Friday, December 3

Cecilia Ribecco: “Giving female entrepreneurs visibility generates new growth spaces”

Cecilia Ribecco: It is a non-profit organization that was born in 2013 in the United States. It has a global reach and impacts in more than 144 countries through its ambassadors taking actions to empower, celebrate and provide support to women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs. In Latin America, WED has one of its largest communities, with the highest representation Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. WED promotes the Sustainable Development Goals by fostering diversity, and ensuring quality education through sustainable economic growth. The focus and mission are on empowering, celebrating and supporting women entrepreneurs to generate new initiatives, drive economic expansion and promote communities around the world.

Q .: What is the focus of the celebration this year?

C.R.: This year the celebration will be in virtual format, under the Women 4.0 concept with a focus on promoting technology for the sector. The transfer of the organization’s Argentine ambassador will be officiated, granting it to Valeria Moledo, businesswoman in the field of events in the province of Mendoza, who is part of WED.

Q .: Where is the importance of celebrating the Day of Women Entrepreneurs in Argentina?

C.R.: Since 2016 I have promoted the movement, when I was appointed as an ambassador to begin writing a new chapter of the organization in our country. At that time there were no other organizations that brought us together and entrepreneurial businesses were focused on the male gender, leaving aside our imprint. Over time, thanks to the latest movements, the female gaze began to gain strength, and entrepreneurship and business were no exception. Entrepreneurship implies taking risks and for that decision and that path to be better, relying on the experience of other women who have more experience and were leaving traces along the way is essential to be able to act in a network. This is essential for us, that is why this network is united and dialogues through its actions in different countries. In 2019, from the Association of Entrepreneurs of Argentina, together with organizations related to the cause, I promoted the bill so that the Day of the Entrepreneurial Woman is declared at the national level on November 19, a project that still awaits its final approval and that we hope that so be it to give visibility and space for dialogue in order to promote the work of women who undertake.

Q .: What is the law of entrepreneurs that you are promoting?

C.R.: From WED Argentina and in conjunction with other national organizations that promote female entrepreneurship, we work as I mentioned in the bill of the Day of the Entrepreneurial Woman. For many years, it has been part of the topics that I have also discussed at ASEA, the Association of Entrepreneurs of Argentina, and in 2018 it was one of the topics that we took to the National Congress. The project had half a sanction in Deputies. I believe that this project will be very useful when it comes to giving visibility to the work done by women who lead businesses and ventures, since it is framed in the context of the GEW, Global Entrepreneurship Week, and is promoted by WED worldwide as the official date of the celebration. On a personal level and as an organization, we consider that having a national day in this case to celebrate and support female entrepreneurs and businesses led by women will also put new opportunities and growth spaces on the agenda for all in different areas, with greater support from all sectors.

Q .: This year you assumed as vice president of ASEA, Association of Entrepreneurs of Argentina. What is the importance that you give to this appointment?

C.R.: To continue working from my place to promote female entrepreneurship is the main leg of my actions. It is a great step to continue with the momentum and visibility of the work carried out by female entrepreneurs, generating new opportunities and growth opportunities so that women who choose to undertake in different areas have greater support from all sectors. From ASEA and together with civil society organizations in the country, we are promoting a survey to detect the main strengths and obstacles that women entrepreneurs are facing in Argentina today, in a post-pandemic year that brings many learning and opportunities as well as needs. Today there are many more women entrepreneurs, but even the professionalization of businesses and access to quality information and technology to make entrepreneurship grow continues to be a challenge.

Q .: What are the challenges and barriers that women face when it comes to entrepreneurship?

C.R.: At the moment we are facing a great problem that is the professionalization of enterprises led by women, the digital transformation and the context of pandemic highlighted the lack of tools for the sector, specifically in support to develop online ventures. One of the pending issues is to improve access to financing and credit for women who are or are looking to start a business. We have already come a long way and at a general level the stage of awareness on the subject and the training for those who are just starting out is quite covered, the challenge is to be able to accompany women entrepreneurs who already have their business or entrepreneurship and who need to professionalize their tools to compete and grow, that is where civil society organizations, governments and the private sector have to pay attention. An interesting piece of information to highlight the performance of women today in the world of startups, technology-based ventures, is the data provided by the latest gender report on entrepreneurial capital from ARCAP (Asociación Argentina de Capital Privado, Emprendedor and Semilla) where the composition of the founding team by gender of the startups that received funding in 2019 shows that 82.7 of the teams do not have any women on the team and only 17.3% had at least one woman. Of the 75 startups identified by ARCAP that received entrepreneurial or seed capital investment during 2019, only 13 have at least one woman in their founding team, the survey also shows the participation percentages in relation to investment, the percentage of entrepreneurs who received financing in 2019 by gender was 91.3% for men and 8.7% for women, this situation marks two interesting aspects, one is the low participation of women in the development of this type of enterprise and another is the impact of unconscious and gender biases in the sector. Women entrepreneurs is a trend that is on the rise at a global level and from the pandemic it undoubtedly grew stronger. Either by necessity or by opportunity, there are many more women thinking about developing a business, and that is extremely positive and contagious.

Q .: What motivates you to join these types of organizations and dedicate yourself to activities associated with the entrepreneurial ecosystem with a focus on women?

C.R.: The motivation is in the sisterhood, in helping us, creating a network where our own experience is our greatest asset and we make it available. According to the recent GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) report “Women Entrepreneurs 2020/21, prosper in crisis situations”, women in Latin America and the Caribbean in general have cultural perceptions and beliefs that stand out from other women in the world and that characteristic has a strong influence on the development of ventures. I am aware of the difficulties and obstacles that must be faced to lead businesses and face projects as a woman, but I am convinced that through education focused on business development and technology is the key for girls, adolescents and women of all ages find opportunities for fulfillment and economic independence.

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