“I wanted to address the lack of proper support for young female professionals, to empower them to build a network of support and overcome struggles like I myself had experienced.”
It was a turning point for Alicia, both in her personal and professional life. The experience led her to setting up her own business, Cuidando en Femenino.
Alicia’s idea was to help professional women connect with one another and empower themselves by creating a community for women. “I wanted to develop a support network to help them understand their emotional needs and also get a chance to improve and learn new skills by attending interesting and informative events. Additionally, I liked the idea of providing potential financial support, for example; if a woman needs a travel ticket, then Cuidando en Femenino can help get her the best deal.”
Alicia knew the main focus for her business was to help in as many ways as possible, however she did not have the business experience to know how to achieve this. It caused her significant stress and concern. “I had so many fears, I was afraid of not having enough money at the end of the month. I had always worked for a company, and I had no experience running a business.”
This lack of practical skills and the fear of failure threatened to doom Alicia’s business before it had begun. Then by chance Alicia attended an entrepreneurial event and heard about Youth Business Spain (YBS), Youth Business International's member in Spain, in partnership with the Citi Foundation, learning about the opportunities and support they could provide to her as a young entrepreneur.
Through YBS, Alicia was able to get vital entrepreneurship skills training. They also helped her shape her business plan. “We started by putting the social aspect at the core of my business. Having this clear idea on what I wanted to achieve and how was really invaluable.”
The practical experience helped her get her venture off the ground. Soon after starting, Alicia was matched with a volunteer business mentor, dedicated to helping her specific needs in running her business. Being able to connect with other entrepreneurs through Youth Business Spain has done wonders for her confidence and determination to succeed.
“You can feel really lonely starting a business, switching from an office to working by yourself. With no colleagues around to talk to, you feel alienated and disheartened. Being inside a network helps to make you feel more confident.”
Combining her dream and skills with the knowledge and support provided by Youth Business Spain, especially her mentor, has helped Alicia to grow and offer more. Cuidando en Femenino organises quarterly personal development workshops for women. Alicia designs workshops and motivational conferences on leadership, communication and personal development for companies, universities and NGOs. She also offers one-on-one coaching.
The business is growing steadily, and she feels she has learnt so much. Alicia is keen to encourage other people to start their own business and has some advice for budding entrepreneurs.
“First of all trust in yourself; and if you think you have a good idea, follow your instincts. Get as much help from the people who have already been there and ask them as many questions as you can.”
Youth Business Spain is part of the Youth Business Europe programme, a regional initiative supported by the Citi Foundation to help young entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.