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Aida worked in an agency translation and interpretation in Madrid when he decided to leave everything to start in his hometown, A Coruña. “Attesor” it is proof that in his sector things “could be done differently, better”, he explains. “Asturians have a sweet tooth, ‘llambiones’, as we say here”, highlights Lydia, who left behind a sector in crisis, that of tourism, and now invites you to travel through the flavors in her pastry “Llambionadas” in Oviedo. “Many, even myself, thought I was crazy” for opening the Center “Fitness Mary & Janet” when many gyms had not survived the pandemic, Janet tells us. Their business, in El Entrego (Asturias) has been successful for 6 months and they have a waiting list.
When talking to these women, it is easy to see the qualities that an entrepreneur must have. They are intelligent, energetic, restless, dreamy, brave, hard-working, determined, tenacious, decisive, nonconformist…, capable of see the opportunity above risk and embark on the adventure of opening a new business, even when circumstances seem adverse. In the eyes of some, theirs is madness, but the truth is that none of them advance unconsciously on the tightrope. “Entrepreneurship is not easy”, they coincide in pointing out and, therefore, their bet on self-employment arises from reflection and is built and consolidated with the help and professional advice provided by the PAEM Program (Program for Business Support for Women) of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Institute co-financed by the European Social Fund..
First steps towards self-employment
“They have helped me in everything, if it weren’t for them ‘Llambionadas” wouldn’t exist. When I decided to start I was super lost. In my mind it seemed easy but then you see that everything gets complicated. You have to go to Health, look for funding, present a lot of documentation … there are a thousand paperwork and I did not even know where to start. At the Oviedo Chamber of Commerce they treated me phenomenally, we made the business plan, we saw the viability, they suggested that I request a loan through the Microbank de la Caixa … Thanks to them I am here today ”, explains Lydia.
“Without them I could not have done it, because I knew what I wanted, but I did not know how to explain and put it in writing”, also comments Janet, who came to ask for advice from the delegation that the Chamber of Commerce of Oviedo has in El Entrego.
Wedding photo broadcast live in English and Spanish by ATTESOR.
For Aída, the PAEM program was also crucial, as she explains “I knew how to do my job very well but I did not know the ins and outs of a company, all the procedures that have to be done, the aid, the subsidies… At the Chamber of Commerce of A Coruña they informed me about all these issues and they accompanied me step by step in the creation and consolidation of my company ”.
Indeed, from the PAEM they know that the first steps of any business project are usually difficult and full of doubts. Therefore, the specific purpose of this program is, as Lydia, Janet and Aída point out, to help in the preparation and implementation of the business plan, with experts from the Chambers of Commerce (38 throughout Spain) and without any cost. Thus, any woman with an entrepreneurial concern, with an idea or business project or with a modernization or expansion plan, can go to one of the offices of the territorial network of Chambers of Commerce (in person or online) to, among others services, collect information on procedures and procedures, evaluate the viability of a project or assess the best legal form for the company.
Janet in her fitness center in El Entrego (Asturias).
Also for create networks with other businesswomen and, very importantly, guide the search for economic resources (bank financing, aid, subsidies …). PAEM has the financial support from the European Social Fund and the Women’s Institute and, for example, it offers female entrepreneurs access to microcredits without guarantees of up to 25,000 euros.
Advantages of undertaking
Thanks to this set of tools and services, there are many women who during the 15 years of life from the program have managed to materialize their business idea and be their own bosses. Only in 2020 Despite being a particularly difficult year due to the situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic, the PAEM served 4,800 businesswomen and entrepreneurs, contributed to the creation of 940 companies and 1,066 jobs, and granted a total of 104 microcredits managed to through Microbank-La Caixa, worth € 1,946,472.46. In 2021 and under the slogan “Women who undertake, companies that grow”, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce hopes to exceed these figures. At the moment, so far this year 137 microcredits have already been granted, which amounts to € 2,765,500.13 in aid.
In the center, Lydia, with her two employees in Llambionadas
“To those who want to start a business, I would tell them to think about it a lot, to investigate and not be in a hurry. If you have it clear, I encourage you to go ahead, bet on it and seek help. For me it is a great satisfaction, I do what I want, how I want and, for the moment, we are doing well ”, says Aída.
“Entrepreneurship is very satisfactory and the proof that we can move on without depending on anyone”, Emphasizes Janet. In addition, the reward is double because, in addition to helping the entrepreneur, her step forward results in a benefit for society. “The best, without a doubt, is the response of the people. Every time they send you a message or tell you how satisfied and happy they are, you see that this is worth it. People have had a very bad season, physically and psychologically, and for many coming to the center and playing sports is like an escape route. This encourages me a lot to continue ”, he explains. “The reward and satisfaction of seeing your work valued is enormous and it makes up for all the effort and sacrifice, ”adds Lydia.
Find out here the stories and projects of Aída, Lydia and Janet, three women entrepreneurs, three women who inspire: