It is 2019 – and we’re still far away from an equal proportion of women and men in the world of innovation and entrepreneurship. Although generally, the number of women starting their own business has grown in the last years, there is still a lot to do to foster female entrepreneurship. One initiative that aims at supporting women entrepreneurs from Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Peru and Vietnam, is coming to Kraftwerk in March 2019: The NextGen Women Entrepreneurs Week.
Alana Visconti is co-founder of the Peruvian startup MESA 24/7, an online restaurant reservations platform, founded in 2014 and since then on a continuous growth path. Alana, 35 years old and mother of three, joined MESA 24/7 two years after its launch, after accumulating more than 10 years of experience in the corporate world, where she felt something was missing. In June 2017, she was one of 24 motivated and talented female founders who attended the very first edition of the Women Entrepreneurs Week in Zurich. It was hosted by Swisscontact’s “Swiss Entrepreneurship Program”, that aims at strengthening startup organisations and entrepreneurial ecosystems in Peru, Vietnam and the Western Balkans.
During the Women Entrepreneurs Week, Alana gained confidence in pitching her venture, as well as in focusing on the messages she wants to give. At the same time she was able to work intensively with mentors and founders from the Swiss ecosystem and from the targeted countries. Furthermore, during the week she met Patty Yong, a Peruvian angel investor, who was inspired by Alana’s drive and business model. Patty invested in MESA 24/7 together with other business angels. This has led to a USD 500,000 seed investment round, that helped her hire more staff and increase outreach in Chile.
The week showed the importance of bringing like-minded entrepreneurs together with experienced mentors and investors. On top of that, networking among the participants was facilitated. In March 2018, the second edition of Women Entrepreneurs Week will take place at Kraftwerk and other places in Zurich. We are looking forward to getting to know the next generation of female founders and seeing them taking their venture to the next level – and by this, supporting female entrepreneurship in general.