What can you tell us about your company?
Women’s Economy Europe’s mission is to provide solutions to remove internal and external gender-based barriers to women’s economic empowerment, by helping organisations which want to support women’s personal and professional growth through specialized, gender and culturally sensitive resources, training, mentoring and advice.
What or who inspired you to set up your own company?
I’ve been working for many years as a mentor for young women entrepreneurs in the Mediterranean region. This is how I got somehow caught up in entrepreneurship. But this entrepreneurial spirit and my natural drive for contributing to a better world “in my way” was still not enough to dare to start a company… Finally, at one of the European projects about entrepreneurship promotion which I was co-managing in my previous job, I then met my mentor (a great businesswoman and women rights advocate) and a group of other great professionals and very nice people. The idea of starting something with likeminded colleagues started arising in all of us and mutually-motivated the idea finally came true: I was co-founder of a company; a woman entrepreneur myself.
What were the challenges that you faced when you decided to launch your company? Did you have any support from organisations?
My first concern was of an economic nature. In order to launch Women’s Economy Europe in Spain I needed to invest a lot of time. Thus it was not an option to keep a fulltime job. But to switch from the reassurance of a monthly paid salary to the instability of the entrepreneurial being was not easy at the beginning; especially from a mental point of view.
Another challenge was (and still is) having my business partners spread in different countries (Women’s Economy Europe operates not only in Spain, but also in Italy and the UK). It is not as easy as when having the possibility to quickly meet in person. Even though I use Skype and co. for communication I believe that for certain decisions personal meetings are key.
Entrepreneurship is still often considered a man’s territory; what advice would you give young women who want to become an entrepreneur?
…To feel confident enough to run a business. Also for men entrepreneurship is always a learning process; actually it is for every individual. And maybe men don’t share their worries and doubts as much as women do, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t have them. It is normal to face obstacles in the entrepreneurial path but if you really want to achieve it and you envisage the goal of your company running, this will give you strength to overcome them. So my advice is: get engaged in a project which you really love, with which you are truly engaged; this will give you the power to overcome most of the obstacles that you might face.
Entrepreneurship is an adventure but also a chance for self-realization and empowerment (economic, professional and personal).
What is your favourite part of your job?
…The design of our tailored programmes in which you have to get to know the target group very well and be very sensitive with their different situations. The contact with the people we train. And when at the end of a programme the beneficiaries tell you that it has been useful and that they enjoyed it.
Favourite quote/motto? “If you really want something believe that you can achieve it and then work hard towards your goal. If in the end you don’t get it, take feedback from others, reflect, learn and get the best out of the experience.”(Mine)
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.”(Estée Lauder)
“People respond well to those that are sure of what they want.”(Anna Wintour, editor-in-Chief, American Vogue)
Name of the business: Women’s Economy Europe
Other positions: Co-founder di Share & Grow, azienda di consulenza di progetti di impatto sociale per PMI; consulente legale e di progetti indipendente; Diretrice di Area (K3) di Toastmasters International (club internazionale di public speaking).