15 questions to ...
15 Questions to …is a new interview series dedicated to spotlighting women in entrepreneurship. Women entrepreneurs question the status quo and lead change. They push boundaries and leave their marks on all aspects of (entrepreneurial) life. As such, they are strong role models who inspire and empower future generations of women and deserve to be seen and heard. We see women entrepreneurs in all areas of our community and want to make sure they are recognised far beyond the RWTH Aachen University ecosystem.
Therefore, we are leaving the stage to hear what they have to say. The format is simple: 15 questions, 15 answers – and lots of (un)learning throughout. Our guests: women entrepreneurs with that special can-do and will-do attitude. The stage is yours!
Susana Gomez is Managing Director, CMO and co-founder of Not Just A Jewel, a young lifestyle start-up offering the first IoT-enabled jewelry bracelet including loud and silent alarm functions for personal safety on the market. With their innovative accessories based on state-of-the-art technology, Susana and her co-founders want to help people feel safe and empowered. To realize their idea, the team successfully applied for the EXIST Business Start-up Grant via RWTH Aachen University in early 2021. Founded in April this year, Not Just A Jewel participated in the Fall Batch 2021 of the RWTH Incubation Program to get their business off the ground. In this interview, Susana walks us through her entrepreneurial journey.
1) Why my idea is going to change the world:
80 % of all women feel unsafe in everyday situations, e.g., while walking home alone at night. Our vision is to sustainably strengthen the feeling of freedom, independence, and safety by combining state-of-the-art technology with stylish accessories and thus making a strong stand against violence. We want to contribute to a new level of awareness on our path to real cultural change.
2) Did I choose it or did it choose me?
It chose me. The idea just popped up in my head the moment I thought about the problem, and since then it never let me go again.
3) Biggest challenge on my entrepreneurial journey so far:
The biggest challenge was to find a team to make my idea become real. And I managed to find the best team ever and I am more than proud of what the four of us have achieved together so far.
4) Lessons I have learned as a founder:
Teamwork, network, and your first hero customers are the most valuable assets you can have as a founder.
5) How did I finance myself? (Business Model)
I financed myself in the first few months of research and team recruiting until we successfully applied for our first grant. After that, we applied for the EXIST Business Start-up Grant via RWTH Aachen University, and were able to found our GmbH and get our first investors on board.
6) 5 years from now we will …
run an internationally well-known brand for innovative smart accessories that improve our users’ lives.
7) If I weren’t a founder, I would be …
a freelancer who can choose inspiring projects to work for.
8) What do I need to be a successful entrepreneur?
A good team and a strong network.
9) RWTH Innovation helped me with/through ...
their network, expert time, and advice.
10) Is there anything more that could be done for entrepreneurs in Aachen?
More in-person events. ;) But we all know that this is hopefully possible in the future again.
11) 3 reasons to become an entrepreneur:
To realize new solutions for solving real problems
Freedom and independence of creating your own ideas of how you would love to work
To learn every day beyond your own expertise
12) To me being an entrepreneur means …
living my dream of building a sustainable and economic venture with a social impact.
13) My favourite digital tool:
14) I am inspired by/my role model is ...
15) My advice to women who aspire to be entrepreneurs:
Nothing is impossible! If you cannot do something or think of a possible solution, search for the person who can help you do it. You will find much more support than you will have ever dreamed of. Just get started!