Joao Mucciolo is a truly inspiring entrepreneur. Joao is the founder of Sushi Itto and Italianissimo, two restaurant chains in Nicaragua. He’s grown his businesses in a huge way over the last several years, expanding in a way that is not typical for Central America right now. The reasons behind the way Joao has grown his business are deeply personal and inspirational.
In his Paper Napkin Wisdom, he says: “Every day I will try to make you proud. Love is all, nothing else matters.” For Joao, the people he wants to make proud are his parents. At the age of 16, Joao and his family were living in Nicaragua as ambassadors of Brazil. A week before his senior year of high school, a plane crash claimed the lives of both Joao’s parents. He was left in a foreign country, a week shy of starting his senior year.
Joao grieved, but made the decision to stay in Nicaragua and keep moving forward. He told himself that he had to get up and get going because he needed to start his life and prove to his parents that in the 16 years they’d had together, they had done a good job raising their son. The desire to make his parents proud is one Joao consciously keeps in mind and it’s what drives him no matter what it is he’s doing.
Joao has had to create his own core values and remind himself of the values his parents gave him. He says that as you get older, your values grow stronger. As you go through life, life keeps teaching you things and you keep learning but it’s your decision whether or not you use that. You make a choice to live actively or live passively. “Life is pretty short,” says Joao “we should squeeze the juice out of every moment.”[Tweet “Life is pretty short, we should squeeze the juice out of every moment.”]
Getting the most out of life is a big part of how Joao grows his business. He isn’t just growing a business, he actively works to give people the opportunity to grow themselves. One his goals and that of his companies, is to make a change in the Nicaraguan community. He’s currently working with a local university in an effort to get a group rate so that his employees and their families will have better access to education.
Education is a big factor in Nicaragua; there isn’t a lot of access to it. Through his restaurants, Joao works to help change that. He believes that it’s up to everyone to put in a little bit of work for a better place, a better country, and a better world.
Through his passion and his leadership, Joao has created two high growth restaurants in the poorest country in Latin America. Mediocrity is not something he accepts, not only because of his ambition but because it is the love of his adopted country and its people that moves him forward. The most important thing to him is his family and the love they share, it only makes sense that he wants to make a better world for them.
While Joao’s motivation comes from an incredibly dramatic and tragic life event, he cautions those of us lucky enough to have no such experience to make the decision to have that drive. “Don’t wait for a dramatic event to happen to give you that drive,” he says. It’s a decision you can make. You have the power. How will you use it?[Tweet “You have the power. How will you use it?”]
Listen to my conversation with Joao here: