María Benjumea: “The crib makes it easier for you to enter, but you get to the top alone” | Economy | EUROtoday

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Early within the morning, the roundabout on Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid the place María Benjumea's firm South Summit has its workplaces, bustles with visitors, varied supply drivers and maids strolling aged individuals. I arrive drained and pressured after an hour and a half of the everlasting morning visitors jam to enter the town from the outskirts. Benjumea, nevertheless, seems very recent. She storms out of her workplace, greets very pleasant and makes herself obtainable with overwhelming enthusiasm. She is sporting what seems like her work uniform: white pants and high and a purple jacket. On a rack she hangs a high precisely just like the one she is sporting, in case of a pinch. As quickly as she finishes the interview, she says, she’s going to depart in a rush and won’t cease all day, a number of days, because the soul mom of the most important European assembly between those that have a enterprise venture and those that have the cash to start out it. For her, let it not stay.

What have you ever had for breakfast?

The regular: a glass of heat water, which is superb for what you recognize [guiña un ojo]I let 20 minutes move after which I’ve tea, fruit and toast.

I used to be referring to the place he will get a lot vitality from. I need.

Well, I get it from believing what I do. I imagine that issues will be finished and, then, I set about making them occur. And now I’ve the massive South Summit assembly forward of me, which is what we work for all yr.

At 70 and together with his financial place, what want does he need to get entangled on this mess?

Because you don't understand how I get by means of it. This is my life. I do what I need. I’m the youngest of 10 siblings, I’ve had the unhealthy luck that two have died, who’ve additionally been my function fashions, after which, I, who am very family-oriented, and now that I’ve six grandchildren, I got here to I thought of quitting, however I got here to the conclusion that I wouldn't. My life is full and I can do issues. We do issues with impression, however this can be a firm and it has to go properly. It's good to place the 2 issues collectively.

What is a 'start-up'?

It is a brand new firm that was born with an modern venture, with the intention of rising rapidly and that has a worldwide imaginative and prescient of the enterprise it proposes, as a result of the world has modified and applied sciences enable us to achieve your entire planet from one village.

Many of these tasks fail.

Yes, however a humorous factor occurs. In reality, there shall be a 56% failure price within the first start-up, however then the determine of the serial entrepreneur seems. They are specialists in organising start-ups and they’re excellent. You study from failure. And, in case you have ridden greater than 4, that failure price is lowered to eight%.

You deliver collectively entrepreneurs with buyers. When does the crush happen?

When the uncle or aunt who begins the enterprise sells, you're damned. The thought is 10% of success. Then, the event and energy of the staff behind it influences. There is some huge cash on the planet, loads. More than 300 worldwide funds come to the South Summit with a portfolio of 4 hundred billion {dollars}. Logically, cash is frightening and desires you to ensure that your venture is price it, which is why it’s so vital to promote it properly.

Do you see your entrepreneurs as your chicks?

Well, the common age is 35 years. They usually are not children. They are journey companions. I think about myself a 70-taco restaurant. And it appears to me that every one ages are nice. You need to imagine it, at any time. And that doesn't imply that you’ve got believed it your entire life, it means that you may change your imaginative and prescient at any time.

When did you begin to imagine it?

Oops, very late. If you had recognized me as a toddler and younger girl, you’d be amazed, nothing like what you see. I used to be born in 1954 and, then, we women have been educated to get married and have kids. My older sister couldn't even full highschool. I used to be very fortunate that I caught the minimize, the turning level, and I went to college when many ladies began to go. My dad and mom didn't give a rattling, I used to be insecure that you’d die and, since I didn't perceive arithmetic or something in any respect, I did Geography and History.

A really girly race, then.

Well, I favored History and, since what I wished was to work, then I took an examination, don't miss it. I failed, and I’ve by no means been extra grateful for a failure. Since I wished to work, and on the identical time I wished to have kids and free time, I joined a associates' venture and we created an artwork house. There, I, who thought I used to be slightly silly, a zero on the left, immediately realized that I’ve different skills.

Which is it?

Well, whenever you get into a subject, you’ll be able to handle the venture, as a result of you recognize greater than you assume you recognize, you know the way to precise your self, you provide you with issues, you’re good at bringing individuals collectively and dealing collectively. I wasn't the prototype of something, so I made my very own prototype.

María Benjumea, in her office.
María Benjumea, in her workplace. Bernardo Perez

You have been born right into a rich household, are you conscious of your privilege?

