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Balancing Business and Philanthropy: Luciano de Vries’ Impact on Animal Welfare

The next venture from international entrepreneur Luciano de Vries isn’t about making money. In fact, it can’t make money. Instead, the man responsible for building a string of successful businesses across Europe and the Americas is turning his attention toward a new kind of project.

With the help of local experts, de Vries plans to start a new venture that focuses on animal welfare in his adopted hometown of Lisbon, Portugal.

With a mission to improve the lives of animals and better educate people about the best ways to care for their pets, the project will combine de Vries’ personal passion for animal welfare with his business acumen. And, hopefully, it will make a difference in the lives of pets across the country.

A Desire to Help

Unsurprisingly for someone who wants to fund a new animal-focused nonprofit, de Vries and his girlfriend are big fans of four-legged friends.

For years, dogs have been a near-constant in de Vries’ life, often accompanying him at the office or waiting for him at home. So, when de Vries and his girlfriend decided to settle down in Portugal, they made sure to find a place with the kind of outdoor space that would allow their dogs to play.

But once they settled into a routine, they were struck by culture shock.

While many pet owners they encountered shared the couple’s love and passion for dogs, they also discovered wide-ranging opinions on the role of dogs in society. Some people they met saw dogs as lesser life forms, good only for their ability to provide value to human endeavors through their ability to function as guards or police helpers.

“We noticed when we arrived, that the animal welfare here is a bit different,” de Vries said. “In the Netherlands, and I think it’s the same in the USA, pets become a part of the family. People treat them very well. Here, in Portugal, they are used for guarding. They are usually kept on a short leash in the sun without water.”

It was an attitude de Vries wanted to change. Luckily, that’s what he does best.

Since his early 20s, de Vries has built a career around discovering an unfilled need in a market and quickly finding a way to supply it. That’s how he created successful companies across a variety of industries, from event planning to transportation.

So, when he discovered that more people needed to learn about animal welfare, he went to work.

“I started to investigate what I could do to help. We went to the local shelters because my first idea was to start a shelter myself, but I needed to get information. So, I went to one of the biggest shelters and one of the best shelters around my area, and it taught me a lot of things,” he said. “They pointed out to me that there’s a new shelter about three minutes from my home that was just being built. So, I asked them how I could help, and, of course, it was money. But I didn’t want to give just one-time money. I wanted to start working with them to make their operation better. They wanted help with how their team was functioning. They wanted to learn something from us so they could generate more money or more quality leads, or more marketing.”

Leading by Example

Of course, it takes more than simply providing funding and business advice to make a difference. True leaders, de Vries said, set an example. That’s how he handles leading companies like Bayswater Capital, and how he keeps himself close to what’s happening with animals.

When he’s not at work, de Vries is virtually always surrounded by dogs. With the help of his girlfriend, he keeps a roster of foster dogs – in addition to the two dogs that are permanent members of his family.”

“We always take new foster dogs into our home. We just welcomed our sixth and seventh dog in the last three months,” he says. “We take care of them because they’re abandoned and in the shelter, they mentioned that there are not a lot of people with a big love for animals in Portugal, so the attention they got was minimal. That’s not because of the shelter itself, but because they lack people and funds to give these dogs the space and affection they need.”

Luciano de Vries believes that spreading the word about animal welfare – how dogs and cats can enrich human lives by lowering stress levels, increasing positive feelings, reducing loneliness, and extended life spans – can benefit people in Portugal and across the globe.

If his past success is any guide, the new venture will be massively successful.