Meet Angela López Lavado and Giuliana Huaman, Producers of Empoderatec


empoderatec[dropcap background="no" color="#333333"]Y[/dropcap]ou all know the Dream, Girl story by now. But did you know there’s been a very similar story unfolding in Peru? Angela López Lavado and Giuliana Huaman had each been meeting a lot of badass female entrepreneurs in the course of their careers, so they decided to come together and create Empoderatec, a documentary about female entrepreneurs in Peru’s tech space- with an all-female crew, no less. This week, we chatted with Angela and Giuliana about entrepreneurship in Peru and how women can crush it in that space.[divider type="dashed" spacing="10"]

Introduce yourselves! Tell us who you are and what you do.

Angela: I’ve worked as a freelancer and producer for five years now, but last year I started my own production company. I work with my boyfriend, who’s a developer. Last year, I started to learn more about the Peruvian ecosystem- I didn’t know we had so many female entrepreneurs. I started reading about them and I learned about Mariana Costa, who teaches low-income girls to develop websites. I started following her and then started following others, and then I went to Chile for an innovation conference and met a lot of people there. When I came back here, I started a radio show about entrepreneurship and independent music. I started inviting a lot of people from the entrepreneurship ecosystem to the show and got to know them a little bit more. I was like, this is the best way to work! One day, a colleague introduced me to Giuliana and told me she wanted to work on a project about women. I talked to her and she told me her idea about the documentary- she told me about Dream, Girl and we decided to do something like it for Peruvian women.

Giuliana: I’m a coach and mentor. I’ve been in the entrepreneurship world for three years now. I studied at the Founder Institute here in Lima, which comes from Silicon Valley. I started a startup, where I learned how to do things and how not to do things. The startup wasn’t successful- we were broke! That encouraged me to stay in this ecosystem and to start teaching people about what they should and shouldn’t do in the startup world. Through those three years, I got to know eight of the women we have in the documentary.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]

What’s Empoderatec’s message?

Giuliana: When I thought about the idea of making the documentary, I thought, why don’t we show people the side of entrepreneurs that people don’t know, the human side? Because the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Peru is really small, a lot of the people know how successful they are, but they don’t know that they have failed too. When I had this idea, I also felt, how can we get more young people interested in entrepreneurship? And a final goal is to give this information to everyone in Peru, so they know what is happening in this ecosystem. Concepts like startup is not a common or known world- people from traditional jobs don’t even know the world exists.

Angela: When we were scouting for our trailer, even our cinematographer said, I know we’re doing this film about startups, and we told her how it worked, but she didn’t understand. So she was like, “Ok, camera here, camera here, and Angela, what is a startup?” So we really want to give people that information.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]

How does feminism play a part in the work you do?

Giuliana: Here in Peru, only 7% of professional women are developers. Only 31% of CEOs are women. Two years ago, women were finally included in entrepreneurship panels- before that, there were only all-male panels. We’ve been talking to a woman in Canada and we were talking about diversity- we don’t have many people of color working in tech here. Eighty-seven percent of women working in tech are here in Lima and we don’t have as much in rural areas. There has been discrimination here, and that’s why they added women in panels. People had a lot of doubts that women had the skills to run a startup. And so Startup Peru was asked to have more women in panels. We don’t have a women’s rights organization here about working in tech or professional life.

Angela: It’s not that we don’t have the opportunities- it’s more like there are a lot of people that doubt the abilities of women here.

Giuliana: We have a new president here and he is working toward gender equality. Because of that, if we release the documentary next year, it would match a lot of things the government is doing. So the documentary is going to help give this information so that a lot of women can join the tech movement and to be able to start their own companies.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]

Having talked to so many female entrepreneurs, what’s one piece of advice you’ve learned that all Peruvian women starting their own businesses should know?

Giuliana: We encourage women to start their companies now, because the system is a little bit more open than two years ago. You also have to get ready to be tough because it’s most likely that the people you’ll be working with will be men. It’s like one woman to twenty men, so you’ll need to be prepared.[divider type="short" spacing="10"]

How can the Feminist Wednesday community support your work?

Angela: Contribute to our crowdfunding campaign! It ends on October 28. You can also watch our trailer, visit our website, or follow us on Facebook.