Natalie Kyriacou

Founder & CEO, My Green World

Fast Five is our quickfire interview series where we hit up some legendary movers, shakers, innovators and changemakers with, you’ve guessed it, five big questions. In this week’s edition, Natalie Kyriacou tells us how an orangutan set her on her journey to drive positive change worldwide.

Q1. Give us three words that describe your life as an entrepreneur

Meaningful, exciting, painful

Q2. Most entrepreneurs have an origin story- a moment in time or an experience that was the catalyst for their entrepreneurial journey. What is your origin story? 

In 2008, I spent time abroad connecting with nature throughout Asia. One of my first stops was Borneo, where I lived in the jungle working at an orangutan rehabilitation centre. One evening, I was sitting in my guesthouse which bordered the jungle, when I looked out my window and saw an orangutan wearing my underwear around his neck. His name was Miko, and he was an orphaned orangutan that had been semi- successfully rehabilitated to the wild. I stepped out onto the balcony to retrieve my underwear, and ended up in tug-of-war contest with Miko over my underwear. Essentially this is my origin story. I returned to Australia wanting to find a way to engage young people in global wildlife and environmental issues in fun and interesting ways. 

Q3. Tell us about a massive flearning (failing + learning) moment for you.

It’s hard to pick just one. I’d say my life is just made up of a series of big failures marked with some moments of success. As Winston Churchill said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Q4. What do you wish you’d learned at school about starting or running a business?

That the failures and challenges that you experience are the greatest gifts and most defining and character-building assets you can have.

Q5. What’s one book, website or podcast you’d recommend to aspiring young entrepreneurs, and why? 

It is so hard to pick just one! I would recommend reading widely and broadly. Ethics in the Real World by Peter Singer is an important read.

 

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More about this week’s Fast Fiver, Natalie Kyriacou.

For over ten years, Natalie has been endeavouring to drive positive change worldwide; creating inclusive youth education programs and technologies that increase access to wildlife and environmental conservation and sciences. Her approach has been to spark curiosity among young people by creating entertaining learning technologies that are accessible to all.

Natalie is the Founder and CEO of My Green World, the Creator of World of the Wild mobile game app, and the Australian Director of Sri Lankan-based NGO, Dogstar Foundation and a Management Consultant at PwC. She is a Forbes 30 Under 30 honouree, a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia and a Finalist for the UNEP Young Champion of the Earth Prize

Natalie has represented Australian on a global stage, and is particularly passionate about wildlife and environmental issues, ensuring access to education, increasing female participation in science, technology and leadership roles and empowering the next generation of young people to participate in issues of global concern.

Natalie is just one of the many social entrepreneurs who have been part of Future Anything’s youth entrepreneurships programs. She was part of the global judging panel for the 2020 Future Anything Activate National Finals, helping to select the top 20 entries from hundreds of submissions from teams of high school entrepreneurs.

Like this? If you enjoyed this interview, be sure to subscribe to Future Anything’s regular e-newsletter for more just like this. You can sign up here!

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