As part of the WP2 the consortium has performed a series of interviews with women enetrepreneurs. Their summary is available in this document.
5. FyG Consultores
Gabriela Gómez Gutiérrez is a Spanish entrepreneur who participated in the testimonial interview for WOMENIN. Gabriela graduated from the Bachelor’s program in Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), becoming an expert technical architect in architecture and building technology. After graduating, Gabriela worked in various construction companies as a construction manager, group leader, and technical architect, gaining significant experience and knowledge in the industry.
With over 20 years of experience in the construction sector, she was motivated to take the leap into entrepreneurship. Thus, her personal project began three years ago, and she currently serves as the director of construction execution at Iniziatec, her own company in the construction industry.
On 13 September 2023 the FyG Consultores team conducted an online interview with Gabriela, in which the questions agreed by the WOMENIN consortium were asked. Below are the answers obtained, which reflect her overall experience in the world of entrepreneurship as a woman.
After many years working in construction companies, Gabriela wanted to re-enjoy her profession by doing things our way. The inspiration to start her own business came from that desire to regain passion and autonomy in what she did. Knowing firsthand how the industry works and meeting great builders was also a great focus of inspiration that prompted Gabriela to undertake. Thus, three years ago Gabriela decided to create her own company in the construction sector, in which she spends all her passion making her own decisions and offering the best service to her customers.
In addition to recovering that autonomy that inspired her, Gabriela believes that the greatest achievement as an entrepreneur so far has been the formation of an exceptional team, solid and deeply committed to the company’s objectives. She admits that this achievement has not only strengthened her organisation, but has also been instrumental in achieving her milestones and goals. She has invested time and effort in selecting, training and cultivating a team that shares her vision and values, and this has had a significant impact on the success and growth of her business. Gabriela feels very proud of the cohesion and performance of her team, as they are the backbone of her venture and have contributed comprehensively to her progress.
Gabriela and her team focus on two key aspects to keep her company competitive in an environment where technology, digitalisation and innovation are increasingly influential. First of all, she considers that continuing training is essential. Therefore, Gabriela invests in the professional development of her team, making sure they are aware of the latest technological trends and best practices in construction. This allows them to take full advantage of the new tools and technologies available in the industry. Secondly, Gabriela is attentive to changes in the construction sector in order to adapt to them quickly. To do this, she keeps an eye on the latest innovations and digital trends that can improve her processes and efficiency. In addition, she is willing to explore new forms of work and collaboration that may arise with digitalisation.
Gabriela also offers two fundamental tips that have helped her to grow the business and making it profitable. The first of these is to maintain financial prudence by covering only what is viable without incurring risky debt. This involves conducting a thorough financial analysis before making major investment or expansion decisions. To do so, Gabriela ensures that the resources that are available or that future revenue can support any expansion she is planning to avoid a financial burden. The second principle is building strong relationships with customers and suppliers. To do this, she works to maintain an open communication and a relationship of trust with her customers.
However, Gabriela has also encountered some challenges when it comes to opening a business in Spain. For her, one of the most outstanding challenges when opening or managing a business in Spain is taxes. In this country, tax obligations can be quite complex and with considerably high tax rates. However, her strategy to address this challenge is simple but effective: hard work. Therefore, she faces the tax burden by scrupulously complying with all her tax obligations and maintaining accurate accounting. This includes taking advantage of all legitimate tax deductions and exemptions available for her type of business. In addition, she also seeks professional tax advice to make sure that she is aware of changes in tax laws and to optimise her tax situation.
Despite the tax burden, Gabriela continues to work hard to ensure that her business continues to thrive in the business environment. In fact, she already has an idea of the changes she wants to face in the coming years. Gabriela admits that she would like to expand her business, specifically focusing on the management of cooperatives. However, to carry out this expansion plan, it is necessary to grow and strengthen her company to be able to assume the initial costs associated with this type of project.
