How your personal passion can uncover your business purpose

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7 minute read 26 Apr 2018
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US Americas

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

7 minute read 26 Apr 2018
Related topics Growth Purpose Alumni Innovation

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Gilo Cardozo is on a mission to share his love of flying. Discover how his personal passion helped him find his company’s wider purpose.

When Gilo Cardozo started his company in Wiltshire in 2000, he had one simple and very personal purpose: to share his love of flying with other aviation enthusiasts. Working out of a garage, he built Parajets in the hope of getting as many people as possible into the air to experience what it feels like to see the world from a new perspective.

Finding your purpose

Cardozo freely admits that when he started the company, he was too young and too inexperienced to think of how his work could make a significant and positive impact on society.

"As the business grows, obviously you start to learn more about the world and you see what its shortcomings are, what's missing and whether you can use some of the technology you're creating to make the world a better place," he says.

Today, Gilo Industries works with defense and aerospace companies to design technology that can improve businesses and provide assistance in crisis situations. The company is currently developing both manned and autonomous aircraft that are more affordable and more agile than helicopters, providing a more efficient way to drop off supplies and equipment in hard to reach places around the world.

However, Jim Edmondson, the company’s CEO, says having fun is still a vital part of the firm’s vision: "The overall purpose of Gilo Industries is creating products that can help humanity become more efficient, and that's what our ultimate goal is. But at the same time […] everything we do is with a sense of fun and trying to create positivity."

A natural evolution

The social purpose of Gilo Industries has developed organically over the years, but a pivotal point came when Gilo teamed up with TV survivalist Bear Grylls to create a Parajet that could fly over Mount Everest. Cardozo says he almost bankrupted the company as he set out to develop a high-powered, lightweight engine that was up to the task. In 2007, the project succeeded. The expedition not only raised US$1m for Global Angels projects across Africa, it also propelled the company onto a global stage.

It was at this point that Gilo Industries grew from a company that catered just to sports enthusiasts to one that had a larger commercial clientele. Gilo and his team started a new business called Rotron to develop their engine technology and to focus on areas that could help humanity, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and outboard engines.

“The key driver in our business has been making personal aircraft, but we needed special engines to do that and, in creating these special engines, we've then accessed other companies who need our engine technology,” Cardozo explains. “So we've made quite an impact in the industry in that sense. But where I see us moving in the future is in the way we apply our engine technology to our own aircraft, and that I see being much more significantly disruptive."

Commercial and social purpose go hand in hand

When a company has a social purpose that creates value for others, it naturally increases its ability to drive profits and create sustainable growth. A clearly defined purpose enables a business to focus on strategy and deliver meaning to both its customers and employees.

Carrie Tucker, CFO of Gilo Industries and EY alumna, explains: "We have our commercial perspective and our social perspective, and we won’t be able to fulfill our social purpose unless we can get the commercial element right."

Cardozo argues that if you can address real world issues, you naturally create more market value. His dream is to continue to build machines that allow us to move around the planet more efficiently than ever before.

Explaining what the future holds for aviation, Cardozo says that in the 1900s, no one could imagine today’s world where millions of cars travel safely around the planet. He believes that that’s what it will be like for us when we see the aircraft of the future: "We burn through 100 tons of fuel to fly 200 people from here to Hong Kong — it's insane how much fuel we're burning, and I think there's just so much room for improvement. Yes, we accept it as the status quo, and it is amazing technology we use today, but it's nothing compared with where we're going."

Summary

By focusing on making the world a better place, businesses can increase profits and find sustainable growth.

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By

US Americas

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

Related topics Growth Purpose Alumni Innovation