1- Can you tell our readers about your background?
I am a Business Psychologist and ICF Professional Certified Coach -Executive & Team Coach with over 20 years of experience ranging from the aviation industry to education & consulting.
I lived in 4 different countries Brazil, UAE, Portugal and Qatar enhancing my cultural awareness and passion for human interactions. My journey as an expat led me to develop a “Coaching Programme for Expatriates” within organisations helping my clients “Navigate New Territories” while making sense of their lives and career.
In 2019, I launched “Expats & Entrepreneurs” in Qatar – a networking platform for women in business to connect, collaborate and showcase their products and services globally.
I am also the Co-Founder of MindDetoxME Coaching in Qatar and a Board Member of the ICF Doha Chapter.
2- What inspired you to start Expats & Entrepreneurs?
From my own experience and from scientific research I have done with expats when I lived in Dubai (UAE) and in Portugal – generally, when we move abroad as female expats we tend to rely on our spouse’s job. That means that we are not the breadwinners. As expat women, we try to engage in an occupation that allows us to combine motherhood with our career.
That’s what I did when I moved to Qatar in 2019. I tried to go back to the workforce as I found a dream job in my area to work for a large organization. I successfully went through all the stages of the interview process. When I was offered the place, however, I had to back up and refuse to join as I did not have a network of support to care for my daughter while working.
So, I decided to continue my consulting business which I had started when I moved to Portugal. As I was going through my accreditation process as an ICF PCC Coach I had to record real coaching sessions. I met amazing expat female entrepreneurs who had built their career but had to leave them all behind and somehow lost their identity.
Expats & Entrepreneurs was born from my dream to create a safe space to support these expat women adjust and restart their lives in a new country.
3- Where is your business based?
Expats & Entrepreneurs was a closed group – A networking platform of support for expatriate women and entrepreneurs to get together once a month over a coffee morning to connect, align ideas and lift each other through coaching meetings to grow their mindsets and businesses.
As we are moving to the new normal, Expats & Entrepreneurs was forced to make some changes to their original format. Now, E&E is growing their initial group and creating a new concept for women from all over the world to join them online.
4- How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
With the challenges post COVID-19 I felt the need to adapt our original Expats & Entrepreneurs format. As we went on lockdowns and as entrepreneurs, we could not work on our traditional ways of doing business, with stores and services closing or being cancelled we had to learn how to navigate the online world.
So, in 2020 I reconnected with a friend entrepreneur that I met when I lived in Dubai a couple of years back and together we created the new concept of Expats & Entrepreneurs. The female networking platform that speaks your language. The first step we took was to organize a Global Forum to celebrate our first year and announce our new concept to our entrepreneur’s community.
Then, we considered which business model we would use. We asked ourselves key questions that helped us and might help every entrepreneur when considering opening a business. Such as:
– Does your business idea match the actual local market needs? This is crucial for you if you don’t have a business model yet.
– Do you have the necessary skills to transform this idea into a business plan and make it viable?
– Is it costly to start the kind of business you are thinking about?
– Are you going to be a sole entrepreneur?
– Where are you going to register the company?
– What kind of data protection are you going to use?
These are some of the practical things that are part of your journey if you navigate to entrepreneurship.