When Sandra Correia returned from the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) “A New Beginning: Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation” (ANB), she knew she wanted to do more to inspire others in her home country of Portugal to pursue their entrepreneurial goals. Her IVLP program had aimed to deepen ties between entrepreneurs in the U.S. and those around the world, and Sandra returned to her country with new ideas for growing businesses, accessing markets, and job creation in her community.
Inspired by her own experience and hoping to share it with other aspiring entrepreneurs in Portugal, Sandra launched “A New Beginning for Portugal” (ANBFP) two years after her return. The project provides networking opportunities, business skills training, and mentoring to motivate people to pursue entrepreneurial goals and grow their businesses, especially needed during Portugal’s economic crisis. Through the ANBFP project, Sandra has helped small business owners succeed in growing their businesses by connecting them with experienced mentors and leading with motivation and energy.
In addition to leading the ANBFP project, Sandra continues to grow her own business as CEO of Pelcor, the leading designer and producer of eco-friendly cork skin fashion accessories in Portugal, and increasingly in international markets. As a result of her work, Sandra was recently honored with the “Best International Business Woman Award” at the 2015 International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Conference held in Istanbul, November 15-18. Based in New York City, IWEC was founded in 2007 to develop a global business network for successful women business owners, helping them gain and expand access to international markets.
Despite being an award-winning international business woman, Sandra remains committed to helping other entrepreneurs in Portugal and around the world. She recently served as a guest speaker at the American Corner in Lisbon for a global webcast of “Raising Capital: Trends and Innovations.” She spoke not only to a live audience in Lisbon, but also to alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs around the world.
Sandra’s work with ANBFP and other initiatives serves as a testament to her dedication to help change the lives of the people in Portugal and around the world and build a better future. As she learned from her exchange program, by traveling with 26 entrepreneurs from all over the world, “we shared our knowledge, culture, business vision, mentoring, and entrepreneurship, but most of all that we were ONE. Our culture, age, skin color, or language did not matter; what mattered was that we are all entrepreneurs, we learn and make it happen!” Sandra is continuing to "make it happen" not only for herself, but also to the countless Portuguese entrepreneurs she has inspired through her projects.