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Elia Blot-Lefevre reflects on entrepreneurial journey, career aspirations

Sophia Hsu
Elia Blot-Lefevre (’26) works on the website he created for his ocean cleanup business, Osean. Blot-Lefevre has also made social media accounts promoting his startup.

While surfing with his dad along the Moroccan coast in 2023, Elia Blot-Lefevre (’26) could not ignore the unsettling amount of litter floating in the sea. After catching a wave brimming with plastic, Blot-Lefevre said he felt truly exposed to the gravity of ocean pollution. Blot-Lefevre and his father made an attempt to clear up the beach.

“We left thinking we had cleaned up quite a bit,” Blot-Lefevre said. “The issue was it was windy so we could see the trash cans with plastic flying out of them. There was really nothing we could do at a large scale between just the two of us.”

After seeing the polluted Moroccan shoreline, Blot-Lefevre developed a desire to combine his concern for ocean pollution with his interest in business and entrepreneurship.

“There was an opportunity there which could really bring people’s awareness to what’s actually going on because it’s not normal,” Blot-Lefevre said. “It shouldn’t be happening.”

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In 2023, Blot-Lefevre founded Osean, a business with a mission to revitalize the marine ecosystem through beach clean-ups and collecting plastic waste. However, Blot-Lefevre said Osean is still in developmental stages due to bureaucratic challenges.

“It’s a very long process because it’s international work and that takes a lot of licensing,” Blot-Lefevre said. “It’s going to be a long road, but hopefully, I’d say in the next year or two it could be well established. There’s no point in rushing it.”

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A post shared by Osean (@osean.intl)

Moreover, Blot-Lefevre said the business faced further obstacles after he was made aware of the prevalence of organized crime in the waste collection industry due to union involvement. As a result, Blot-Lefevre said he had to find alternatives to the locations he originally planned for Osean to operate in, which the school helped him with.

“I was lucky to have such a good teacher in my social studies class, Mr. Gladis, who’s really helping me with everything,” he said. “The entire network that you get from the school is amazing. The teachers, the quality of the teachers that know so much.”

Despite him only being 15 years old, Osean was not Blot-Lefevre’s first business venture. Having developed an interest in the entrepreneurial field during middle school, Blot-Lefevre began reselling watches and shoes for cheap prices at 14 years old, though he yearned for larger-scale opportunities.

In 2019, Blot-Lefevre established his first large entrepreneurial project, EBL Media, a marketing agency that works to help clients develop websites and social media accounts through the company’s consultations.

Blot-Lefevre said EBL Media grew into a successful agency, focusing on supporting customers learning to use platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

Within a few months, Blot-Lefevre said he had secured his first client and was making “quite a bit of money.” Nonetheless, he said he began to struggle with managing his large sums of profit and was worried he became “too comfortable with the money [he] was making at that age.”

After feeling like he had “made it already” and succeeded with his business, Blot-Lefevre said his desire to dedicate himself lessened, leading him to lose his client. Consequently, Blot-Lefevre said he reflected on his actions and objectives for the future, remodifying his attitude and work ethic.

“You really have to work like all the time, and you can’t let go because, you know, when you do let go, bad things happen,” Blot-Lefevre said.

As such, Blot-Lefevre said it has been difficult to manage both his school work and his businesses, alongside other hobbies.

“I still hang out with my friends all the time,” Blot-Lefevre said. “It’s no different than who I was before I started. It’s just that now, instead of playing football, I have this and that’s my goal to drive as far as I can.”

Ultimately, Blot-Levfevre said he feels most fulfilled watching his companies grow as a result of his tireless commitment.

“It was never about the money,” Blot-Lefevre said. “It’s just about, you know, the adrenaline, and the drive you get from building these companies.”

Looking forward, Blot-Lefevre said he plans to prioritize Osean and its upcoming official launch, which he intends to complete through diligent prioritization.

“It’s really about just keeping up the work, communicating and being confident in what you do,” Blot-Lefevre said. “If you’re ever going to start a business, definitely learn before you start to see the best overview of the market.”

This story was originally published on The Standard on March 18, 2024.