However, one of the main obstacles preventing her from implementing this expansion immediately is the need for specific financial resources and expertise to manage cooperatives effectively. In addition, she will require time to build a solid reputation in this field and establish strong relationships with potential partners and customers. Therefore, Gabriela estimates that to be in a solid position to start the management of cooperatives, she will need approximately three or four years of preparation and continuous growth. During this period, she plans to work on several key aspects, such as the acquisition of expertise in the management of cooperatives, the expansion of her network in the sector and the strengthening of her financial capacity to support these large-scale projects.
On the other hand, we have also asked Gabriela about the challenges or barriers related to gender that she has encountered in her path of entrepreneurship. In the case of construction, Gabriela admits that the sector has historically been dominated by men, and that women still have to gradually make their way. Personally, she has faced significant challenges in proving that a woman is as competent and valid as a man in this sector. At times, she has noticed skepticism on the part of some clients who, based on gender stereotypes, questioned her ability to lead construction projects. However, she has addressed these challenges with determination and resilience.
To overcome gender prejudices, she has tried to demonstrate her competence and knowledge in each project she undertakes. In addition, Gabriela has cultivated strong and collaborative relationships with customers, based on the trust and quality of her work. These experiences have strengthened her mindset to promote diversity and inclusion in her company, which she considers a valuable asset for her continued growth and success.
On the other hand, we told Gabriela that research shows that fear of failure can greatly affect women in the business environment. For her, however, failure represents an invaluable learning opportunity. Although she sometimes faces that fear, she addresses it by minimising risks through careful planning and decision-making based on data and previous experiences. Although fear will always be present, Gabriela admits that determination and willingness to learn from challenges help her overcome it and move forward in the business world.
But not being afraid to face new challenges has not been the only success factor. Gabriela admits that differentiation and a unique value proposition lies in the training and experience of her company’s components. Her business has a team of architects and technical architects who accumulate more than 20 years of experience in the construction sector. This deep experience and knowledge allow them to understand and anticipate the specific challenges of each project, as well as offer innovative and efficient solutions. In addition, such experience allows them to maintain a high standard of quality in all aspects of the work, from architectural design to project management and construction supervision. This translates into the delivery of successful projects and customer satisfaction.
Such a customer focus has always been one of the top priorities of her business. Nowadays, the main objective of Gabriela continues to be to consolidate solid relationships with customers through excellence at work, ensuring that the company is as profitable as possible and enjoying her work to the fullest. As the company has grown and matured, she has incorporated additional strategies and approaches to achieve the goals, but the essence of her business mission remains intact: to be satisfied while satisfying customers.
On the other hand, Gabriela has been asked about her opinion in mentoring and has admitted that it plays a fundamental role in the success of women in business. She believes that a mentor can serve as an experienced guide on the road to success and can help prevent entrepreneurs from making costly, and sometimes, avoidable mistakes. Gabriela admits that a mentor can provide guidance, practical advice and share their personal experience to empower women entrepreneurs to make informed and strategic decisions, as well as help establish valuable connections in the industry. Therefore, Gabriela agrees that a mentor can make a difference by offering knowledge, experience and connections that help women overcome obstacles and achieve their entrepreneurial goals.
But being an entrepreneur goes further for Gabriela, who highly values a work-life balance. For her, her free time is essential to relax, recharge energies and enjoy the simple things of life. Therefore, in her spare time, she devotes her attention to the things that really matter to her. First of all, she spends quality time with her daughter and her dogs, and enjoy being outdoors with them either on long walks or playing in the park. Also, Gabriela loves to travel and live cultural experiences such as going to the movies or theater. These activities allow her to disconnect from business responsibilities and recharge energy.
After reviving her passionate career in the world of entrepreneurship, we asked Gabriela to give some advice to women who want to take the path of starting their own business. Primarily, Gabriela recommends that women train and work hard to achieve their goals. In addition to constantly training, Gabriela recommends that women find their passion, choosing an industry or a field in which they are really passionate about working. Business success requires determination, dedication and a constant focus on personal and professional growth, but Gabriela agrees that passion can keep you motivated even in difficult times.