepreneurs tend to read a lot about business. You know, that’s the thing. You need to learn things. I am an avid reader. I love reading. It’s like, it’s my thing. It’s like the other thing that I do when I want to relax, not when I want to energise, but when I want to calm down, I read, but I don’t read business.


I read literature, I love historic novels, I love books that teach me stuff that are non-business because 90% of my life is business, so I just, I want to get away from that. However, there is this amazing tool called Blinkist where you can get the snippets of things that actually work quite well. I think in my journey, what I realised, especially lately when things are a little bit more busy, a little bit more, a lot more.


a lot busier and you still need to keep some sort of like structure and calm and routine. I found myself looking more and more into ways to improve my efficiency. You have only so many hours during the day. So how can I make those hours last, thinking that I wanna give as well quality time to my personal life and my family life. And there’s only 24 hours in the day. So how do I do this? So I’ve been looking more into


those books that allow you to potentialize your effectiveness perhaps? Yes. Yeah? Yes. And I found one recently, funny enough, called Atomic Habits, which talks about how you actually incrementally build up those habits that make you, yeah, like a better human being. Better is the right word, but either healthier.


effective, building a proper routine. So you can actually not be anxious all the time about not achieving everything you want to achieve. So I think that for me has been very good. I really feel that the more you grow your business, the more focus you need. In the life, the most, the more grounded you need to be. So that’s one that I’ve found relatively interesting lately, but Blinkist is great. And also what I do is I surround myself.


with other entrepreneurs that are in the same journey and we share those things. So if somebody tells me, I found this amazing book, go and read that. It’s great for whatever you are in your journey at the moment. So I listen to my friends that are in the same journey and go to Blinkist and read the smaller version. That helps definitely. But the atomic habits is definitely a big winner and the whole notion of 1% improvements at the time. It just makes it more.


workable. And you know what, it’s the same as the environment. It’s actually quite funny because I always related to that. I’ve always been very, very big on the terms that you don’t need to, we get overwhelmed with when you think about climate change and pollution and all the things that are happening in the planet. And as human beings, you have three sort of reactions to that overwhelm is either you freeze, you fly, or you fight. Those are the three things that you can do.


So if you think about it, if you freeze, which is the first thing that is, there’s nothing I can do, it’s so big, I can’t do anything. You literally end up doing nothing. But if you do small changes, like stop using plastic bags, for instance, for when you go shopping in supermarket, or carry a metal bottle instead of buying plastic, water in plastic bottles. So it’s those little changes that build the habits, same as in entrepreneurial, that ended up being so ingrained in your routine that make a difference.


So this works extremely well for your life as a business person or as a more grounded and balanced human being, but it works extremely well also for the small changes you want to do to improve your footprint on the planet. That is extremely good advice and it helps also not to become overwhelmed because when you get into that overwhelming feeling, it’s just lost. Paralyzed. You don’t do anything. You know you freeze.


Or you fly, but we have nowhere to fly because we haven’t yet found a way to go to Mars. Elon Musk hasn’t yet finalised that. So the only option that you have is fight and you fight with your means, you know, and your means is like, let me do incremental 1% changes and see where that takes me, you know, and be positive about it because we have no more options. 

Christél: That is so super, super true. Claudia, just tell me quickly, we can’t go to Mars yet and we can’t fly yet, but


What would be your metaphorical mountains that you still want to climb within the next 3 to 5 years?


Claudia: Okay, so I think in terms of business, like poor business, a big sort of challenge that we have and our next sort of milestone is the US market. It’s a beast of a market. I’ve always said like people think that the US is like a market, but you realise it’s 53 countries in one. So it’s like it’s a massive market. So how to do it properly without dying doing it or losing all your mental sanity?


