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by Camila Achutti

“Age is not a curse if you feel strong enough to continue. It rejuvenates the spirit. I’ve found out that I’m capable and that I don’t have to just keep wishing. Now I can do it with my own hands.” This is the lesson that one of the Startup Weekend Women attendees at João Pessoa attendee learned. The amazing Mrs. Hilda might be a older, but she has a great deal of experience and energy.

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Brazil has many barriers preventing women from being promoted to better company jobs and managing positions. Even fewer of them start their own business. However, changes for the better are coming and one of the signs of improvement was the hugely successful run of the very first Startup Weekend João Pessoa for Women (SWWJampa) from March 14 to 16.

The three-day event took place at a really new 3 floor building full of room for creativity. The first SWW in Brazil had 50 participants divided into 9 teams of diversified backgrounds: different ages, activities, mindsets and experiences from students to seniors. The teams received very real and competent feedback from 11 mentors, most of whom were women working in the startup world for some time.

After all the teams presented their work and results to the audience, ÑContém emerged as the winner. Their idea was to help people with gluten or lactose intolerance to eat appropriate food and with diversity and it was originally conceived by a 17 years old girl with gluten intolerance and a great passion to solve this problem for everybody like her.

Although most of the participating women will continue to feel a heavy pressure to keep their current jobs, it is notable how some of them left committed to make SWW their stepping stone on starting a new business. One of them was our Mrs. Hilda, who wrote me to tell that organizze.co is going to be developed. The competition runner up is focused on building a web platform for personal organisation.

The impact was visible throughout the weekend. The mentors, organisers, judges and speakers created an environment that not only boosted the attendees’ confidence, but gave them the resources to find a different perspective. Instead of doubting their ability to create a tech product, they now understand how far they can go. They can surely run the world!

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Camila is a Brazilian software engineer. Founder of Mulheres na Computação and Technovation Challenge Brazil National Director. She really wants to show everybody the power of technology to change the world.

Claire Topalian Claire Topalian
(@clairetopalian) Blog, Professional Writing, Communications and PR Specialist. I craft compelling, mission-driven content for companies and individuals that amplifies brand awareness, fosters community, and drives engagement. My experience includes work with tech startups, major corporations, and international non-profits. @clairetopalian