My name is Joana and I am from Portugal. I just landed in Switzerland, doing an internship with 7Generations in Bern. I would describe myself as a person addicted to 80s music and 90s movies. I love to express myself through collages and relax with the joy of surfing.
As a 22 year old, I find myself always trying to keep up with adulthood, future career expectations and trying not to lose myself in the between.
What always gave me security was the passion for organization and planning projects that were close to my heart. It ensured me a sense of control of the unknown and I recognized it as a skill I am good at. Being a former business graduate, the role of finance came as an obvious path and the perfect match for my needs and passions.
I’ve recently come to realize that in my academic years, what I studied is far different from the daily challenges that blossom from current business models used today. Learning the traditional financial structure was not enough and I felt limited and afraid to be sucked into the system of a monotonous life.
Talking with one of my professors, he explained how the master programme was fully designed for the 99% of the students that wanted to go to the corporate world. From there it surfaced, my need to break the pattern, and with that questions and challenges arrived. What is the road less travelled by opening up to?
I started to research emerging and new trends in the finance market and what lightened up was the entrepreneurial ecosystem. More than breaking through the corporate mindset into a more entrepreneurial approach to finance, what also caught my attention was how there was a whole new paradigm of alternative finance.
From here, I knew I had not only to propose my own master thesis theme but that I also needed to go to the heart of the matter. After long months searching for internship opportunities, I was finally able to connect with 7Generations and come to Switzerland, one of the biggest hubs of startups, R&D and finance development and a frontrunner when it comes to sustainable and regenerative development and growth in business, education and organizational development.
But why 7Generations? Besides aligning with my core values and an open work environment that I´ve always been keen on, I developed a curiosity for the regenerative mindset and the circular economy model. I knew I wanted to include these thematics in my thesis, but little did I know that I was just touching the surface of the water before diving deep. At this point of my journey, I’ve called the master theme as “Alternative Finance Solutions in the Capital Structure of Swiss Startups”, and to quote my professor, to be one of the 1%.
So far my research and findings have led me to recognize that there is a considerable gap on access to funding for Startups.
The market answer presented itself as the alternative finance solutions and so, this study aims to understand the triggers and motivations that lead to the adoption of these kinds of solutions such as crowdfunding, venture capital or even business angels. However, to what extent can these financial decisions progress into a long term sustainable and regenerative growth for the company?
As we dive deep into the funding constraints in the swiss market and information availability, this gap expands further when tackling the difficulty for social entrepreneurship to get funding, and for investors who don´t know how, where or who to invest in. There is an urge to grow into a more sustainable system with impact investing being the main driver, but the bridge between these two participants is still not built.
As of right now, I´m preparing a workshop to share my learnings and seeings in collaboration with 7Generations with their expertise from the last 25 years in these fields of start-up support that unfolds one simple question
The goal is to have a wholistic view on a more inclusive, sustainable and regenerative financial support system for startups, by presenting where we came from, where we are now and where we want to go in the future. There will be a moment to explore the research outputs gathered from the ongoing interviews and networking. Will I see you there?
27th January, 14-17.30 CET / Swiss time
at 7Generations, Innovationsdorf Bern
Participation fee: CHF 80.-(students 50.-)
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Link to my university in Porto and the exchange program that allows me to be here in Bern is organized by the University of Fribourg: