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Ricardo Martínez Herrera

Ricardo is an artist and the founder of T-IL, a company assisting clients in more than 10 countries. Originally from Mexico, he moved to Belgium where he embarked on his entrepreneurial journey.

Ricardo's entrepreneurial journey

Ricardo is the founder and manager of T-IL, a company in Belgium, with clients in more than 10 countries. He is responsible for creating the digital presence of his clients. During confinement, he decided to step into the culture and arts sector as well, which has always been his real passion.

As a student in Mexico, being an entrepreneur was highly discouraged. However, unable to continue his studies due to lack of funds, he decided to embark on an entrepreneurial path, to find a way to fund his education, and, despite the challenges, starting a business was the most logical option.

For Ricardo, digital entrepreneurship was an obvious choice. He says, “In my mind, my digital skills were a bridge to get to my real passion: art. Being savvy in website creation, marketing and graphic design helped me to start a company and get clients, but as of 2020, we have pivoted into the culture and arts sector, which is where my heart has always found a home. The arts have been heavily impacted by COVID-19, as venues and exhibitions have needed to spend long periods of time closed. So I am excited to be contributing my many skills — including sculpting, web development, and communications — to a sector that needs a lot of support right now.”

Starting a business in Belgium is not an easy process, and Ricardo says that he wouldn’t be here without the support of MolenGeek, a non-profit organisation that helped him to establish his company, providing him with office space, and trusted him to become one of his first Belgian clients!

“For a migrant, one of the hardest things about starting a business is that we often lack a professional network. This is why it was so important for me to find MolenGeek, as they also connected me to my accountant, my lawyer, and lots of technical support. Is there work to be done in the entrepreneurship scene in Brussels? Yes. But as long as there are organisations that are willing to spotlight young (and not so young) talents, things can only get better.”  Ricardo did not follow any official training. He first worked with a co-founder, who already had years of management experience, which was a very helpful experience for him.

Ricardo has recently received a grant from the Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles to research and produce artworks in 2021, and this is a great validation of his artistic career. “I count this as the highlight of this year!”. 

What's next?

“I would love to become the biggest artist to come out of Mexico & Belgium in the next five years. For this to happen, I need to continue producing artwork. My next piece is a monumental network of dynamic strips of light connected to a system that resembles a brain, created alongside a neuro-surgeon collaborator. Needless to say, I’m really excited about this coming year.”

Advice for prospective entrepreneurs
“If you are completely certain in your heart that you’ve found your passion, then keep going. Your family and friends may not understand it, but you can make it happen. Also, get a good accountant from the beginning! Keep on keeping on!”

Ricardo is from Mexico. He left 10 years ago during the most violent period in ‘the war on drugs’, dropping out of university due to lack of funds. After leaving Mexico, equipped with only a camera and a computer, he started a small photography and website business in Belize. The money he earned during this period allowed him to obtain his degree and masters in sculpture in Brussels. He has been living in Belgium for seven years now.