Celebrating Women in Business: Natalija Japerte, IWA Founder & CEO
- by Ilona K.
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) is dedicated to empowering women in business by enhancing their personal brands and bolstering their online presence. We discussed the organization’s mission and initiatives with Natalija Japerte, the IWA’s founder & CEO.
Although the share of women hired into leadership roles has increased by 3.6% over the past 6 years, there are still far fewer of them than male leaders. Last year, they made up only 36.9% of the total number of managers. In entrepreneurship, the disparity is even larger; of the total 8,800 global companies listed on Crunchbase, less than 900 were founded by women.
While building a business is always challenging, for female entrepreneurs it comes with the additional complexity of having to break down the barriers of stereotypes. This is precisely why the IWA was created; to provide every woman around the world with the opportunity to succeed as an entrepreneur and help them thrive by strengthening their online presence and personal brands.
Although only one in three businesses has women among the principal owners right now, this number is growing. Time and time again, studies have indicated that women have just as strong an ability to develop connections, mentor others, care for the community, and lead by example as men, making them valuable members of leadership teams at every level.
The idea of the IWA originated at the 2023 We Make Future (WMF) trade fair in Italy when the organizers, Hosting Solutions, and it.com Domains decided to collaborate on an intriguing project aimed at Italian female-led startups participating in the WMF with the necessary resources and expertise to grow locally and successfully establish their presence on the global market. This initiative included hosting, a domain name, and business consulting, all offered to eligible startups free of charge.
This distinctive project garnered significant interest, particularly among female entrepreneurs, and was featured in Forbes Italy. As a result, Natalija Japerte conceived the idea of establishing an organization dedicated to supporting women in business. Powered by it.com Domains, the IWA was made into a separate organization after the WMF.
Natalija knows what a woman’s path in business can be from first-hand experience. A visionary leader, besides being a founder and the CEO of the IWA (International Women’s Alliance), she is currently serving as a Business Development Director at it.com Domains. With a strong background in business development, Natalija excels at cultivating long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with clients and business partners alike.
We talked with Natalija about the importance of online presence and personal brand as well as the role of it.com Domains in helping female entrepreneurs succeed online.
Hi Natalija! We were quite impressed and motivated by all the titles you have and all the projects you have worked on. Tell us your story, how did you start?
Natalija Japerte: I plunged into independent life and began my career path quite early. I grew up with my grandparents; at 16, my grandfather passed away, and I had to learn to live and resolve issues “like an adult.” I understood that the only way for me was to study well and receive a scholarship.
I studied accordion at a music college. Fortunately, I had wise teachers who were able to reveal my talent and give me the opportunity to realize myself as an artist, producer, event organizer, and teacher. This is what became the foundation of my character, skills, and knowledge. Thanks to them and their guidance, I won the ‘Latvian Talents’ competition, becoming an honorary scholarship recipient for Latvia. Raymond Pauls, the famous composer, presented me with the award. There were many other competitions that I won, but my studies were coming to an end, and I had to think about my future path.
Making a living in Latvia as a musician isn’t easy. All the prospects opening up to me didn’t satisfy me. So the entrepreneurial spirit woke up in me, and I opened my own business. It was a small newspaper. I received income from placing advertising there. During the time I was touring as a musician, I developed connections and contacts with important people, and this helped me with the newspaper’s development. Afterward, I sold it.
My journey continued as a marketing director at an advertising agency in Riga. Then I held the same position at a large company. However, at the age of 25, I felt that I had reached my climax and that something needed to change.
I made an unexpected decision to move to England. I didn’t know the language, I had no connections, and I started everything from scratch. Within a year, I learned the language and got a job in the migration department. I was a translator and consultant rolled into one. This allowed me to start developing, meet the right people, and subsequently return to the field of marketing that was familiar to me.
Ultimately, my path led me to it.com Domains, where I began to engage in business development, including online positioning of the company, PR, and much more. This gave me a lot of experience in this area, which I can and want to share.
Why did you decide to start IWA?
NJ: At WMF in Italy, it became obvious to me that there are still critically few female startups; their development is slow. I know from my own experience how difficult it’s to create and develop a business, to gather knowledge bit by bit, and to acquire the necessary connections. Therefore, I wanted to help them and to create a place where they can find everything they need: knowledge, the necessary tools for promotion, the right people, and, of course, support.
Why is building a presence and personal brand online so important in business?
NJ: We live in a world of technology, and this is the reality we should accept, with its own rules and laws; you need to know how to play. Anyone who isn’t in the online space doesn’t exist. Our digital footprints are proof of our social existence and should be used wisely.
In the digital age, a strong online presence and a well-crafted personal brand are essential to success. These help you to stand out from competitors, highlighting the best aspects of your business. You can develop and express a unique identity that reflects who you are, what you stand for, and the value you offer.
The IWA assists women in business in the creation of robust digital identities. Our team provides advice on how to efficiently convey one’s unique value propositions, making the business and its founders more attractive to clients and partners.
How exactly does the IWA help women in business?
NJ: The main goal of the IWA is to create a thriving community of women entrepreneurs. We are trying to create an environment for business women where they can develop and improve their skills, gain new knowledge and apply it, build new connections, and expand their businesses.
The IWA provides a comprehensive approach to business development, covering various aspects from technical setup to strategic growth guidance. Our members have access to a wealth of knowledge through tailored business consultancy to efficiently navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship. Also, the IWA aids in establishing and enhancing the personal brands of its members.
We not only educate our members on how to construct a business and cultivate an online brand but also on leveraging digital tools for future utilization. This includes strategies for attracting clients through websites and social media, as well as maximizing online business visibility. We offer comprehensive grant support to assist our members in securing funding for business expansion. Furthermore, the IWA facilitates communication by fostering networking between members and industry experts.
Which partners does the IWA have?
NJ: The IWA collaborates with companies such as it.com Domains and Site.pro to offer our members the best tools to make their businesses successful online. These partners play a vital role in ensuring that our members attract the right kind of attention on the Internet.
After the IWA became a separate entity, it.com Domains didn’t stop supporting it. Now the company, as one of our primary partners, provides its domains to members of the organization. This makes a big contribution to improving online presence.
A crucial aspect of establishing a successful online presence is the careful selection of a domain name and TLD (Top-Level Domain) or domain zone. Therefore, it was important to choose a domain zone for the IWA’s members that could be universal and satisfy all the needs in this sphere.
The choice of it.com Domains for these purposes wasn’t only because the company powered the IWA, but more due to the fact that .it.com zone domains provide the same benefits as the .com zone: recognition, universality in the business sphere, and versatility in usage. However, the choice of domain names in this zone is much more diverse, and they align with the brand and market.
We try to provide the best tools and knowledge for our members, which is why the companies we cooperate with are top in their fields.
Does the IWA organize events for women in business?
NJ: Currently we offer events aimed at training our members to leverage the Internet to enhance their businesses. However, these events are more than mere lectures or masterclasses; they serve as incubators for fostering growth and innovation. They are meticulously curated to deliver maximum value, whether through leadership development, technological insights, or industry-specific knowledge.
The IWA also offers an opportunity to join a variety of local and global conferences and public events, such as the Mobile World Congress and WMF Rimini. One example taking place on December 22nd is The ‘Christmas Tech Talks’ meeting in Riga, where we will discuss tech-related topics and will have an opportunity to network with fellow professionals.
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Expert Opinion, Success Stories
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