A female speaker in front of a crowd during a talk

Women entrepreneurs: Empowering female entrepreneurship

Breaking barriers in the business world


What is female entrepreneurship?

Female entrepreneurship is defined as entrepreneurial and business activity led by women. In other words, it refers to the creation, development, and management of companies by women, usually as founders or owners. 

The female entrepreneurship rate has grown significantly in recent years, and not only in Spain, but all around the world. However, the percentage of women who decide to become entrepreneurs is still lower than in the case of men. Among other aspects, women who choose to start their own business still have to face numerous barriers such as the lack of role models to draw inspiration from, less access to funding, and the cultural and social stereotypes that make it more difficult.

Therefore, striving for parity —equal opportunities for men and women— in the field of entrepreneurship is fundamental. To this end, efforts and progress are constantly being made to address this inequality and promote businesses led by women. After all, gender diversity in business leadership translates into a boost for innovation, job creation, and economic growth.

Characteristics of women entrepreneurs

Every entrepreneur is unique, and so are their businesses. Nonetheless, there are a number of traits shared by women who decide to pursue self-employment:


  1. Determination: Women entrepreneurs are usually characterized by their determination, courage, resilience, and perseverance. They also stand out for their ability to face challenges, adapt to change, learn from mistakes, and move forward.  
  2. Passion: Usually, women entrepreneurs tend to focus on businesses that they're passionate about or in which they can develop their strengths. They tend to have a clear vision of what they want to achieve and remarkable enthusiasm for sharing that vision with their peers, customers, and potential investors.
  3. Creativity: A business is always based on an idea. The creativity of women entrepreneurs is what enables them to come up with concepts that later become companies.
  4. Empathy: Being able to understand other people's needs and concerns is critical to finding solutions that can then be turned into businesses.
  5. Collaborative capacity: Collaboration among entrepreneurs and building synergies are often key to business success. Moreover, listening to others' ideas and opinions helps to identify areas for improvement and find solutions to any difficulties that may come up.
  6. Striking a balance between personal and professional life: Many women decide to become entrepreneurs in pursuit of a solution that allows them to balance their personal and family life with their professional career.




Examples of female entrepreneurship in Spain

When we think of women who are considered true role model entrepreneurs, it's only normal that figures like Coco Chanel, Oprah Winfrey, Estée Lauder, or Helena Rubinstein, among others, come to mind. However, in Spain there are increasingly more business initiatives led by women in a wide range of sectors. At the forefront of some of the most successful women-run businesses in Spain are:


  • Elena Betés: She is the founder of Rastreator, a popular online insurance comparison site. Before embarking on this dream, Elena, who has extensive academic background in business, worked for renowned companies such as Arthur Andersen. Today, she is CEO of Dide.org. Also, she's part of many gender diversity and equality initiatives.
  • Mar Abad: This journalist from Almeria has communication running through her veins. That's why she's editorial director and co-founder of the El Extraordinario podcast label. Moreover, she founded Yorokobu magazine in 2009, where she was editorial director until 2020, and the content company Brands and Roses. She has received numerous awards and accolades throughout her professional career.
  • Lupina Iturriaga: She's the founder of Fintonic, an app that since 2012 allows us to keep track of our personal finances. With an academic background in business administration and management, her previous work in the field of banking and her extensive knowledge of fintech led her to focus on an innovative business model that aims to adapt as much as possible to the needs of each user.
  • Sara Werner: She's the co-founder of Cocunat, a natural and organic cosmetics company with great success both in Spain and the U.S. Before founding this company, Sara was already experienced in the world of beauty, as she had been the marketing and communication director at Alqvimia.
  • Ana María Llopis: This internationally renowned Spanish businesswoman founded Ideas4all, a collaborative innovation platform that enables companies to develop, define, and implement projects in order to adapt to change. She has also been chairwoman and CEO of several companies in the technology sector.


Women attending an event

Female entrepreneurship at Repsol

At Repsol, we know how important the role of women is in business. In fact, 30% of the leadership positions in our company are held by women. Furthermore, the Repsol Foundation collaborates every year with SECOT to hold the SECOT Excellence Awards, which include the Women Entrepreneurs category.

In the previous SECOT Excellence Awards, the second prize in the Women Entrepreneurs category went to Nerea Mendinueta, Nadia de la Fuente, and Nicole Flamarique for their "The Good Goal" app, which challenges users to be more sustainable and reduce the impact of their actions in a simple and motivating way. The first prize went to Diana Montesinos and her company Rulls, a natural, vegan and made-in-Spain cosmetics brand for curly hair.

Although there's still much work to be done, more and more people and organizations are recognizing the importance of gender diversity in entrepreneurship and are taking steps to promote equal opportunities when it comes to launching new business projects.