Nerea Achucarro

CO2mpensamos – Nerea Achucarro

They calculate the € value of your CO2 emissions for you to donate to NGO projects in the areas most affected by climate change.

  1. How did you get started in the world of entrepreneurship?

I started CO2mpensamos as a way to solve social and environmental problems that were not being addressed or paid attention to.

After several years working in various NGOs, both in Spain and in other countries, I realised that small NGOs that develop local projects, with few resources but a lot of impact, find it difficult to receive funding for their maintenance because they do not have the economic or human resources to devote to marketing or the search for funding.

  1. What is it like to be a woman entrepreneur?

There are several words that define day-to-day life very well: uncertainty, perseverance, passion, purpose, resilience, roller coaster, and alliances. Entrepreneurship is not easy, few things in life that are really worthwhile are.

It involves waking up every day convinced that you are working for something good, beyond yourself, but that you don’t know if it will work out, or which is the way to achieve your purpose. You are often afraid of making the wrong decision, but it is very important to have a good team, which in my case is already my friends and family.

  1. What drives you to become an entrepreneur?

The confidence that things can change and improve. The certainty that this project is necessary, that it makes sense and that it will change many realities.

I wanted to give visibility to a problem that until now has not had it and it is very important because let’s remember that nobody chooses where and how they are born, nor often where they live. There are people in countries that are suffering dramatic situations because of climate change to which they have not contributed.

If you ask me about the origin of my “entrepreneurial restlessness”, I would tell you that it comes from my parents.

  1. What is the greatest difficulty?

Entrepreneurship in itself is complicated, but social entrepreneurship is even more so. I mean that your business model is not designed solely to make a profit, in fact, in my case, when I started I didn’t even know how I was going to make a living from it.

The company is set up to generate as much social and environmental impact as possible, to offer a new and fair way to offset the carbon footprint by serving those who suffer most from the consequences of climate change, but there are also a number of expenses, a team to maintain. Without this, nothing works.

  1. Do you think it is easy to find opportunities across geographical borders?

I know many NGO colleagues who, after spending many years with their headquarters in Spain, have decided to move their headquarters to other countries and they have done much better, they have received more financial support that has allowed them to continue developing their activity, sometimes in Spain. Other countries are much more supportive of social initiatives like this one.

At CO2mpensamos we have tried to ask banks for loans and on many occasions they were not prepared to receive applications for this type of project that seeks a social purpose beyond economic profitability.

  1. Do you think that one of the greatest difficulties for women entrepreneurs is access to finance? What recommendations can you give to someone who is starting out in business?

It is undoubtedly one of the biggest difficulties. To tell you the truth, and although there are already people who have wanted to offset their carbon footprint with us, we are still at that point where, if the project doesn’t start to work, that is, if individuals and companies don’t start to trust in this way of offsetting, in a few months I don’t know what will happen. The reason for this is that so far I have had my own funds to launch the project and we have launched the famous FFF round.

I recommend having your own funds so that, if things don’t go as planned and you really trust your idea, you bet on it first. I also recommend that you make up your mind that it will be difficult but not impossible, be constant, knock on a thousand doors and tell everyone about your idea, if it is good and makes sense, sooner or later the numbers will come out.

  1. Do you think it is important to have female role models? Who is your role model?

I think it is very important. Knowing that someone has already been where you are, that despite your fears there are other women who have made it, gives you the strength to keep going. I strongly recommend that you find out about other women who have started out, each in her own field.

And listen to their interviews, their fears, their mistakes and how they have solved them. This, apart from empowering and making you proud because you share something in common, gives you a lot of strength.

My two references would say that they are, on the one hand (and she already knows it well) Arancha Martínez: founder of It-willbe and co-founder of Comgo and on the other, Alejandra Acosta: co-founder of Break the Silence. Both are two examples of resilience and commitment to a cause.