The feminine startup that wishes to finish gender inequality in corporations

The feminine startup that wishes to finish gender inequality in corporations

Se Candidate,Mulher!, founded by entrepreneur Jhenyffer Coutinho, developed a platform that empowers women for selection processes in large companies in Brazil

Of simple origin and living in the interior of Minas Gerais, the entrepreneur Jhenyffer Coutinhocurrent CEO of one of the main employability platforms in the country, did not even know what a startup was in the past.

Some personal and professional experiences in the technological universe of small companies within institutions such as the Brazilian Association of Startups (AbStartups) and Sebrae, little by little, made her familiar with the term.

Graduated in administration, Coutinho was always guided by professors at the University to follow her “restless” profile, but the association with the risk of entrepreneurship always distanced her from opening her own business. “Entrepreneurship reminded me of financial instability, something I didn’t want to experience in life again, remembering everything that my family and I went through during my childhood,” she says.

Start of trajectory

Coutinho worked as an attendant at Sebrae Minas, where he had his first contact with real entrepreneurs. There, he understood that entrepreneurship is not only linked to the creation of a business, but also to the way of changing the way a traditional company works and manages its business. “I fell in love with the disruptions and every innovation proposal that small companies bring, and I wanted to know more about the startup universe”, he says.

A job offer in Brazilian Startup Association, in 2018, made the administrator gather her belongings and move to São Paulo. Two years later, she decided to study abroad in the United States to learn another language.

The period of the trip ended up coinciding with the beginning of the pandemic and the economic blow suffered by millions of workers who still faced numerous uncertainties in the face of the intermittent closure of companies and small enterprises.

With women, the reality was no different. On the contrary. More sensitive to layoffs and difficulties imposed by the covid-19 pandemic, they lost more jobs than men in the period. “In the United States, I was subscribed to a newsletter on employability. Right at the beginning of the pandemic, I received one of them that said that we had seven million unemployed women, against five million men,” she says.

Aware that the pandemic scenario further aggravated a gender gap already visible in the job market and in the face of a survey that indicated that most women only applied for a job when they had 100% of the prerequisites. While men did it with only 60% of the requirements.

These were the starting points for Coutinho to found the Apply, Woman!, a startup focused on female employability and training for the job market. “When I saw that situation, I felt like it was about time someone did something about it,” she says. “I am very grateful to Jhenyffer at that time for this uncertain leap, as it changed my life.”

How does the platform work?

Created in May 2020, Se Candidate, Mulher! was born as an informative and biweekly newsletter with professional tips, curriculum development and job curation. The growing number of subscriptions and followers in the first few months, however, made the business gain new contours.

“In a month, I had 3,000 followers on Instagram. In three months, it had 30,000 followers on LinkedIn. Then I realized that there was a business opportunity there, because of an audience hungry for content and that I could monetize that”, he says.

Between March and December 2020, the company began testing different formats to launch itself on the market. From the non-scalable — such as individual mentorships — to those with some scaling potential, such as online courses and group mentorships.

professional education

Today, the startup has an educational arm, the SCM Academy, which brings together technical courses aimed at career and personal development, such as communication, public speaking and preparation for job interviews. After learning about hard and soft skills to be able to participate in selection processes across the country, the women join a talent bank created by Se Candidate, Mulher!.

The idea is that companies interested in expanding diversity and gender equality in their teams can seek professionals and recruit them through the startup’s talent bank. According to Coutinho, this was a major turning point for the company. “The entry of large companies into the business, in 2021, was a key turning point for us,” he says.

In practice, today around 30 large companies can offer quotas for the startup’s courses to the general public and, in return, gain access to the talent bank. In the list of companies that have already joined the action are Creditas, PicPay, Ambev and Coca-Cola.

During the run of bad luck that hit most startups and led them to lay off entire teams, Se Candidate, Mulher! released access to training services free of charge as a way of accelerating the process of employing women who were part of this wave of laid-offs in companies such as VTEX, Olist, among others.

Since its founding, the startup estimates it has impacted more than 2 million women looking for a new job.

What’s next?

In September 2021, Coutinho and his partner, Fernanda Miranda, decided it was time to seek external capital to invest in growth and technology and abandon the bootstrapping company posture. Now to Apply, Woman! has just closed a round of R$ 1.2 million.

The investment was made by the Ladies pool of venture capital Bossanova, which includes names such as Carol Paiffer, CEO of Atom and Shark Tank; Cassia Messias, COO Zenklub; Lillian Albuquerque, ex-IBM;, Carol Rache, digital influencer and entrepreneur and João Keple, founder of Bossanova. Also participating in the round were the Sororitê fund, a network of angel investors that supports companies founded by women led by Flávia Mello and Eric Fridman and the angel investors Larissa Janz and Carlos Sanjuan.

The objective is to use the capital to oil the vending machine, with emphasis on the B2B operation of the business. In addition, the platform should gain new technology resources and its own platform for the talent and course bank — which currently has more than 3,000 subscribers. These actions should triple the company’s revenue — last year, the startup earned BRL 500,000.

For the future, Se Candidate, Mulher! wants to impact half a million women, taking them back to the job market by 2025. Coutinho does not rule out the possibility that the startup will also end up becoming a major diversity and inclusion arm of a large company or HRTech. “We see the movement of the market for stocks like this, for mergers and acquisitions. Gupy bought it, Sólides too. It’s natural,” he says.

Source: Exam

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