Women Can Change The World: Isabel dos Santos, Businesswomen and Entrepreneur

Women can change the world. It was with this conviction that more than 200 people linked to the business sector, gathered in Lisbon around the issues of mobility and innovation. A reflection promoted by the Federation of Women Entrepreneurs of the CE-CPLP, which was attended by Eng.ª Isabel dos Santos.

Zap Viva: How have women broken the paradigms of this system, of mobility and also of innovation?

Isabel dos Santos: Hello everyone. It is a pleasure to be here today at Zap and especially with Victor Hugo Mendes. It is the first time that we have the opportunity to speak, so I am very looking forward to having this conversation with you. Above all, a theme that I am passionate about, that of women, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship and mobility. So, for me, there couldn’t be a better Forum because it really brings together things that I like and that I identify with a lot.

Zap Viva: Do you think that, if there was indeed greater mobility in our countries, women could better contribute to the development of these CPLP countries?

Isabel dos Santos: Without a doubt, for us to have ties between Angola, Mozambique, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea it is important that we are able to travel to these countries. Because when you say mobility, what we are really saying is that entrepreneurs, investors, whether they are men or women, can freely exchange experiences, but also exchange business, can be present, can interact. And creating a climate, but this is already a climate, let’s say, of governance that allows these countries to get closer, I believe that this will translate into a much much larger market. In other words, a market that speaks Portuguese, which brings us very close.

Zap Viva: And how do you think women, despite all these difficulties, have broken paradigms, precisely so that there is greater mobility?

Isabel dos Santos:Women, I like to think that they are true managers because, at bottom, we have an almost double role in life, right? On the one hand, we are mothers. So we have to learn to manage the house, to manage our children’s schedules, to try to manage our home. But on the other hand, we also have a career, a professional life and we have to earn our bread, how are we going to make money to help support our families. So we have a double responsibility. And these two responsibilities, deep down, make the woman a very complete being, deep down. Because we have a human side, to always be concerned with something sustainable. In other words, we want to create companies, we want to create businesses, opportunities that are sustainable, that are positive for society. 

Zap Viva: And what can you tell us about innovation? In your companies very in particular.

Isabel dos Santos: Me, the first thing I like to say is this: Innovation is a little different from invention. It is, basically, looking at what we do on a daily basis and seeing “I can improve something”, “I can introduce something here that makes a difference”. And much of the motivation for innovation has to do with wanting solutions that are better for the world.

Zap Viva: There is, on the part of the Angolan youth in a particular way, a great anxiety for news. What is the message you leave for young people in Angola looking for a job, for women who have been entrepreneurs, who are experiencing their difficulties in a particular way?

Isabel dos Santos: Angola is a country with immense talent. I like to say that young Angolans have really great talents and resources. I think that, maybe, women will play an extremely important role. First, because they will also educate boys who are going to be entrepreneurs. So start a little bit by inspiring our kids at home to have confidence in themselves and let our kids have an imagination.

Zap Viva: Eng.ª Isabel dos Santos, thank you for this interview, on the sidelines, of this Forum on Mobility and Innovation that took place here, in Lisbon, organized by the Federation of Women Entrepreneurs of the Business Confederation of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries .

When you do something relevant and something unique, it always turns into value. So go ahead and change the world. Thank you all so much.

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