Four countries, forty pitches, four finalists, one winner. The Next Women Female Founder Force Program in a nutshell. For the seventh consecutive year in a row we are scouting the most promising women-led companies for our training and pitching program. And this year we're even flying overseas to do so. First stop in the program: Buenos Aires.
In the land of the pampa’s, vineyards, football and empanada’s there’s an entrepreneurial buzz. With some instability in their own economy the Argentinians have learned to be creative and independent. Which makes for a perfect sourcing ground for entrepreneurial talent and so we had a hard time choosing the final 10 founders that would be invited to join the program. But we managed to do so with the help of our investor jury.
Semi-finals Buenos Aires
The lucky 10 of the Buenos Aires Female Founder Force Program:
1. TATAM Digital
2. Dandy Buenos Aires
6. We Ballet Fitness
7. Runa Sustentable
And the winner is..
After two extensive days of training, pitching, networking and improving all 10 (co-)founders took the stage to pitch for the win. The jury of business angels, serial entrepreneurs and the Dutch ambassador had a hard time deciding who should be the winner. In the end they decided to go for the company that combines innovation, social impact, scalability and with a health focus: NINA.
NINA is the company of Veronica Smith. She started NINA two years ago because she saw a need in the market for more healthy snacks. Cookies are a big part of Argentinian and South-American culture. It’s the go-to snack for kids after (before, or during) school. But most of the traditional options are packed with sugar and gluten. All well a staggering 50% of the Argentinian children is overweight.
Veronica’s solution is a gluten-free, natural sugar, or even no-sugar in some cases, cookie brand.
NINA is now operating in Argentina with an own factory and already available in some of the main realtail stores. The next goal is to expand international, with interest from Mexico and Uruguay. But to do so, Veronica needs funding. So The Next Women is very happy to welcome her in Amsterdam in December to help her take NINA to the next level.
The jury had such a hard time deciding on a winner they added a 2nd and 3rd place to the list:
In second place came RUNA Sustentable. With their innovative new packaging material the jury sees the potential for these founders to change the world and have a massive impact on our footprint on the planet. Being a little to early stage the jury offered them mentoring from business angel Susana Balbo to help them improve and further develop.
The third place went to ADA; a retraining program for women to get a job in the Buenos Aires tech scene. With a growing demand for good educated tech-savvy people, the work of ADA is aimed to make a great impact. They received an hour of mentoring by Susana Balbo.
About Female Founder Force
Female Founder Force is a The Next Women program focussed on early stage enterprises led or co-led by female founders. The goal of the program is to scout entrepreneurial talent to help, support and in best cases even fund them to take their business to the next level. Our reason? Equality means growth. By supporting national and international women-led companies we aim to improve the position of women everywhere.
During the program the founders receive a high-end financial training by local EY professionals, a pitch training and investor speeddates to make them investor-ready.
Even when not winning their local chapter final the knowledge the founders gain is of high value.
The local winners fly out to Amsterdam in December for a Business Tour and to pitch in the Grand Final on December 19, together with the Dutch finalist.
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Martine is an author, public speaker and was listed in The Next Women 100 in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and the Adformatie100 in 2017. She shares with us her experiences as an entrepreneur and member of The Next Women.
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