A Higher Purpose for Entrepreneurship
Carlos Carbonell is a local tech entrepreneur who has used his drive in entrepreneurship to overcome adverse challenges and to define his own path moving forward. He is a man who chooses daily to live life to the fullest and to give back by lifting others up in his community.
Defining The Orlando Life
Carlos grew up in Panama before moving to Miami at the age of 14. Looking to get out of town after high school, he enrolled at the University of Florida, where he paid for his own tuition. In his last semester, pursuing a degree in Engineering, he dropped out and gave more thought to where he was headed. He enrolled again with a renewed focus and graduated in two semesters with a degree in Advertising and Civil Engineering.
Upon graduating, Orlando became an attractive middle ground between Miami and Gainesville and offered a unique lifestyle with Disney and potential growth. He began his career working in ad agencies, and when one in particular opened up a digital division, he found himself gaining important project management skills that would become useful down the road.
During the time of our nation’s collapsing economy, the agency he was at fell victim and corporate decided to shut down their Orlando office. The option to move to another office outside of Florida was on the table, but Carlos decided Orlando was his home. He had already begun setting down his roots here and, compared to other cities who were also struggling, Orlando offered a better and more affordable lifestyle.
Overcoming Adverse Challenges Through Entrepreneurship
Carlos has been living in Orlando since about 2000. As a man who is an immigrant, Hispanic and openly gay, there were often struggles that he and others in his community faced when achieving success. While our culture has definitely become more inclusive over the years, he can recall numerous times where people would scream vulgarity to he and his friends as they walked out of a gay club on Bumby during southern nights.
How Diversity and Inclusion in Orlando Has Evolved
Carlos launched Echo Interaction Group in 2009 focusing on web, social and mobile. With mobile app development relatively new, he launched an Android Development meet-up group while also supporting and hosting iOS Development meet-up groups.
The decision to become an entrepreneur came out of necessity, but the path to entrepreneurship opened the door for Carlos to gain control of his life and not allow circumstances and others’ opinions to dictate his ability to achieve success.
Gaining Control Over Life Through Entrepreneurship
Advocating Entrepreneurship for Hispanic and LGBTQ Communities
While Carlos and his brothers were modeled Entrepreneurship by their father in Panama, he remembers a time when his father was only making $16,000/year. Not having a lot growing up, paying for his way through college, and knowing the struggles that he went through himself, Carlos does not allow his success to blind him to the struggles that others in his community go through. As a true leader in our community, he believes that giving back is what every leader should do and he models this by his own actions.
How LGBTQ Inclusiveness Impacts Local Regions
Like any city around our country that is dependent on one major industry, diversification into other industries becomes a critical goal to achieve a stronger culture and economy. In this video, Carlos dives into how a culture of inclusiveness has impacted other regions.
How Orlando’s Big Corporations Can Impact Our Region
Just recently Carlos reconnected with the woman who early on gave him the chance he needed to launch his company back in 2009. It was so important for him to thank her because without her Echo may not have been what it is today. Looking at the efforts being made by local entrepreneurs, Carlos shares what he believes Orlando needs outside of Angel Investments and VC Funding.
What Do You Want to See Happen in Orlando?
Advice for Non-Entrepreneurs Becoming Entrepreneurial
Entrepreneurship has been incredibly life-giving in Carlos’ journey and he wants to see a bigger focus on providing education on entrepreneurship to everyone. Knowing his father owned a business in Panama, he’s not sure if the mindset of being an entrepreneur comes from genetics or if it can be simply taught, but he believes we need to view it as the latter.
If the thought of not being an entrepreneur is getting in the way of starting your own company or preventing you from being innovative in the essence of leadership, Carlos gives some excellent advice in this video:
What His Journey Has Taught Him
What amazed me the most during my interview with Carlos Carbonella was the presence of his character and demeanor. Anyone who goes through a journey of hurt, difficulty and rejection has every excuse in the book to come out of it harboring resentment and anger. It takes true strength for someone to walk a journey similar to his and come out of it with the desire to put themselves aside and help others. In this video, Carlos shares what his personal journey has taught him.
Carlos serves on the Board of Directors for the Orlando Economic Partnership group and with One Orlando Alliance, an organization formed after the Pulse tragedy to bring together a support network for LGBTQ+ organizations in Central Florida.