Today, we celebrate international Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, a commemoration established by the United Nations five years ago with the aim of bringing recognition to women entrepreneurs around the world.
The presence of women in the entrepreneurial picture is increasing, although it remains relatively smaller than that of men. In the specific case of Spain, and according to the Global Report (GEM) 2018/19 (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) presented this year, 9 women start businesses for every 10 Spanish men, a figure better than the European average, where there are 6 women for every 10 enterprising men.
In light of these advances, and also of what remains to be achieved, Carlota Pi came to mind. Carlota is the co-founder and CEO of Holaluz, and entrepreneur awarded the latest Jaume I Award, with whom I shared a panel debate on sustainability organised by the El País Retina magazine a few weeks ago. Carlota presents energy and enthusiasm for her project, which is a success story: nine years after launching her start-up with two MBA colleagues, they have 200,000 clients and are about to join the stock market. She is undoubtedly an inspiration to many other women with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Such benchmarks are particularly relevant in a sector such as energy, as the data shows that the number of women undertaking initiatives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is still considerably lower than that of men. To close this gap it is necessary, of course, to continue promoting STEM vocations among girls and teenage women. It is also key to shine a light on women entrepreneurs who can become role models and encourage other women to create their own businesses.
A few months ago I got to know in detail Erika Escolar’s case, CEO and co-founder of BioEnGas, one of the start-ups that emerged within Enagás, thanks to our corporate venturing and open innovation programme, Enagás Emprende, which we launched in 2015.
Erika joined Enagás three years ago as a scholar in International Asset Management before joining the Strategy Department as an analyst. After winning the latest edition of Ingenia, our intra-entrepreneurship initiative, she had the opportunity to bring to life the project she created with two colleagues and turn it into a company dedicated to the development of biogas as sustainable energy and that contributes to the circular economy.
This morning she shared her experience at the event that we have organised to celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, in the framework of our Women in Networking (WIN Enagás) initiative to promote women’s leadership. The aim of this day has been precisely to give recognition to women who are a benchmark in entrepreneurship. Erika shared a debate with Ana Palacio, whose brilliant career in the public and private spheres is well-known, being the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs in Spain, independent Councillor and coordinator of Enagás. Also involved in the debate were María Benjumea, a pioneer of entrepreneurship in Spain, who created Infoempleo and The South Summit, the largest start-up event in Southern Europe, and María Ángeles León, founder of Open Value Foundation, which is an investment fund that has a social impact.
The four women, of different profiles and generations, shared their professional and personal stories with those who attended the event, and have been a positive and motivating example for those who want to start their own businesses. They have also been an example for everyone, since entrepreneurship, in reality, is much more than setting up a business. In large companies today, it is essential to have a mentality that includes that culture of innovation, collaboration and agility that we need to incorporate more and more in order to continue competing and bringing value in these times of uncertainty and dizzying changes.