Getting to know you: Andrew Skeene

What do you currently do?
I currently co-own a company called Global Forestry Investments with my business partner Omari Bowers.
Essentially we are a sustainable investment company.  We purchase forestry land in emerging markets and plant trees. We then sell sections of land and trees to investors. For each tree an investor purchases, Global Forestry Investments will plant a new tree in a protected area. The trees we plant will remain completely untouched and go towards reforesting the depleted Brazilian rainforest.
Investor’s trees are left to grow and mature until they are ready to be sold. At present we are dealing with teak trees, which take roughly 20 to 25 years to mature. When the trees are ready to be sold to market, an investor will have hoped to have made a return of around ten to 20 percent per annum on their original investment.
Throughout the process we take care of the land and manage the trees. This is a long term investment opportunity, perfect for smaller investors who are perhaps looking to choose an ethical and sustainable investment for their children and grand children.
Who is your inspiration in business?
The first book I ever picked up pertaining to business was Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson.  This is a man who always thinks out the box and pushes the boundaries that’s why he’s an inspiration to me.  For example his latest project is Virgin Galactic offering individual’s space travel. 
A quote from Branson:
“My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them…from the perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had to attempt it”
My new inspiration is Al Gore,  Mr. Gore is the author of An Inconvenient Truth, a best-selling book on the threat of and solutions to global warming, and the subject of the movie of the same title, which has already become one of the top documentary films in history. In 2007, An Inconvenient Truth was awarded two Academy Awards for Best Documentary Feature and Best Original Song. 
Alongside that Al Gore could become world’s first carbon billionaire, Mr Gore had said that he is simply putting his money where his mouth is, which is refreshing to hear. The green industry is the future and it’s important to position yourselves to profit from this green transformation, the question is not if renewable energy going to thrive, the question is who going to thrive with it.
Whom do you admire?
That’s easy Barak Obama, this is a man who made the impossible possible.
I admire him because he has brought all walks of life together regardless of background, religion, colour or creed, I also love his family values which is important to me. He’s an outstanding narrator but more importantly he cares which shows in everything he does. 
He represents change for the better and any individual who has that focus and certainty to succeed gets my admiration. 
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently 
Everything I have done has made me the man I am today. I’m a strong believer in  “success is not a straight line, it’s a learning curve”. Therefore to be successful you have to make mistakes, and if you have got the determination and persistence you will succeed, in the office we call it “Failing your way to Success” 
What defines your way of doing business 
There are a few aspects which define how I do business, the first is my parents, they have instilled something in me which is to be polite and respectful to everyone, they also outlined that it is important to treat people how you want to be treated. My dad once told me manners can take you around the world. 
The corner stone on how I do business is I’m always learning, It could be from the office cleaner, from my PA, to my business partner, I live by the saying “When your green your growing when your ripe your rotten”  because when you think you know everything, you miss opportunities. When you think you know everything and you’re willing to learn more, that makes all the differences. 
What advice would you give to anybody just starting out? 
Research, research and research! Find as many successful individuals in the same industry as you who are experienced and still motivated. Use their business models as an example but put your own twist to it.
Set yourself goals and deadlines, don’t put off tasks until tomorrow, and execute tasks as they come. Don’t procrastinate, be very careful who you employ, make sure that your contracts are water tight, no mans an island and your success will be reflected on who you work with on a day to day basis. Surround yourself with like minded and positive individuals.