I’m. I’m very privileged, I respect it very a lot and I’m very proud, too. But I'm additionally on the road, I work together with everybody. My world is tremendous open. Of course, the crib makes it simpler so that you can enter, it makes individuals take a look at you, make them see you, however, watch out, it's one factor to enter and one other to get there, and also you get to the highest alone. The vital factor is that, immediately, those that come from very low do what they need.

Oh actually? Are you telling me that somebody from poor household can it arrive the identical?

Yes. We want two issues. Send the constructive message that this world has modified, and, additionally, expertise and perspective are wanted. It is true that it might be tougher, however immediately, on this privileged world through which we reside, who doesn’t have entry to schooling? We all have it. And, with expertise and energy, you will have the potential for having scholarships to check and reside. Missing? Permanently ship messages that if you would like, you may, all of us can. I’ll by no means deny that, having a crib, that has a lot much less benefit, at first. But then you need to work precisely the identical. You don't understand how many individuals I do know who, coming from the place they arrive from, go very far. I’d like to introduce you to them.

Have you heard the expression 'sir'?

Yes, and I perceive completely what is supposed, however, are you aware what occurs? I don't care in any respect. I’ve at all times performed with the identical playing cards as males. Now, when girls complain about being complimented, I didn't care in any respect. What's extra, to calm down a gathering, I’d reward their tie, or their look, and nothing occurs.

Is that what you imply by taking part in with the identical playing cards?

Of course, the factor is that I’ve at all times labored for myself and been my very own boss. The boss of nothing, however the boss. And the principles have been and are my guidelines. I’ve at all times had an excellent vibe, with uncles and aunts.

What do you consider these household photographs the place all businessmen they’re males?

Well, it's previous information that you just're dying, however I'll additionally let you know that we’ve got a horrible time discovering girls for the South Summit. You don't know what I endure. Entrepreneurs are solely slightly greater than 20%. And it isn’t one thing that occurs solely in Spain

And why do you assume that occurs?

Because we’re excellent, however we’ve got to imagine it. I’m wondering: what can we do? Well, persuade girls that it's actually price it. I, on this, am of zero victimhood. We need to persuade ourselves that society wants us, loves us, and we’re price it.

It will even need to see that the burden of kids falls on girls and lots of relegate their careers to hold.

We make the choice as a result of it pays for us. I don't know something that’s excellent. One of my brothers who died at all times informed me “Mary, the scales.” I do know extraordinary moms who haven’t mentioned no to their careers and are on the high. I additionally know girls who’ve sacrificed their careers for his or her husbands, being very highly effective. Each one makes their selections with their penalties. I additionally let you know that I discovered myself a stepmother. And that, our dad and mom didn't pay a lot consideration to us both, and right here we’re.

Many males don’t think about that dilemma.

Yes, however, forgive me, what number of centuries have we been like this? Now that I’ve a grandson, after 5 granddaughters, I see my boy, how he performs, what he’s like, and he has nothing to do together with his sisters and his cousins. It's not that we instill roles, I are likely to assume that it's simply that we’re totally different, from biology, and it's good that we’re totally different. So, actually, let's take into consideration the stability.

Being referred to as María Benjumea Cabeza de Vaca, what number of occasions have you ever been referred to as a complicated lady, or woman, in your life?

Well look, I don't know, but when it occurred, I wouldn't be offended in any respect. I've been working all my life. I’m not conscious that anybody has attacked me. Look, that's one other piece of luck or privilege in my life: I've by no means felt attacked. It solely hurts me if I’m conscious that I’ve finished one thing mistaken, even when it was unintentional. So, I had a horrible time.


This is how, letter by letter, María Benjumea Cabeza de Vaca (Madrid, 70 years previous), founding father of South Summit, defines herself, an organization that connects start-up entrepreneurs and buyers from everywhere in the world. Before, Benjumea, the youngest of 10 siblings from a rich and aristocratic household, had studied Geography and History and, after failing an examination, launched her first venture, Taller del Arte, an modern house that mixed the vintage seller enterprise, gallery artwork and restoration faculty. It was there, based on herself, the place she turned conscious of her enterprise expertise, which led her to discovered, in 1981, the Círculo de Progreso and in 1995, Infoempleo, which from the yr 2000 turned the main portal for job searches. . Married to Diego del Alcázar, Marquis of La Romana and founding father of the Business Institute, she is the mom of two kids and grandmother of six grandchildren.

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