So that’s one of our holy grails in terms of mountains to climb. I think if we manage to make a good sort of like brand awareness and distribution in the U.S., I would say, okay, that’s one of my metaphorical mountains that has been climbed and that’s great. And I think the second one for me is increase our value chain of farmers. You know, like it’s almost like the more we grow, the more we can engage new farmers into our value chain.


change more arable than land to be grown through regenerative agriculture. So my other metaphorical mountain is to be able to literally exponentially grow that impact and grow the business without losing the values. I think that’s so important. And it’s so stressful if you think about it, because the more you grow, the more changes you need to do in your business. So how do you actually balance that growth?


And what you need to achieve in the world while keeping yourself real on what your values are. So that’s something that is constantly in my head. And that’s why we actually are finalizing a process to become a B Corp. Because once you do that, then you’re that’s ingrained in your, in your bios of your business. So even if at some point black mamba is run by someone else or changes hands, it’s something that would be ingrained on the growth. And that’s something that for me is the other mountain, just to make sure that.


we remain sustainable and in our values while we keep on growing and keeping that exponential growth that we’re presenting at the moment. And it sounds easy, but it’s not quite that simple. It’s not because the moment you start growing, you also start adding new people into your business. You know, for instance, we have investors and they’re great and they’re very much married to what we want to do. But you have to be also very, very careful of choosing.


Who do you bring in the business? Choosing which opportunities are worth following or not. At some point we received a few years ago, we started discussing about the potential of a business that wanted to buy us. So that sounded interesting. So I just went to just see what they wanted to say. And the first thing that they say is like, your bottles are too expensive. The first thing that we need to do is change into plastic. And immediately, for me, straight away because I’m still in charge of.


business of the final decision. Like you say, I said, no, that’s, that’s not black mamba. Sorry. It’s just, it would be against everything we believe, but I could do that because I’m still running every decision, major decision that is not in the business. But if you think about it, the more you grow and you involve other people, what if at some point somebody else that has more power of decision than me decides that that’s the path for black mamba. So how do you blind these things from happening? You know, so it’s something that keeps me.


very much thinking constantly on how to do that. I had to make sure that Black Mamba turns out to be what I always said, the Patagonia of hot sauces. I love Patagonia as a business that has maintained that sort of values at the end of what they believe in, which is conservation of the planet while still growing and turning into an amazing brand, you know, for outdoors. So for me, that’s Black Mamba. I want to be the Patagonia of spicy condiments, you know, I really want to say, because we’re doing more than hot sauces at the moment, but keeping that essence of who we are.


Christél: Wow. That is truly very, very applaudable. So are you also going to give your business away then in the end? 

Claudia: I think so. You know what? Obviously I can’t say that. My investors probably are listening to this and they’re saying, no, what are you talking about? But I think at the end, I know it sounds very crazy. And again, like all entrepreneurs are not necessarily motivated by the same things. And I think my bigger motivation is the change you want to see in the world.


For me, there’s no better change than to start really reconnecting to the planet. And if that is something that we can do in order to just bring our mission in the planet further, I wouldn’t be opposed. Absolutely at all. You know, like money is not necessarily a motivation for me. Of course we all want comfort, you know, you want to be comfortable. You want to be able to do what you want to do. You want to be able to not stress financially.


But on the other hand, I’ve never been the sort of person that wanted like a private yacht or a fancy car. I mean, those things are not the ones that motivate me. Something like that, being able to provide more for the planet, being able to support more the world in a sustainable way of world communities, then I’m absolutely happy with that. And I suppose as long as you can afford their music. Yes, and hopefully going twice a year to Colombia.

Then I’m happy. 

Christél: Oh, so sweet. So, so sweet. Claudia, just quickly, your final words of inspiration to our entrepreneurs listening to expedition business. What would be the Claudia magic? 

Claudia: The Claudia magic, oh, God, without sounding cliche. I think one thing that for me is always motivational is like, I know as


the entrepreneurial journey, it is, it’s tough. And every time that somebody says, I want to be an entrepreneur, I always said, are you sure? Because in my next life, I’m not going to reincarnate as an entrepreneur. I know that already. I am not. 

