In the early 1900s Madam C.J. Walker, despite societal challenges (racism) and personal challenges (orphan, widow at the age of 20 and single mother) became the first American female self-made entrepreneur, that carved the path for women entrepreneurs. Today, more than 100 years later she would have been certainly proud. On average women are starting 1821 businesses per day and women-owned businesses make up 40% of all firms in the U.S. according to a report by American Express.
Yet, despite the positive news, lack of funding (in 2017, only about 2% went to female-founded startups in the U.S.), lack of relatable role models and often lack of confidence of women itself represent obstacles holding them back from choosing the entrepreneurial path. It becomes imperative to present stories of women-led startups and female founders that inspire on an individual level and normalize the changing face of entrepreneurship on a societal level. One of such stories is the tale of Lubomila Jordanova, the young female Founder & CEO of Plan A
, the first data-driven crowdfunding platform in the fight against climate change.
For Lubomila it was always clear that unlike people that choose to be comfortable with a traditional working path she needs to explore the realms beyond that:
“I have always been excited about seeing what happens outside of the box. I never found it satisfying to think about myself as one of 10 000 employees that would be following a certain path that would lead them five years down the line to the third promotion and then you kind of have enough experience and money to be your own (wo)man. I always felt comfortable that it would be my own choice of what the path should look like and I did not feel scared of experimenting”
Lubomila studied international business and management, thus the notion of having a business was always there. Yet, what got her really thinking about starting her own company was her 6-month experience at a venture capital firm in Bangkok where she was exposed to the world of startups as well being part of a London-based fintech that gave her a wider perspective on the different aspects of what it means to be building a company.
The beginnings, especially as a single founder, were not easy for Lubomila. From feeling as she describes it: “a lone soldier in the fights against the climate change”
, not having the expertise on how difficult and expensive product building can be to structuring herself in a way that she could navigate multiple topics at the same time.
However, no hurdles can replace the feeling of ownership and proudness of starting something of your own from scratch.
“The thing that wakes me up in the morning and I get so excited about is Plan A. I would not give this up for anything. I am happy it is a blend between work and personal life. I remember myself in university and work situations where I would be a bit tired of what I was listening to, it was so boring. This has not happened a single time since I started working on Plan A.”
Plan A is at the beginnings of its ambitious mission to save the planet but now attracting organizations and partners that are sustainably minded. It already has a highly skilled workforce of passionate people.
“It is incredibly empowering and exciting to be working on something that has an impact focus. There has been media attention, partnership offers... so many thumbs up that we have been seeing. This reinforces in me the need and the will to be building this.”
(to be continued)