All Eyes on You – Juan Zabala

Last year, I created the “Who to Watch” list, which spotlighted 16 creatives or entrepreneurs from Reading, PA. In honor of the new list approaching, I followed up with the 2018 class to see what they’ve done since we started watching them.

Courtesy of Retorocle

How has your company/ brand/ you grown?

I don’t know if my company or brand has grown, but I know we are
moving in the right direction. Last year I said that I consider myself a
social entrepreneur and investor. I think that I have been able to surround myself with more like-minded people and we have been able to accomplish a lot of great things for our community.

What did you accomplish this year?

We Launched SOIL! This year has seen us create our urban co-working
place. S.O.I.L (Save Our Inner-City Lives). I think we have been able to
get our mission out there to the masses and set ourselves up for future
growth. We have hosted workshops, helped to start businesses, hosted
great discussion nights, and created a space where people can be their
most authentic selves.

Courtesy of The Wonder of Ivy

What is the biggest lesson you learned?

Go! Don’t talk yourself out of a great idea. Sometimes people will find
themselves at a different stage in their life. Just because you are at one stage in your life does not mean that everyone else is there also. Give people time to find themselves. In the meantime, keep believing in what
you believe in, and keep doing what you believe in your heart is right.
Just because other people do not believe in it does not mean that it’s not something worth believing in. SOIL is here because we believed that it
could happen and we wanted to make an impact in our community.

Has your “why” changed?

My why will never change. I love people and I love business. When we
are able to merge the two we are able to change people’s lives. I want to leave an impact on this world that outlives my memory. I want to make sure that the poorest among us are at least able to see light at the end of the tunnel. As long as there is poverty on this Earth there will always be work to do to try to alleviate those conditions. I love sharing the world
with all people!

Courtesy of The Wonder of Ivy

What’s next for 2019?

Next year we are going to TURN UP!! I think 2019 is the year that
we have been waiting for. Tech Centers, more workshops, the urban
development project that I call, “Millionaires Row”, the Poverty Project,
Clean YO Streets Initiative, Buying the Block Initiatives, Here In My City
(an urban newspaper), more homeowners, more creation of wealth in communities like Reading. We are going to fix urban America. I truly believe that if we can fix the American inner-city than we are truly fixing the world. Cities are where the most hopeful among us come to start this American dream, a dream that you can’t define until you experience it.
2019 will be the year of SOIL, the year of the people, the year that we become the best versions of ourselves. I’m excited for me, but I’m more excited for US!!

You can read Juans’s 2018 “Who To Watch” entry here.

You can check out SOIL on Facebook here and Instagram here. You can also follow Juan on his personal Instagram here and his person Twitter here.

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