Yolanda Díaz Villarubia talks about the role of women in entrepreneurship and the startup ecosystem
Yolanda Díaz claims to have a multidisciplinary profile. She is a psychologist and economist, which “has conditioned my professional future.” She has worked in Human Resources as a coach and in recent years she works as an entrepreneur and investor. In addition, she has her own project, Idea BE Hubs, where she worked with startups and spin-offs (business initiatives promoted by members of the university community) to finance coaching and marketing communication and help export the projects to other countries.
She affirms that the spin off environment is essential for her, “there is a very important level of scouting also in this type of project, with a very high technological base and it is a personal concern to value science”. Although she has not had experience in the field of startups arising from professional training, she believes that these possibilities should be further developed for both future entrepreneurs and investors.
For Yolanda, being an entrepreneur is the best profession there is, although she affirms that it is very complicated and that you have to have a main motivation to take the step. As advice to those who want to start in this world, she says that the first thing is to research the product and compare it with experts in the sector and with other entrepreneurs who have more experience.
Her work in Latin America
Much of her career in the business ecosystem has been in South America. There she has directed business plans for startups and spin-offs and to create entrepreneurship centers in universities. Despite this, Yolanda wants to emphasize that not all startups should have the same countries as their focus, “there are other very interesting markets, and here in Spain we always tend to go to South America and there may be others for the startup business or the spin-off are better”.
Despite not knowing the innovation ecosystem of the Canary Islands, the investor confesses that she would like to delve into it. She emphasizes that in the Canary Islands there are large technology parks and institutes that are developing very interesting projects and that in La Palma, due to its area of biodiversity, there may be many possibilities for investors. She also highlights the importance of the tourism sector in the Canary Islands.
The essential role of women
If we do a search, among the business angels in Spain we find very few women. Therefore, it is important to highlight the role of women in the world of investment. Within startups, variety is essential, “it is important that a startup is made up of different profiles, whether men, women, with different professional experiences and also from different cultures.” One of the projects in which Yolanda is involved is WA4STEAM (Women Angel For Steam), a network of 120 women business angels that seek to promote the role of female investors, something that she describes as “fundamental”.
From January of last year to January 2022, investment in the startup ecosystem has doubled. Yolanda usually invests in seed stages, with a certain level of maturity, in startups in the scientific or technological environment and that have diverse teams. She believes that startups that are still in these phases have to have a minimum investment, from trusted partners or investors, before they start looking for investment. She advises anyone who wants to start investing in early-stage startups to evaluate the founding and managing team and their skills. Also, to the team itself, “that the team has cohesion, that they have a very aligned vision regarding the future of the startup and that they coincide in values”. For this reason, she affirms, coaching is very important within a company.