How she created an entrepreneurship mentorship for black ladies and garnered assist from giants like Meta
In 2022, with 50 women mentored, Bensà has already earned BRL 81,000
strengthen the entrepreneurship is the motto of Bárbara Lopes, founder of Bensà, a education in business for black women. Based in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, edtech partners with other organizations to finance the classes so that they are free for those interested. In 2022, with 50 women mentored, the company has already earned R$ 81 thousand.
The decision to undertake came when Lopes was still in business school — but he didn’t know exactly what to do. She thought about starting a business in the education field, as she had already given private lessons during her teens. “I used to teach my friends’ younger siblings about school content,” says the 32-year-old entrepreneur. However, she wanted to start a business that could include her family and knew that tutoring would be more difficult.
It was by chance that he found an opportunity. On the street where he worked, there was also a cake shop, Bolos do Orlando. “I liked the space and decided to open a store of the same brand, since it didn’t require such a high opening capital”, says Lopes, who got a license to use the name in 2013. In just six months, he recovered all the investment, and decided to open another store.
In 2015, he went through a turning point in his life with the birth of his son, diagnosed with autism. “I understood that I could no longer have that life of working 12 hours a day.” Upon rethinking her trajectory, she understood that an alternative would be to have her own bakery. “I was interested because I saw that they used to open at 12:00, had a higher average ticket and required lower volume inputs”, she says. In February 2019, she opened Bendita Confeitaria.
“I found many advantages in having a brand that I created, because I had the freedom to change the recipes and create marketing campaigns”, he says. For six months, he managed the operations of both businesses, until he sold the Bolos do Orlando stores to other owners.
After creating the brand and changing her daily life, Lopes began to receive requests for help from friends who wanted to know how she organized her routine. The demand was so high that, at the end of the same year, she started Bensà with individual consulting, offered within the Bendita Confeitaria.
Soon, however, he faced yet another obstacle. With the pandemic enacted, he had to think of solutions for his business. Although she managed to increase the bakery’s revenue by creating special kits, mentorships did not follow the same path and decreased considerably in the virtual environment.
Last year, the game was reversed. Lopes realized that the confectionery’s customers were less interested in its products — at the same time that the value of inputs increased. The entrepreneur realized that she was no longer excited about the business and, at the end of 2021, she decided to dedicate herself exclusively to the mentoring company. In the same year, the startup was accelerated by BlackRocks, in the Quartz Program. In 2022, Lopes was invited to join the team to offer mentorships through the organization. She was also one of the shortlisted for the Business Acceleration of Black Entrepreneurs, led by Meta and PretaHub.
One of the tactics to leverage the business was to find other organizations that would finance mentorships so that they were free for women. At the moment, Bensà has partnerships with Itaú Mulher Empreendedora, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Sebrae, institutions from which the company’s revenues come.
The plans are promising for 2023, when Lopes intends to offer more mentoring options, such as psychological care and physical activities. The search for new partnerships is also on the radar. The goal is to earn R$ 400 thousand.
Source: PEGN Magazine