MEET MATTHEW C. MARTINO: 22 YEAR OLD ENTREPRENEUR, AUTHOR & FILM EXECUTIVE
Mathetes Chihwai popularly known by his stage & pen name Matthew C. Martino is a Zimbabwean English film producer, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Tell us, who’s Matthew C. Martino?
Matthew is a Zimbabwean film executive and businessman currently living in London, UK. My early year’s career involved a bit of acting and I’ve written 2 books, Lets Fly (a pilot’s manual) and Go For It (a business start-up guide). I’m now actively involved in the film industry and also work with my charitable foundation, MMBF Trust, as well as other charities worldwide.
What exactly prompted you to start Lets Fly Academy?
Lets Fly Academy was borne out of my passion for aviation and trying to support more aspiring pilots and provide them with information, resources and opportunities so they can make the first step in their careers. We now get involved in forming training policies and improving the aviation industry.
You also own an app design firm called MMD-Tech. Could you tell us more about that?
Yes, MMD-Tech is due to launch later on this year. But we already have about half a dozen apps in our portfolio. The business will specialise in app acquisitions and design. App acquisitions is becoming a very huge market and it’s often about purchasing apps that are doing well, and then develops it to do better.
How was growing up like for you?
Growing up was very serious and dreamy for me. I grew up in Zimbabwe where your parents expected you to be a doctor or engineer and all you would do is dream of getting the opportunity to do so. I’m glad I’ve got the opportunity to study and work in the UK.
Have you always wanted to do what you’re doing today?
A part of me always knew I would be running a business of sorts since high school. I went to Shenfield High School and I remember buying bulk mobile phone accessories from China and selling them on eBay. I have now gone from buying $1 accessories to buying $10,000 apps and trying to sell them.
How old are you now?
I’m 22years now. Strangely, I don’t feel 22. I just feel like I’ve worked for centuries and at times the hard work you put in catches up with you. Hence, I try and fit a few holidays in.
What was the most difficult thing about getting your first business of the ground?
The most difficult thing was getting the funds together. And also, another difficulty I had was because of my lack of trust in people. So I tried to do everything alone which always led to me being overworked or forgetting to do the things I’m supposed to do. Funding will always be an issue for many start-ups but I think that’s where having a team helps because it helps you split responsibility and just one person can concentrate on just finding funds.
How do you personally define success?
Success to me is being happy with what you do and what level you’re working at. It’s achieving what you always knew you would achieve.
Tell us about MMBF Trust.
MMBF Trust is an international charity I founded back in 2014 to support young people-actors, filmmakers and aspiring pilots. We aim to support individuals and provide them with resources to make their careers and starting up stage more successful. We do so through grants, scholarships and tailored competitions.
How do you seek out relevant mentor and people for help?
We do so through having an experienced Awarding Committee who look at all applications for support in detail and make sure we are awarding the most hardtop reach and in need people. We also have some volunteers that do research on behalf of the charity to make sure we have an accurate needs assessment.
Do you have any suggestions for coping with negative experiences?
There is no real one trick to it. I personally believe you need to solider on from negative experiences and keep your eye on the bigger picture. In business, things will always go wrong but as long as you’re still on the road to it, keep going.
What do you think about Under35CEO?
I think it’s a great site with articles to assist start-ups. The interviews on the site help to show the business journey from the different business people. I must say: this is very helpful for anyone starting up.
What’s your biggest achievement so far?
My biggest achievement personally has been getting MMBF Trust off the ground. I remember joking about the Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund with my dad back in 2013. And now seeing how many people we are assisting and how many lives are being changed due to my help is very touching.
Any words for young/aspiring entrepreneurs reading this interview?
My piece of advice is keep going for it. Don’t give up on anything at all. Remember any negative experiences and failures are only there to make you stronger. I had 2 unsuccessful businesses myself. One even went bankrupt under my watch but I’ve pulled it back to be where I am today.
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