20 February, 2024

Empowering women, navigating challenges, and becoming an entrepreneur in Greece
Read the inspiring story of Ioanna Fotopoulou, a young entrepreneur from Greece.

This is the story of Ioanna, a young entrepreneur who embarked on her journey in the business world at the age of 19. Despite some hurdles at first, Ioanna harnessed her experiences to eventually become the driving force behind three thriving ventures. On her popular Social Media channels, she has also become a trusted voice for people seeking her financial tips on investing and saving. In this interview, Ioanna discusses how she started her enterprises and the challenges she faced as a female entrepreneur. She shares valuable insights on empowering women in the entrepreneurial landscape, emphasising the significance of education and patience.

  • Could you share information about your background and personal history?

I am Ioanna Fotopoulou, also known as Ioanna Fo. I started my first company when I was 19 years old. It was a company that created a software that aimed to tackle tax evasion in Greece. The project did not succeed; however, it was one of the best failures of my life and which I am always grateful for experiencing. I learned so much and this experience paved the way for my next entrepreneurial endeavours. Generally, in my life, I love the motto: Failing Forward! After that company, I used the software to create another company that I exited three years later. And then, after the exit, I built up three more companies. Now I run one of them on my own (WeCommerce) and have partners in the other two. It has been an interesting journey so far.

  • What inspired you to start your companies, and how did the concept for your businesses originate?

I knew I wanted to learn something new in my work every day. Also, I easily get bored, so entrepreneurship was the only way for me. It took me some time to realise this because wanting to be an entrepreneur in Greece through this devastating financial turmoil and the financial crisis was a big risk. But, after I accepted the fact that this is who I am, I started working towards building up my companies! Of course, it was not easy. It is still not easy today. But it is what it is! This is me! I accept it and move on! And this is what businesses are all about, moving and never stopping! And I love it!

  • In what ways does intellectual property align with your business objectives and goals?

Well, the brands we create are really important. We do our best to make the names and the logos of our companies a success. So, I would say protecting your brand is the right way to go! Because otherwise all the resources and the time commitment that goes into building a brand, and also customer loyalty around it, is in vain. Also, your brand must be strong before you can expand your company to the European level, to attract investors or partners, or even to exit the company!

“Your brand must be strong before you can expand your company to the European level, to attract investors or partners, or even to exit the company!”


  • Which IP rights do you have? Ηow did you find out what intellectual property was, and how did you learn about what you needed to do in order to protect your business(es)/brand?

I found out about IP rights when I started my second business. The commotion was huge and I started reading about brands, brand loyalty and how much each brand is worth (just the brand – without the stock or the performance of the company). It was there that I realised that your brand is something you need to protect, support and engage with. And it was super crucial for me since I was in the beginning stages of my company’s growth and this knowledge gave me an edge – especially in the consulting business I was in.

  • As a female entrepreneur, have you encountered any particular challenges, and how do you deal with them?

Well, yes. There were some people who thought I was the secretary of my own company in some cases. But other than that, I think that all entrepreneurs face a lot of difficulties. It is harsh out there. Thank God for the internet, which gives us access to a lot of free or relatively cheap resources and the ability to connect with other individuals around the globe to share best practices and blueprints.

  • What measures do you believe can be taken to empower and inspire female entrepreneurs?

Well, it all starts with education and schooling! It is important to tell our girls that they can be CEOs. They can be entrepreneurs, they can be businesswomen. They can be mathematicians, engineers – or anything they want basically.

  • What advice would you give to other aspiring female innovators contemplating setting up their own businesses?

To be patient. This is still the most challenging aspect for me. Patience is the key to success in business. It takes time, there is no such thing as overnight success. I thought that if I worked more or more effectively, or in a different way, that I would succeed faster. This is not the case. It takes time, like everything in life. So, you have to believe that you are on the right path. And you have to always correct your course but also stay the course! And, magically, one day you will be there and you won’t believe it.

  • What are the skills necessary for any entrepreneurs, especially women, to be successful in their entrepreneurial journey?

Well, soft skills are more important than hard skills in my opinion. Unless you are a doctor or an engineer (you get my point) then soft skills like effective communication or adaptability are what is needed to survive in the jungle of entrepreneurship. Also, you need to have empathy to be able to support your team when needed. And you also need to know when to ask for support when you feel you cannot do it on your own. We tend to forget that ‘leaders’ are not only always there to support others. A true leader is someone who understands the importance of asking for help while still being part of the team – even if you are the leader of that team.

  • What are your future aspirations? Where do you envision your business ten years from now?

Well, hopefully we will dominate our field in Greece, and we will penetrate at least 10 European countries. We are in the sector of finance, and it is a field that will grow like it has always grown in the past. It is a growing part of today’s modern society – and we are lucky to be part of it! I want to know that my business has helped as many people as possible to put their finances in order, and also to reach their financial independence!