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Uniting efforts and aligning goals to reach powerful results in support of female entrepreneurs in Peru

The first semester of 2022 was full of activities carried out by different local and international organizations focused on empowering and enhancing startups led by Peruvian female founders.

Yes, diversity of gender in the workplace can affect the bottom line positively. Most studies concentrate on corporations and executive positions, but startups can further innovate how business is done by starting their opportunity-parity engine early.

In June 2022, Forbes Peru Magazine published a list of the Top 100 startups in Peru of which 27% have at least one female founder. This is a great local advantage to continue leveraging considering that global entrepreneurial activity rates for women are around 11% according to GEM’s latest Women Entrepreneurship Report.

Given Swiss EP’s focus on promoting the involvement of women in the ecosystem, we eagerly joined four opportunities put forth by different organizations to support female-led startups during the first semester of 2022.

The year started with a Business Bootcamp led by Extraordinarias and co-organized by Amanda team and Swiss EP. ‘Extraordinarias’ [its name in Spanish] is a podcast that elevates the professional and personal journeys of successful women in different fields. The 3-week-long bootcamp supported 16-early-stage ventures to enhance their value proposition and overall Business Model Canvas. EIR Yessenia Carvajal facilitated the bootcamp, and the organizing teams supported with mentoring sessions. Two of the four participants that applied for an equity-free government grant won a total of 52K USD in pre-seed money to continue growing their businesses.

“The bootcamp was very useful for the [grant] application process, thank you so much for the support!” – Antonella Puntriano, Cofounder @Legal Ventures

During March, EIR Gillian Muessig, and Anne Kennedy, cofounders of the MastersfundTM met with eight founders from UTEC Ventures’ (and Peru's) first female-founders cohort. The founders participated in three masterclasses covering topics such as the creation of a board of directors or advisors and having a capital stack and various 1-on-1 mentoring. The MastersfundTM has continued to support the founders with relevant intros to investors, and potential clients in the U.S.

“Gillian and Anne opened our eyes to several things, gave us very good feedback on the pitch, guided us on business strategies…They are the best!” – Fiorella de la Sotta, Cofounder @Cuentologia

Thanks to the gradual reopening after COVID the participants from the 2nd edition of the Swiss EP Women Entrepreneurship Week(WEW) event met again in person. WEW allowed the ladies of Qimi, Crack the Code, Rextie, Sicurezza, Fitness Pass, B89 (ex Culqi), Joinnus, and AVP to create a relationship, transcending a stand-alone work week. They took the opportunity to share personal and professional news they hadn’t shared since the pandemic began; from welcoming another child to expansion plans for their businesses.

Lastly, Swiss EP EIR Isabelle Swiderski recruited Diana Castañeda and her new venture El Equipo de Todos, to join Protagoniste Network’s new social enterprise business design program Salto. The 8-week online program focuses on helping women entrepreneurs gain traction in sales to allow them to move on to, either bootstrap, or seek funding. Through mindset and human-centered business design training, participants develop their social enterprises to thrive and grow in uncertain times. Diana and her team secured investment in the last week of the program.

“Participating in Salto was a gift for El Equipo de Todos and for me as an entrepreneur… I really took away much more than I expected from a diverse and supporting community, facilitators committed to their work beyond duty, innovative, useful, and applicable content; and, last but not least, the confirmation that spaces by women for women are at the same time challenging but very welcoming.” – Diana Castañeda, Founder @El Equipo de Todos

Obstacles for creating and growing a startup become more manageable when different resources are available. This is especially true for startups led by female entrepreneurs who can sometimes fall prey to self-doubt and time-constraints due to other responsibilities. Having all gone through entrepreneur journeys, Swiss EP Experts like Gillian, Anne, Yessenia, and Isabelle that supported different initiatives understand the importance of giving back and working together to reach more powerful results— a practice we know must always be present in thriving entrepreneurship ecosystems.