Marion Teder: “The continuous learning process goes according to what the world has to offer.”

Marion Teder is the founder and CEO of CareMate – a platform that helps people needing home care assistance meet their personal needs by matching with local caregivers with the right skills and availability. Business and Professional Women Organisation (BPW Estonia) chose Marion as the Young Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2020.
This interview was conducted by Anette Tiitus, a member of the sTARTUp Day Marketing & PR team.

How did you become an entrepreneur – was it something that happened naturally or was it a well-deliberated decision?

It was certainly not a planned decision. Entrepreneurship came to me because I wanted to solve a big problem in our society. I experimented with different methods and finally the only thing left was creating a business through innovation. All in all, entrepreneurship happened all by itself.

Explain to a child what CareMate does.

CareMate is a platform where you can find a helping hand at any time. For example, to help with home care assistance or to help alleviate the feeling of loneliness. At the same time, the platform allows people with the right skills to offer needed help and earn money through it.

What motivated you the most at the beginning of your journey when you just started with CareMate?

Honestly, I considered for a long time whether it was possible to make and develop this platform at all. However, life itself showed me that CareMate is the right thing to do. Therefore, I could not miss the opportunities that had come my way. For example, an event called Idea Garage: Estonian Wellbeing 2017, organized by Garage 48, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Civitta, that focused on innovation in Social Care. I felt that I had an idea that could be a solution to a social problem. It was inspirational to see that people can really benefit from CareMate. I believe it will have a big impact on the world. This experience gave me the greatest motivation to move forward.

What are the personality traits that help a person to become successful?

There are definitely certain personality traits to become successful. For example, a person has to be consistent with their idea, and they must have the desire to perpetually move forward with it. You cannot let your emotions control your actions and thoughts. The goal has to be on your mind constantly. Without it, it is difficult to accomplish the project. There must be no matter what happens mentality to achieve the goals.

What have been the biggest victories along your journey?

Anyone who has received help from the CareMate platform marks a big victory. We help people daily so that they can live a fuller life. The gratitude that we can actually make a person feel better is a great success and motivation.

The road to success is usually with ups and downs. During your road to success, were there moments where you thought that you were going to fail and this whole thing would not take off?

In the beginning, we did not receive support from the European Social Fund. We were only two points away from getting the funding. That time was devastating. Because of this, I lost my whole team and had to start all over again.
At that moment, I also had to consider whether the whole project was worth it at all. At the same time, seeing that my company was beneficial to many people was a great motivation to start all over.
Nevertheless, this spring, CareMate was successful and we got funding through the European Social Fund. Thanks to that, we now have a working platform and not just a prototype anymore.

Tell me something you are learning right now.

I try to expand my knowledge every day and can't come up with anything specific. Mostly I try to learn about personality and leadership, traits that are important when running a business. With COVID-19, CareMate had to learn quickly to cope with a new situation to continue operating. The continuous learning process goes according to what the world has to offer.

If you had one superpower as an entrepreneur, what would it be and why?

Sometimes I wish that I could stop time. Many tasks need to be completed during the day. It is rather easy to burn out when starting a business because, in that stage, there is this motivation and excitement to get a lot done quickly. It is hard to recognize your limits. At times like these, I would like to stop time and recover for a moment to continue solving problems with new energy.

Why is now the time for CareMate to exist?

The older generation, the target group of CareMate, has quietly allowed digital solutions into their lives and are learning to use them. When I tried to tell my grandmother what the internet was three years ago, it was a lot harder to do then than it is now.

Another thing is that the proportion of the world's aging population, who need daily care and attention, is rapidly growing. This knowledge has entered people's consciousness and is noticed much more than before. This is also the time when solutions are urgently needed. CareMate offers the solution. We try to give it to as many people in the world as possible.

Recently, we got our first bigger investment, thanks to which we now have an opportunity to start expanding to foreign markets, to London in particular.

What makes you excited about the future?

I want to see that my work really is beneficial, and thanks to that society will become more caring. We notice people close to us and we are more attentive. We are starting to think more and more about important aspects of life such as loneliness and a healthy lifestyle. And people will accept more support from others. Through all this, society becomes more caring and healthier. I want the whole world to be able to do it all, and I feel that CareMate can contribute a lot.

Hero of the Week is a column focused on inspirational entrepreneurial people around us – their journeys, success stories and lessons learned from failures, goals, inspiration and everything in between. Get inspired and be the Hero of your own life!

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