Serial entrepreneur Eva Palatinsky took three key lessons from her first business, a flower shop she opened in Brazil around 2010.
First, as a tenant in a shopping mall, she learned how to deal with big corporations.
As a growing business, she learned quickly the importance of hiring the right people.
Finally, she learned that flowers die in the Brazilian heat when you turn off the AC for an entire weekend.
“It was crazy,” she said with a laugh as she recollected recently. “Nobody tells you that. I never again want to work with inventory that can die.”
She quickly moved past that misstep to build multiple businesses before her current pursuit, Globalfy, a client of UCF’s Business Incubation Program.
A resource for international businesses
The company helps foreign-born business owners navigate the intricacies of the U.S.’s complicated rules and regulations for enterprise.
Palatinsky said she was, essentially, her first customer before she even knew it.
Having built a business in Brazil, she ran into a series of obstacles when she wanted to move it to the U.S. in 2012.
After discovering that her company was non-compliant with some of the rules in the U.S., her accountant essentially dismissed her concerns, saying she never asked.
However, Palatinsky says it’s difficult for entrepreneurs to even know what to ask when moving into a new economy.
So she started blogging about how to build a business in the U.S. and saw traction almost immediately.
The goal, she says, is to minimize roadblocks to foreign-born entrepreneurs, as well as those for whom English is a second language.
“When they can make informed decisions, they have more of a chance to succeed,” Palatinsky said. “They know what to expect in their new country’s business environment.”
From blog to business
The business began out of a simple blog that tackled the U.S. business landscape in multiple languages.
The actual brand Globalfy launched in 2015 and almost immediately drew clients who had questions as they navigated the sometimes complicated structures and regulations.
Now, eight years later, the company has nearly 9,000 clients, 80 employees and plans to expand its services next year.
The website content is free but it has led to client work, Palatinsky said.
“What is important is the long-term relationships,” she said. “If they are blindsided, and open a business without knowing what it requires, what taxes they need to pay, they most likely will not succeed.”
To soften her landing, Palatinsky became involved with UCF’s Business Incubation Program.
How incubator helped lay the path
Globalfy became an incubator client working out of its downtown Orlando location in 2021.
“The incubator was a really important part of our journey,” she said. “They have so many connections in the local entrepreneurial scene.”
Through the incubator, Palatinsky was connected to a stable of mentors, including former Darden CEO Kim Lopdrup.
“How else would I have access to someone like him, to discuss business and help with decisions I had to make?” she said. “It makes immersion inside the startup scene in Orlando easier. You build relationships through these programs.”
From an entrepreneurial family
Transitioning a business from a foreign country to the U.S. certainly has its business-related obstacles.
However, paired with cultural differences makes the challenge even more daunting. Palatinsky used her own experiences to built Globalfy into a resource to help with that.
“We needed to learn about schools they had or even the celebrations they have here,” she said. “Google was my best friend.”
Entrepreneurship runs in Palatinsky’s family.
Her brother and father both have run businesses.
So, the ups and downs she has faced were nothing new and now she gets to impart that message to others.
“It was the natural path to change my life and to change other people’s lives, as well,” she said. “Having a traditional career at a company, you can do that, too. But I never wanted to follow the traditional path. I wanted to create one.”
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