The gender gap persists in the startup world, but women are making solid strides into decision-making positions in founder teams, early-stage investment as well as policymaking.
In Latin America, several women are shaping their nations’ entrepreneurship policies and programs, creating bold changes to make their entrepreneurial opportunities more inclusive. Here are a few leaders whose perspectives and contributions to startup policy we celebrate this Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Ileana A. Rogel - El Salvador
As Executive Director of El Salvador’s National Commission for Micro and Small Enterprises (CONAMYPE), Mrs. Rogel has been working to unleash the startup potential in her country from via the strengthening of local ecosystems. Mrs. Rogel is the author of a law for the promotion, protection and development of SMEs, which sets a framework for broad-based action in favor of entrepreneurs – such as enabling the inclusion of SMEs in government procurement, an achievement recognized as finalist for the 2016 Startup Nations Award for National Policy Leadership. Mrs. Rogel is also recognized as the leader of initiatives to attract a greater number of women entrepreneurs via strategic programs. Mrs. Rogel has personally led this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (#GEWElSalvador) celebrations in her country.
Itzel Villa, Mexico
Itzel Villa is currently the General Director of the Entrepreneurship Programs and Financing at the National Institute of Entrepreneur (INADEM), an agency under the Ministry of the Economy. After a career in the private sector in market research for financial institutions, she joined in 2008 NAFIN (Nacional Financiera) to oversee the projects within a portal of angel investors, and has since participated in guiding and linking more than 500 high-impact ventures. Mrs. Villa contributed to the design and promotion of Mexico’s entrepreneurial capital strategy. In her current position at INADEM, she in charge of high-impact entrepreneurship as it relates to the development of financing avenues. The programs Itzel oversees have yielded 30 new seed capital vehicles, and more than 954 high-impact projects.
Leticia Romero, Paraguay
Leticia Romero is an entrepreneur who joined the government in 2013 as Head of ICT in Education and Digital Inclusion of Paraguay’s National Secretariat for Information and Communication Technologies (SENATICs). In less than five years, Ms. Romero firmly positioned digital entrepreneurship on the national policy agenda by designing and implementing policies and programs that increase entrepreneurial talent and enable a digital economy, such as InnovadoPY. In her efforts, she has also brought entrepreneurs closer to the public sector with a view towards innovation inside government. In her spare time, she leads a social venture dedicated to training girls in coding.
Rocio Fonseca, Chile
Rocio Fonseca is the Executive Director of Start-Up Chile, one of the world’s most renown startup visa programs. She brought to Startup Chile a gender perspective, launching in 2015 the S Factory pre-accelerator for female founders. She has brought fresh perspectives to other components of the Start-Up Chile strategy, having designed and managed innovation portfolios, coordinated go-to-market initiatives, raised funds and managed teams and stakeholders from the private and public sectors.