Thinking about the moments that made him change his way of life, Fernando Lourenco has emerged a man with a vision and purpose in life and sits down with us in an exclusive interview. Narrating stories of how naughty he was in his younger years, Fernando remembers his untamed attitude towards life and how he eventually moved to the UK for education and gained a new perspective on his future.
Solving problems through art was the starting point of Fernando’s mission. He eventually obtained a BA and MSc in design, and later MRes and PhD in entrepreneurship and sustainability education with full scholarship and joined Manchester Metropolitan University Business School in 2008 as a Senior Lecturer & Unit Leader. In 2009, he was awarded the National Enterprise Educators Award (UK).
Amongst his various achievements, he takes immense pride in developing a range of for-profit and social enterprises in cooperation with a number of entrepreneurs. He is a founding member of SIMANG Association of Macau (mission: tackle social exclusion through education) and Chong Chin Association of Macau (mission: promoting the cultural and creative industries). He also invested in business enterprises in the city including White Picture Productions to offer services in film productions and 2Legit Barbershop, a creative venture in Macau that’s making waves in the region.
What’s the most poignant moment in your life and career?
I wanted to influence people and make a significant impact for them to change their lives and take control of their goals. When I was in the UK, my career took me to helping people from poor backgrounds teach them to become entrepreneurs. I reached out to minorities, people with disabilities and people who were socially excluded. I interacted with them and taught how to create a livelihood for themselves. I designed practical education and my approach was hands-on. I worked on the person and not just the theory but also with consideration to skills and attitude.
What have you been doing in Macau?
I came back to Macau in 2012 and IFT offered me a post and it’s something I will never regret because what matters most are people around me and I want to be spending my best active and creative years contributing and giving back to this city.
As an assistant professor, I am currently teaching entrepreneurship, store design and visual merchandising, and Tourism Retail and Marketing Business Project. My role is to motivate students to become entrepreneurial and creative.
How has Macau changed since then?
I think it’s different now. The past has its pluses and minuses; it is the same with today. I do see lots and lots of positive changes in the city and I am very grateful.
What do you enjoy in Macau nowadays?
I do enjoy spending time with family and friends, work on my projects, skateboarding, and running. A simple life.
You also created a movie amongst your other endeavors. What was it like?
It’s called Against the Wind , it is an inspiration movie. We struggled at the beginning because we started with no resources and then it took us almost two years and eventually got our screening for a very low-cost independent movie. A lot of people are asking for more screenings now because of the great feedback we received. So far, we had screenings in Macau and Hong Kong, we are currently trying to get it screened in Taiwan and making it available on iTunes. The money we generated from the screening in Hong Kong was donated in full to deaf and blind runners.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned in life so far?
I came from a poor family. We’re not rich and everything in Macau is dominated by many rich and successful groups one generation after another. It’s not easy to start at the bottom, to start small and think big about your dreams. But I know, impossible is nothing. I just have to remember the longer the process the more lessons I learn in life. So I just got to go at my own pace. The journey may not be easy but it is a journey that will make me stronger.
Anything exciting coming up for you this year?
Being a dad of two, husband, member of organizations, shareholder, and professor at IFT, there’s definitely a lot going on. I think I need to focus and plan strategically for my current projects. But nevertheless, I love getting my hands dirty and work on many projects with many people because this is what I love doing. There will be certainly better education products, research, investments in entrepreneurial activities, more films, and more fun.