The BBVA Momentum 2019 closing event took place on March 3rd at the Impact hub in Madrid. It set the scene for putting a face and name to the most promising entrepreneurs of this season's Momentum program. Their business pitches highlighted the potential of their growth plans, which is already starting to materialize for many of them.
Select entrepreneurs from BBVA Momentum 2019 took to the stage for one of the most awaited moments of the day: explaining their business growth plans to an audience who eagerly awaited each of the presentations.
The ten entrepreneurs who attended the event (three each from the local rounds in Colombia, Mexico, and Turkey; and one from the United States), engaged the audience as they outlined in detail the steps they plan to take in the future. A future that has been given structure by virtue of the training, strategic support, and mentoring the participating entrepreneurs received during BBVA Momentum’s most ambitious year to date. Over the course of the year, the program contributed to the business acceleration of 169 companies in the four countries where it took place.
For the participants, the moment had arrived to take stock of everything they had learned and demonstrate the progress their businesses had made from the Momentum experience. "It is like a ‘before and after’,” Marisol Pulido, founder of the Mexican startup Sal de Aquí remarked. “To be recognized as part of BBVA Momentum in Mexico was amazing for the networking, the speakers, the mentors, and the program at the EGADE business school.” Pulido gives her experience in the program high marks, stating that it has given her “many tools to use to achieve growth and mature the social and sustainable aspects of my business, which is no easy task; there aren't a lot of books on this in the library.”
The ten entrepreneurs who attended the BBVA Momentum 2019 closing event engaged the audience as they outlined in detail the steps they plan to take in the future.
The training provided in the closing event was one of the aspects the participating social entrepreneurs valued most. “It gave us truly valuable knowledge, delivered by first rate lecturers and with extremely relevant content,” explained Mauricio Sánchez, co-founder of the Colombian venture, Syma. During the training sessions, all the participants received the support of the instructors who made them think about their business approach. “The work we did during the training and the input from the professors was very beneficial. They provided us grounding, with interesting points of view about the processes related to growth, assessment, and impact,” Omer Gorgulu, co-founder of the small business Twin Science explained. In their case, the training had a positive impact that reached well beyond the classroom. “It was beneficial for all our employees.” Another BBVA Momentum 2019 participant from Turkey, Esra Odabasi, founder of Es Kariyer, also enthusiastically endorsed the program's delivery of training. "The business training was superb, especially the sessions that addressed financial aspects and the social impact.”
The training provided by BBVA Momentum was one of the aspects the participating social entrepreneurs valued most.
The BBVA Momentum mentors played a fundamental role, providing essential support during the growth plan development process. “It added a lot of value and exceeded my expectations. My mentor [Anita Dharapuram, Community Relations Officer at BBVA USA] was a truly valuable asset, and helped us improve our operations," explained Laura Hertz, CEO and co-founder of Gifts for Good, the BBVA Momentum 2019 winner in the United States. In their case, the funding they received — in the form of a cash prize — from the local program was also vital. "We are making significant investments in technology that will help us change the lives of other people. We are definitely going to see accelerated growth in the coming year.”
Keeping good company
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely business, which is one reason the program’s networking opportunities were so well received. “I found it very motivating, at the beginning of the program, to have the opportunity to mix with 39 other businesspeople and to learn that in our own way we all were looking for solutions to the challenges we face,” explained Franklin Guerrero, an entrepreneur from Colombia and founder of Urban Garden. “Being able to meet with other people and create synergies, to connect with others and realize we are not alone, was one of the most emblematic — and important — aspects of the program.”
The combination of all these elements encouraged the participating entrepreneurs to approach their businesses from different perspectives. “It was very intense; it helped me collect my thoughts and give them structure,” cofounder of Turkish business Puduhepa, Renan Tavukcuoglu, affirmed. "It has added value to my business and to what we will do in the future.” And then there is the Mexican company, Biofase, which is in the throes of change after having completed the BBVA Momentum program. “We’ve already implemented and are going to implement more changes in the company, such as employing more than 200 women in rural areas in the community where we are located,” explained Sergio Sistos, Biofase's managing director.
In some cases a change in approach has also entailed a shift in communication. A significant challenge that the Colombian company Casai was able to undertake with the support of the program. "The program provided the fundamental understanding of how to communicate the social impact, without falling into trap of commercializing the social element.”
In 2020 BBVA momentum is continuing its journey, bringing entrepreneurs on the path of growth. The testimonials from those who have completed the program provide the greatest motivation for continuing to improve and push forward with ambition and drive.