Impact guides the daily life of all Ÿnsecters: how can we feed the planet while conserving resources and biodiversity? As our initiatives broaden, we have decided to give a voice to those who are helping to change the world, offer alternatives and increase sustainability. Today, we meet Fernanda Vicente, the founder of Mujeres del Pacifico, a solidarity movement of established and aspiring female entrepreneurs, throughout Latin America. She has also created several other companies in which women are always at the center. We had the opportunity to discuss her business, values, and feminist stance, as well as the place of women in Latin America and the power of education.
Could you explain to us what Mujeres del Pacifico is?
Mujeres del Pacifico is above all a company. It is not a foundation or association, but an economic actor with strong social values. Our mission is to bring together and help established or aspiring female entrepreneurs, throughout Latin America, from Chile to Mexico, including Peru and Colombia. Our activity knows no borders. We offer programs to help them set up their business, find financing or partners, learn about law etc. in short, our training is very complete. We recently received B Corp certification for our commitment and positive impact.
How does a woman become a Mujer del Pacifico? How do you approach the participants and convince them to join the company?
To convince them, we emphasize the fact that it is for established or aspiring female entrepreneurs. Their commitment is free and easy: all they have to do is register on our website. In return, we sign them up for programs, either as speakers or participants. To recruit our members, we use social networks on a daily basis. We are very active on them to highlight the benefits of Mujeres del Pacifico, our various partnerships with large research institutes, other business associations, universities, etc. It is important to explain to our future members that they are not alone, that they can join a very strong community through which they can receive help, access funding, and networking. The most important aspect of our approach is to highlight the need for an inclusive economy: we must all move forward together, especially in countries like ours, where political and economic crises affect the population. We must rethink our development: that’s what building a sustainable economy is all about!
What are the values of your company? Which of Ÿnsect’s values (explorer, adaptability, authenticity, solidarity and balance) do you feel the closest to?
We have three values that guide us every day: collaboration, innovation and quality. These are strong values, but above all they are inclusive: the participants help each other and would not succeed without this incredible value chain. There is no point in climbing the ladder alone. Also, as women, we sometimes feel alone on entrepreneurial issues. We must continue to build communities to support each other, and share knowledge and experiences. On a personal note, among your values, I relate to exploration most. I have always tried been one to juggle many projects at the same time, and to look for solutions to the issues I have faced. I always look ahead!
You also co-founded Kodea, a foundation that ensures the inclusion of women and minorities in digitalization in Chile. Can you tell us more about it? Why was it important to ensure this place for women?
The project was born a long time ago! I had a friend who worked in IT, and we often talked about our jobs and the place of women in our environment. We realized that in the IT sector, there are very few women. However, we knew that digitalization was the future and we did not want women to be left out of this revolution. We started thinking about what we could do, and decided to launch Kodea. Through this, women can learn to code, for example, female entrepreneurs can learn to create their business’ websites, etc. We also launched The Creador which allows children to submit digital projects that will perhaps keep growing with them. We also decided to put minorities in the spotlight because in Chile, they are often the last to receive news, are excluded from innovations and still suffer from a very unequal and unjust system. It was important to provide them with the platform to participate in the change!
Your last three professional projects all have a subject in common: the place of women in the digital and entrepreneurial world. What is the next sector in which you would like to see women succeed?
You know, I have a dream: to catalyze inclusion within financial matters. I believe that this is essential to ensure a harmonious life together because it reduces the risk of abuse and violence. In Chile, many women do not work and live under the control of the man of the house. It is still a very patriarchal culture in which the man holds the power. Women must become independent. Thanks to social media, we can show them what they are capable of, but above all, show them that there are different ways to live! So I would like to see women become equal to men financially. This starts with education, thanks to our programs among others. In fact, 70% of the women who go through our training programs actually launch their own projects! This is an impressive number and it is very inspiring to see what women can do!
What are your next challenges?
I have two challenges that I would like to face soon. The first is to participate in the fight to protect children from drug traffickers. This is a very important issue in my country and an inevitability that we must fight against! My second objective is to find a solution, a project to enable financial inclusion. I really want to work on empowering women on every front!
Today, Mujeres del Pacifico, but tomorrow a conquest of the other side of the ocean? Europe?
We still have a long way to go in Latin America. The work is long and hard but it is necessary to give back to women their rightful place in society. But in the future, why not establish partnerships and launch initiatives in North America?