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Inês Silva, a multi-skilled entrepreneur
Over the past decades, many women have fought to have their voices heard and took actions to prove their worth in a society where men used to make the most important decisions. As a 100% female agency, we inspire each other, and we also admire other entrepreneurial women who continue to change the world every day. With this in mind, we attended the Web Summit in 2020 to interview admirable profiles whose journeys are oriented towards empowering women surrounding them. One of them was Inês Silva, an innovative entrepreneur with beautiful values who worked hard to create her path in a predominantly masculine environment: the tech industry. This blog article is dedicated to her outstanding career that we burn to share with you since the day we had the chance to meet her.
Her (not so usual) academic background
Inês’ experience at the FEP University of Porto in Economics and Management gave her a strong business background, but she was not an ordinary student. Her involvement in different areas such as management of a junior enterprise, her internship in a bank, and her multiple travels, gave her four years full of experiences. These opportunities led her to move to Switzerland to work in a start-up and begin her entrepreneurial journey. She believes that her experiences shaped her into the woman she is today and made her open to broader ideas of what she could do with her life. The main lesson to be learned from her experiences is that mixing classic academic knowledge with involvement and experiences is always insightful for a future career.
Her (outstanding) entrepreneurial path
Despite her business background, Inês has always had a passion for technology. In 2010, she started exploring the field of entrepreneurship in the technology sector in Portugal, which was at that time extremely underdeveloped. She eventually created, alongside four cofounders, “Start-Up Pirates”, a one-week pre-acceleration program for aspiring entrepreneurs, that is now present in 40 cities around the world. Through this project, she managed to organize events, gather a lot of people in this field, and create an international community of entrepreneurs. This start-up is the perfect intersection between three different fields: technology, her passion, business, her education, and entrepreneurship, her career.
Her advice for an (extremely) successful start-up ecosystem
Inês believes that start-up ecosystems are different depending on the country they are located in, but one common value unites them: the principle of sharing and giving back. The feeling of belonging to a community created by the events and organizations is key to the proper functioning of a start-up ecosystem. What is incredible is that our amazing founder, Karelle Lepine, helped organize one Start-Up Pirates Program in Lisbon. This was a trigger that motivated her to kick-start her career, and gave her that interest in entrepreneurship. This example proves that ecosystems do help entrepreneurs and create wonderful careers.
Her (brilliant) ideas on how to maintain this ecosystem in a COVID-19 environment
According to Inês, the biggest challenge we are facing is that every minute of our professional life is programmed by zoom links and predefined schedules, which makes us lose the spontaneity of meeting someone and having unexpected conversations. She believes that there is no perfect solution for businesses and ecosystems to keep operating, but that they should still find ways to build communities, through online events or virtual office hours for example. This would allow teams to learn how to collaborate effectively through video calls. Another piece of advice that she provided was to reach out to her team members at least once a week to understand how they are doing. Indeed, she emphasizes that companies need to pay more attention to their employees’ mental health. This can be done by giving them support and ensuring that they are not overwhelmed by all the new tools and communications that are taking place.
A focus on her (wonderful) Consulting company: Aliados Consulting
Inês and two other co-founders founded Aliados Consulting in 2015 with a focus on social innovations. Indeed, they mainly work with non-profit organizations and help them with value creation, effective valuation, financing, fundraising, etc. They also collaborate with larger organizations and cities helping them integrate innovation into their operations. Lastly, they also work with small economies: they support companies and come up with strategies to build sustainable products and develop strategies that aim at sustainable goals. She quickly realized that for projects around circular economy, food waste, or sustainability, everyone is looking for silver bullets, but in such complex systems, there is no such thing. Their solution is to try to find new processes that will help these companies reduce food waste or focus more on environmental issues.
Her (women empowering) Start-up: “Portuguese Women in Tech”
Throughout her experiences in the technology industry, Inês realized that she was mainly surrounded by men with high stake jobs and she thought that “we needed more women in here”. With that objective in mind, she created the start-up Portuguese Women in Tech with a double mission: on the one hand, she wanted to empower and support women that are already working in this industry; on the other hand, she wanted to show young girls that technology could be an interesting path for them looking forward. To meet this dual mission, she mainly organized events, awards ceremonies, and training. Her major piece of advice for all women who want to have a career in the tech sector is to “Just go for it!”. She believes that we just need to be confident to be successful.
We hope you enjoyed discovering this beautiful profile as much as we did. Inês Silva is an inspiration in terms of entrepreneurship, women empowerment, and career path; and we love to support entrepreneurs with such beautiful values. Stay tuned for more presentations of other amazing women!