The World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) is an international organization aiming to ease access to finance for businesses from start-up to scale up, with the ultimate goal of generating more jobs and more social justice worldwide. It is committed to collaborating globally to empower world economic development by creating innovative financial instruments for innovators, startups, and SMEs.
The Forum interacts with leaders in all areas of society, first and foremost in business and political spheres, to help assess needs and establish goals, bearing in mind that the public interest is of paramount importance.
As a global organization, the WBAF is unique in its focus on a ‘smart’ approach to transforming the world’s economy to a smart economy — one that WBAF believes will produce more jobs and more social justice. The Forum provides an open an environment where key players from equity markets around the world can freely discuss the challenges businesses face in achieving growth and explore ways to empower the world economy.
I had the opportunity to interview Samantha Díaz, WBAF Senator in the United States to talk about her experiences as an entrepreneur, investor and judge, and mentor of different organizations internationally.
Samantha, you have 2 bachelor’s degrees one in Business Administration and the other in International relations, tell us a little bit about your background before you joined the World Business Angel Investment Forum?
I've been through it all, from the corporate world to being a successful entrepreneur as well as failing in an entrepreneurial environment. As I see it today, we should all live at least 1 failure in life which has taught me so many lessons. My first venture, 21 years ago, was very successful, although it did not last very long as there was not enough information and resources as there is today to plan ahead or something that could help me grow.
For the people that don´t know, can you explain in your own words, what is the WBAF?
WBAF is the largest investor forum in the world, as well as the one with the greatest impact in their industry. We try to link investment with startups, scaleups, and all entrepreneurs, as well as mentors from around the world so that the projects are successful, and entrepreneurs are prepared for the real world while causing a global impact. Also, we work with forums for women, and always support their development.
I see, you work on investment projects throughout the Southeast of Mexico and are a judge and mentor of different associations in Mexico as Startup Weekend Mom´s & Young Families Campeche and Yucatán, Tecnia, UADY, Anahuac Mayab, Modelo, Latino, SUM, Stamina among others, why investors should invest in Mexico, especially now when the politics of the new Government has discouraged many investors?
The innovation mindset in Mexico is incredible, they lack a little bit of international growth, but they are growing. We have tried to leave the government situation out of any private investment, trying to work in a completely independent way, we know that our government is complicated at this moment, but we are trying to grow with international investment. The most expensive thing for an entrepreneur is to stop the project, so we, as a link to investors, try not to let that happen, so that the projects can grow steadily.
You founded a very successful trading company of 100% Mexican Organic Products and being one of the first in exporting Hispanic organic products to the USA, what did it drive you?
When I started this business 19 years ago, there was not all the information that we have now, the facilities and access to information, so it was always trial and error, looking for information that could help you, not to make so many mistakes, that finally, the way you learn the most is by failing and restructuring your business models. As a mother of three, you are always looking for opportunities, even if you have one or two jobs.
I love to see how businesses are built, the implementation is what I enjoy the most, and this organic products company, it took us a while to get started, it took us a while to find the market niche, when we did it was a success, and like some successful projects, it was sold to a big company. And finally, what has always driven me to entrepreneurship is to think outside the box, with a grounded risk, and a great passion for my ideas.
You are involved in projects with women, helping them to have an active role in the economy and getting work for them, can you tell us more about it?
For me, this the most beautiful part of my job, to see the wings of a woman's independence being built is absolutely incredible. As they gain confidence to act on their own and lose the fear of success. When they start their projects, there is nothing to stop them, that is when I link them with investors and it is very easy to work the relationship with the investor, because they like to work with women entrepreneurs for their dedication and order, and respect for the work area, thanks to this they have been very successful, worldwide.
When the woman understands the world of work, it is very easy for her to find the possibilities of growth and internationalization, in that case, the The accompaniment is really masterful.
Samantha you are an expert getting money for entrepreneurs, what are the reasons why it is so hard for women to get investors for their projects?
This was before and it is a cultural fact, of diverse educations, but as I mentioned that was before. Now women have great opportunities to fund their projects anywhere in the world, with an announcement, is open of any rank, and the support of USA, Canada, Europe, has been of great value and growth for women in the Angel Investors, venture capital, and risk capital for LATAM, and also keep in mind the large amount that we already have female Angel Investors, who are always willing to push, mentor and grow women's projects.
What tips can you give women to receive more investments?
In these times we must think globally, we can no longer stay locked in one place or country, sales, competition, have become global. One of my biggest tips is always, always ask, always ask, do not stay with the slightest doubt, always look for your market niche very well, this will guarantee sales and you will stop going through channels that may not work for you.
Remember that mistakes are time and time is money, let's try to make a business model as close as possible to our sales and growth plan, this way we will avoid surprises. We must live, think, act, research, generate, as entrepreneurs, businesswomen at a global level. As women, we have many funding opportunities, and they must remember this and take advantage.
Something else you want to add.
- Keep growing, follow your dreams, build them, and enjoy them.
- Study, investigate, if you make mistakes or fail, remember that the best learning is the one that real life gives you, so failures leave great teachings
- Let's learn to respect women, from woman to woman, let's achieve that support that should always have to be, that will result in great growth.
- Share our experience, to shorten the time of women who begin in this work journey.
Let's help, let's respect all women and among women.
For more information about The World Business Angels Investment Forum:
INVESTORS / Samantha Díaz / WBAF