Lisbon, Portugal – In celebration of International Women’s Day and National Women’s Month, the Philippine Embassy in Lisbon convened a Women Entrepreneurship Forum held at the Embassy Chancery on March 11, 2019.
Carrying the theme “We Make Change Work for Women,” the forum aims to empower Filipino women to confidently engage with partner institutions in the development of their business plans.
In her opening remarks, Ambassador to Portugal Celia Anna M. Feria welcomed the participation of Direcção Municipal de Economia e Inovação of Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (Lisbon City Hall) Project Manager Branca Neves and Startup Lisboa Operations Head Maria Guimarães, and encouraged the Filipino Community present to avail themselves of the opportunities that both institutions offer.
Ms. Neves shared the projects and platforms of the City Government of Lisbon that encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to start their business by offering its facilities, know-how and innovation-centered programs for the citizens of Lisbon.
Ms. Guimarães of Startup Lisboa explained the local government’s initiatives that encourages women to participate in entrepreneurial endeavours, as women are always under represented in the business sector, by giving incentives for women to be more active in starting businesses.
A video clip on “The Great Women Project” by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), in partnership with the Government of Canada, was presented by the Embassy. The project helps women through its mentorship program and supports micro-entrepreneurs to create new designs, develop variants, improve packaging and labels in making their products more marketable and increase their capacity to reach high-end level in the market.
Five Lisbon-based Filipina entrepreneurs were also invited to give their testimonials, with the aim of inspiring other Filipinas to take the leap to entrepreneurial life: realtor and business consultant Patricia Ortega, Digital Workforce Project Manager and remote working advocate June Ann Bolneo, and tour and travel service entrepreneur Queennie Guzman, food innovation company A Diplomataowner Jaymalyn Day, and successful bag and fashion accessory business GustoKo owner Paula Figueras.
The Filipina entrepreneurs shared their ideas, and experiences, and the challenges they encountered while starting their chosen businesses. They encouraged their fellow Filipinas in the audience to be patient, persevering, and passionate on their chosen business. Most of all, they encouraged the women to just do it.
The participants expressed appreciation to the Embassy for convening the forum, as it helped them obtain valuable insights and ideas and gain deeper knowledge on Lisbon’s initiatives in helping women create entrepreneurial businesses, and start a career on entrepreneurship which adds to the diversity of lifestyles that Lisbon aims to project.