Interviews .

Zap Viva .

By Isabel dos Santos .

Women can change the world

Women can change the world. It was with this conviction that more than 200 business people gathered in Lisbon around the subjects of mobility and innovation. A reflection promoted by the Federation of Female Entrepreneurs of CE-CPLP (Business Confederation of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries), which was attended by Engineer Isabel dos Santos.

Zap Viva: How have women broken the paradigms of this system, mobility and also innovation?

Isabel dos Santos: Hello everyone! It’s a pleasure to be here today at Zap, and especially with Victor Hugo Mendes. This is the first time we have had the opportunity to speak, so I am looking forward to having this conversation with you. Above all, on themes that I am in love with, like the female entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship and mobility. So for me there couldn’t be a better forum because it really brings together things that I like and that I identify with a lot.

Zap Viva: Do you think that if in fact there was a greater mobility in our countries, women could best contribute to the development of these CPLP countries?

Isabel dos Santos: Undoubtedly, for us to have ties among Angola, Mozambique, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea, it is important that we can travel to these countries. Because when it comes to mobility, what we are really saying is that entrepreneurs, investors, whether men or women, can freely exchange experiences, but also trade, be present, interact. And creating a climate, but this is already a climate of, let us say, governance that allows these countries to get closer, I believe this will translate into a much larger market. That is a market that speaks Portuguese, which brings us very close.

Zap Viva: And how do you think women, despite all these difficulties, have broken the paradigms, precisely for greater mobility?

Isabel dos Santos: I like to think that women are real managers because we, deep down, have an almost double role in life, don’t we? On the one hand, we are mothers. So we have to learn to manage the house, to manage our children’s schedule, to try to manage our home. But on the other hand, we also have a career, a working life and we have to become breadwinners, know how we are going to make money to help support our families. So we have a double responsibility. And these two responsibilities, deep down, make a woman a very complete human being, because we have a human side that is always worried about livelihood. In other words, we want to create companies, we want to create businesses, opportunities that are sustainable, that are positive for society. But on the other hand, we are also aware that these are things that have to be useful, they have to be profitable, they have to create profit because it is through these profits that we will be able not only to invest in our business but also to improve the lives and conditions of our families, our children, and their education.

Zap Viva: And what can you tell us about innovation, most particularly in your companies?

Isabel dos Santos: The first thing I like to say is this: innovation is a bit different from invention. It is, deep down, looking at what we do every day and thinking: “I can improve something. I can introduce something here that makes a difference”. And much of the motivation for innovation has to do with wanting solutions that are better for the world.

Zap Viva: On the part of Angolan youth in particular, there is a great anxiety for new things. What is your message for young people in Angola looking for a job, for women who have been entrepreneurs, who are experiencing their difficulties in a particular way?

Isabel dos Santos: Angola is a country with an immense talent. I like to say that young Angolans have truly amazing talents and resources. I think maybe women will play an extremely important role, first of all, because they are also educating the boys who are going to be entrepreneurs. So we should start by inspiring our children at home to have confidence in themselves, to let our children expand their imagination.

Zap Viva: Engineer Isabel dos Santos, thank you very much for this interview, on the margins of this Forum on Mobility and Innovation that took place here in Lisbon, organized by the Federation of Female Entrepreneurs of the Business Confederation of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries.

When you do something relevant and something unique, it always turns into value. So go ahead and change the world! Thank you very much to all of you!