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Sonia Arenas: “In Spain we receive a lot of aid for entrepreneurship from the European Funds, but it is poorly channelled and does not reach its destination”.

Sonia Arenas: “In Spain we receive a lot of aid for entrepreneurship from the European Funds, but it is poorly channelled and does not reach its destination”.

Sonia Arenas: “In Spain we receive a lot of aid for entrepreneurship from the European Funds, but it is poorly channelled and does not reach its destination”.

28/03/2023

Sonia Arenas, coworker de Wayco Abastos

 

Last week the Wayco grant, an initiative that promotes female entrepreneurship in Valencia by providing work space and a package of aid for the development of the activity. A new feature of this third edition will be a business advice service provided by Sonia Arenas, financial analyst at Innoventures Capital and coworker at Wayco Abastos.

We took the opportunity to get to know her better and for her to tell us what her consultancy sessions with women entrepreneurs will be like.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself, where do you come from and where are you going?

What can I say? I come from analysing risks of and for large companies and I am moving towards supporting small companies and entrepreneurs, to contribute something to “the real economy”.

 

Was that what motivated you to volunteer to advise the Wayco grant winning projects?

I have had a growing feminist streak for a few years now and when I started working in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and attending events about three years ago, I realised that the percentage of women was miniscule.

I want to do my bit to make the path easier for those women who decide to become entrepreneurs, to give them confidence, strength, to debate, to be there if they need something, and for society to finally recognise all that we contribute and can contribute.

 

Your involvement in projects spans many areas, from strategic planning to seeking external investment. What is your speciality?

I am mainly involved in advising entrepreneurs to obtain investment and financing or subsidies for their projects.

I also manage the entry of startups that are looking for an investment round to our Innoventures Investor Club.

 

Could you tell us a bit more about the counselling process?

Through collaborative sessions, I prepare financial projections, project presentations and all the associated documentation you may need until the signing of the capital increase or until the application and collection of the loan or grant: shareholders’ agreement, convertible loan, responsible declarations, etc.

In these meetings, we also discuss business doubts such as, for example, what the sales targets are for 2025, whether it is sales through distributors or direct sales, the number of sales representatives… All these questions help the entrepreneur to land ideas of the current business model and to put forward hypotheses so that he/she can make important decisions. For example: If you sell through distributors, your gross margin will be x% lower, but you will save x€ per year in hiring salespeople.

In the end, what we are trying to achieve is for the entrepreneur to be clear about his or her current and future business model, to make decisions based on data analysis and to know how to defend it with confidence when an investor asks questions.

 

Are entrepreneurs born or made?

Entrepreneurs are born. You have to have certain innate characteristics, personality traits, which not everyone has. We live in an ultra-busy world with the pressure to be productive, and it seems that this weighs even more heavily on women. Of course, the circumstances and the moment have to be with you, but you have to be very brave, determined and sure of yourself to take the leap and launch yourself into entrepreneurship.

 

Top 5 most common entrepreneurial mistakes.

  1. Start spending on marketing, without having done a proper market fit.
  2. Losing focus. Thinking of many business models without having consolidated the main one.
  3. Team. That there is no one who is 100% dedicated to the business or that there is a key role missing within the founding team, such as a programmer in a start-up whose core is software.
  4. Not measuring. Failure to monitor indicators to improve business performance.
  5. Lack of cash flow forecasting and failure to anticipate liquidity strains.

 

We are living in a time of uncertainty in the markets and everyone has their own hypothesis about what is going to happen. Own prediction, please.

The inflationary spiral we are suffering has been going on since before the war, and it was due to the post-pandemic consumption boom. The war has affected the shopping basket more, but, although we are not aware of it, that boom is still there, we still want to consume and there are still people spending what they have saved.

Inflation continues, but the latest data show that it is slowing down. I think that, in 12 to 18 months’ time, we will see some stagnation in prices, which will hopefully also affect the real estate market, especially second-hand housing and rentals.

 

What are the best sectors for entrepreneurship in 2023?

Two clear growth sectors are health and food. We know that there will be many mouths to feed on the planet and that the population will get older and older, hence the focus is on these two sectors.

 

There is a lot of talk in Spain about the lack of support for entrepreneurship and the high cost of self-employment fees compared to other European countries. What do you think about this?

I do not agree that there is a lack of aid for entrepreneurship; we receive a lot of aid and lines of financing from the European Funds. However, they are poorly channelled and there is a lot of bureaucracy, which means that they do not reach their destination.

With regard to the self-employed, there should be more legal certainty, since, according to the Statute of Self-Employment, a person is self-employed if he or she habitually carries out a self-employed activity, but there is case law indicating that, if the income is less than the Minimum Interprofessional Wage (SMI), it is not necessary to register with the Social Security. An amount should be established from which it would be compulsory to pay the usual self-employed contribution – whether it is the SMI or higher – and, for the rest, a symbolic fixed fee – €10, perhaps? – and more incentives, such as a discount on the VAT they declare and an economic flat rate to which they can apply for 2 or 3 years when they exceed that income.

 

What would you say to your younger self?

To live and enjoy a lot before more responsibilities arrive. And don’t worry about your future career, because it is a process of self-discovery.

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