Women’s Healthtech Contributor, Forbes
Consultant and Speaker on Femtech Entrepreneurship
Estrella Jaramillo Ríos knows that all your fears and insecurities are emphasized as an entrepreneur and founder. Raised to think that having a stable job and income was the only path to success, she overcame that belief system and found the strength to venture out on her own. Now, Estrella is the Co-founder of B-wom, a digital coach for women’s health and self-care with a specific focus on intimate and sexual health issues – incontinence, chronic pelvic pain, painful sex and postpartum recovery, to name a few. B-wom is helping women understand their unique health needs better and make more informed decisions about their healthcare. She shares, with Program Manager Sharon Mwale, how her passions motivated her to become an entrepreneur full time, push women’s health to the forefront and empower millions of women, globally.
Not at all. I’m originally from Spain, and education there was focused on creating prospective employees not leaders – things may have changed but this was the reality when I was in school. However, when I was graduating university the recession had just started to impact Europe. In Spain, unemployment was at 25%, and 45% in my region for my demographic, recent graduates. So, many of us had to emigrate to get jobs. I landed in Berlin and was introduced to tech and startups. I joined a company that was female funded, owned and operated for 20 years until being acquired. After that experience, I returned to school at IE Madrid where finally entrepreneurship was present in the academic training. I graduated with a tool kit to operate within corporate settings or otherwise. I worked for several startups after finishing my Masters, and that’s how I started considering that I wanted to someday build my own company.
What are the traits that have served you well as an entrepreneur and leader? (Patience? Grit? Willpower? etc.)
First, knowing yourself is key. Your strengths. Your weaknesses. And the best way to learn is to challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone. What has helped me is:
Comparing life in the States to that in Europe, there are some difficulties for entrepreneurs here in the US, for men and women, that make you think about it more than twice. Namely in regard to healthcare benefits and cost of living. I was young and single with no children, mortgage or school debt. So, letting go of my corporate safety net was easier than it might be for others. That being said, my advice starts with being clear, with yourself, what your intentions and goals are. Your personal, financial and career goals need to align for you to be comfortable with taking risks and pursuing new opportunities. Secondly, identify what you’re missing in your current job/position. You might want to be more creative or have more autonomy but know what matters most so you can understand what you’re looking for. Lastly, remember your core values. When you work in an area that feeds your core values, you’re always going to be excited to hear/work on the next thing because it’s making an impact that matters to you.
The barriers to entry for women entrepreneurs is vast. Access and financing seem to be at the heart of the challenges that women face. There have been many strides made but there is quite a bit of work to do. Our featured contributor to #WCE shares an important point; that is, be passionate about what you do. In doing so, the challenges while daunting will not appear insurmountable.
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