RML is a business network for women and a space of trust, reflection, knowledge sharing and business improvement, in group and in bilateral contacts.
Its members are women executive board members of high performance companies, many of which are PME Líder or PME Excelência (SME Leader and SME Excellence, national awards for financial performance).
RML aims to connect to international networks of business facilitation between women.
Benefits for the women entrepreneur
- peer learning
- advisory board or peer advising
- fostering alliances and business between members
- connection to international networks
Over the last few years, there were several studies about the correlation between organizational excellence and gender diversity in top management.
A number of independent researchers and large consultancies have argued that companies in which gender diversity extends to the top of the hierarchy present:
- Better operational and financial performance;
- Increased innovation in business;
- Improved group performance and increased problem-solving ability;
- Relevant reputation gains.
In order to give visibility to gender diversity as a way to increase innovation, competitiveness and high performance in companies, IAPMEI launched the RML, Rede Mulher Líder in 2017.
The project was co-created during 2016 with a group of industrial and knowledge intensive business services SME’s. It was designed and implemented with a group of 15 women entrepreneurs, belonging to 14 companies.
The entrepreneurs value:
- Identifying identical situations in different realities and with diverse responses. That sometimes leads to a change in their strategic framework.
- Sharing experiences. It allows them to break down isolation, step back from their management routine and think about aspects related to the business instead of reacting to daily operational demands.
The woman needs to be president, executive member of the board, director-general or middle manager preparing succession. Female top managers with:
- willingness to share their experience and to absorb experiences from others in a peer-to- peer capacity building process and exchange of good practices.
- capable of respecting spaces of trust and confidentiality associated with the exchange of information within the RML.
- interest in taking advantage of national and international networking for the valuation of their businesses.
The company needs to be high performing and have tradable goods although not necessarily an exporter, in the following sectors: industry, T-KIBS, logistics and tourism (with differentiating projects). Or, if it is Commerce, it has to have relevant export activity.
Women will be automatically admitted as members of the network if they are top executives of:
- companies with PME Líder or PME Excelência statute.
- big companies with solid reputation
- fast-growing startups with a minimum of three-year track record of sales and sales in the last year above 500 thousand euros.
All other cases will need to be evaluated by the Managing Commission and the evaluation is made on the profile of the woman, her specific competencies to contribute to the Network and the profile of her company.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
RML is a meeting and learning point for women entrepreneurs from the most diverse sectors, whose main objective is the sharing of knowledge, experiences and contacts.
Through monthly visits to companies, or thematic meetings, this network, coordinated by IAPMEI, encourages collaboration and discussion of common themes ranging from management, growth, trade, innovation, people and sustainability, among others. RML thus fosters a culture where sharing and not keeping to yourself becomes “the soul of the business”, in a constructive posture of growth, both personal and professional.
My participation in this network has been a very positive and, honestly, an indispensable experience.
These visits provide a sharing of experiences and ideas even in areas totally divergent from those we manage in our day-to-day life. I believe they are an essential investment for our personal growth as Board, as well as for the continued growth of our companies.
The time spent is a small effort, considering the inspiration resulting from the diversity of ideas and contact.
Although I joined RML recently, I have already felt a number of benefits and, above all, a great pride to belong to such a dynamic and interesting organized group of entrepreneurs. The exchange of experiences and useful information for business and management have been fantastic through group activities with visits, debates and workshops in the different companies visited, thus increasing our knowledge – it has been enriching and an opportunity to escape our daily routine and look “out of the box” to our own reality. Other perspectives and different realities help us broaden horizons and reach further for results.
The network has also provided direct-buying and cross-selling opportunities.
There is also the objective of providing and expanding joint projects and links at an international level, in order to promote business growth.
What I wanted and obtained with the participation in this network:
1. While entrepreneur, it was my goal to: broaden my network of contacts; learn by example; get new sources of inspiration; identify (and possibly try to replicate) good practices in use in other companies; identify common affinities / problems for top managers in companies of a similar size to mine, and discuss measures already tested / validated for solving these problems.
2. For my company, I wanted to: sell, on advantageous terms (similar to those offered to resellers), Castelbel products to network members, for use in their premises or corporate gifts (to customers / partners / suppliers / collaborators, etc.); to acquire, on advantageous terms, goods supplied or services provided by undertakings managed by members of the network; share information on common customers; increase the exposure / awareness of the company through joint participation (with other members of the network) in promotional events and other international trade fairs.
The greatest benefit of any network is to broaden our contacts and enhance our experience. RML puts in contact women entrepreneurs of high performance companies, in diverse sectors, but with common problems and needs.
Because top management is solitary by nature, so far, in this network, we have broken insulation, and we have left a very absorbing activity of daily life to share problems, find good examples and new solutions.
In the future, who knows? Can we influence service providers? Share businesses? Create new businesses? We have to wait and see. In the immediate horizon, this network fosters innovation. For companies like mine, that is absolutely fundamental.
RML is an enriching network at all levels. Each meeting is a great learning experience, and each event in this Network is about mingling, making friends, sharing, and above all, a lot of business support issuing from debating themes that, in the end, are transversal to all companies.
It is an honor for me to be able to participate and be part of a group like this, with whom I learn so much, every day.
I was invited to join the network in 2017.
The possibility of sharing experiences, difficulties, problems with other women entrepreneurs has helped me to develop skills, improve strategic thinking and, in many cases, in decision making.
The fact that we are women and of many business areas that share different experiences and have common problems helps us to broaden our range of knowledge and improve the performance of our companies.
For me, network meetings are also a space and a moment of reflection.
The connection of RML to international business facilitating networks is also an advantage that may prove to boost my companies growth in the future.
Carla Carreira, Macolis * Carolina Breda, Bresimar * Mara Almeida, Ename * Marta Araújo, ex-Castelbel * Marta Casimiro, Panidor Group * Sónia Calado, DRT Group * Rita Nabeiro, Adega Mayor *
Although IAPMEI, the state agency,
remains on the project as facilitator, seven women entrepreneurs are co-managing the project, insuring its independence and continuity.
The management team of RML:
Amélia Santos, Innuos | Ana Roque, Porcel | Filomena Frade, Louritex | Lídia Tarré, Gelpeixe | Mara Almeida, Ename | Marta Casimiro, Panidor Group | Sónia Calado, DRT Group | Rita Seabra, IAPMEI, State Agency