Christél:What will you re-incarnate into? What do you want to re-incarnate into? 

Claudia: Sometimes I said as a housewife, you know, without having to do too many things, but then my husband that knows me well, it’s like, you will be probably husband for a weekend and you would be bored because you want to do too many things at the same time.


Um, I, I probably, I like teaching a lot. I’m also a lecturer and I love the teaching, um, of, of the things that I’m living. So I teach social entrepreneurship, marketing principles. So I really love that. So perhaps something like that. And definitely a traveler, which is what I travel around the world and not care about anything. But on that note, actually, interestingly enough, I feel that.


The entrepreneur that actually succeeds is not the entrepreneur that has done things in a better way than other entrepreneurs, but it’s the one that doesn’t give up and that’s the toughest thing because we always feel at some point that we want to give up. And what I realized, and it’s something that I keep as my mantra is when I want to give up, what I really need is to rest, you know, so that’s the sort of like mantra that I have in my head that it says, when you feel tired, learn to rest, not to quit.


It’s so important because when you burn out and you’re close to burned out, you feel like that’s the end of everything. I’m quitting. I’m leaving everything behind. This is not worth it because you’re not thinking clearly in your mind. You tire, you’re exhausted. So one of the things that had worked for me as well is all the time seeing when I’m tired, learning to rest, which is something that we don’t do very often as entrepreneurs, learning to rest and not to quit. And also a thing that you will like because it’s sports related. This is a very good friend of mine that is an entrepreneur as well.


And he just does this parallel between being an entrepreneur and running a marathon. You know, so when you start the first five kilometres, you are running with the enthusiasm of, you know, the excitement of your mind is like you’re running and yeah, this is so easy. You know, you’re like fresh. You’re starting doing it. Then you come into a rhythm, which is marathon is 41 kilometers. 42.


Sorry, 42. So the five kilometres, you’re like, yeah, yeah, yeah, this is easy. Then you go into a rhythm. You go into a rhythm when you run with your legs. So if your legs are actually just take you there, a little bit of like mental sort of like, you know, a constant to be like consistency and you’re running and you’re like, okay, my legs are getting tired, but I can do this. So this is sort of like the path when you are running like that. And then all of the sudden you come to those last three kilometres.


When you’re exhausted, you feel like everything is going to explode. And, and this is when you feel when you’re so, so, so tired, but you know, that literally you can see the light there at the end of the tunnel, but you don’t know if you’re going to be able to do it. And then he told me, and that’s when you start running with your heart. And the last three kilometres you run with your heart because there’s nothing else left in you. There’s the mental is gone. The strength in your legs is gone. The enthusiasm is on the floor.


So you run with your heart. So it’s very, very important that you have a strong enough motivation. And that’s what I said, when you become an entrepreneur to make money, forget about it, that’s not a big enough motivation. It has to be something big enough that you can do those last kilometres before you get again to a high and you’re running with your heart. So I think that’s the very good metaphor between a marathon, running a marathon and being an entrepreneur. 

Christél: And you probably some people that are not entrepreneurial fit.


There might be a big chunk of us who might need to start running with their heart much sooner than three kilometres before. 

Claudia: Sure that, but it’s also literally the motivation for me comes from like, um, I mean, I call it from reports that I did your massive transformational purpose, MTP. Keep in mind, why are you doing this? Like black mama, why am I doing this? Every time when I’m like sitting saying like, why am I doing this? And then you see.


The real good change that you’ve done, you see that is beyond yourself. I wanna leave a better planet for my kids. They’re my motivation as well.


You know, like we make this mess as adults. Like we’re giving them a world that is completely destroyed. So am I doing my part to actually be proud of what I’m leaving to my kids? And that’s the motivation to the communities, to the planet, to whatever we do. And then I said, OK, fine. Let me stand up because it’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than anything else. So that’s the motivation. And that’s what you run with your heart.


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