Boryana Tuzharova and Anna Yaramboykova are the Founders of International Women Connected which has over 50K members. IWC is a digital and real-life Business Relationship Platform which brings together women of all nationalities, business and educational backgrounds, cultures and experience. This is a dedicated space for women from both entrepreneurial and corporate backgrounds.
How did you start your business?
I woke up one day and I called Anna. We were already working together in the coaching industry, had organised several events for UK based coaches in Bulgaria and had already settled our business goals together. At that time, I was living in Istanbul. So I called her and I told her how I see this amazing platform working and she liked the idea and jumped in. I never had to explain too much. It was quite a short phone call. We started from scratch and spent thousands of hours on the phone. We are on a mission to connect women globally. At a time when coming together is more important than ever, we are now uniting over 50K women all over the world.
Why did you start your business?
Our business was founded out of a need. I left my home country at the age of 21 with my husband and we were an expatriate family. We had to change countries and while he had his working environment, I had to adjust alone. International Women Connected Ltd was born from that struggle – I was living abroad in Turkey, newly married, with two young children, without friends or a support system, and I struggled to not yearn for the thriving life I had enjoyed back home. So, after struggling to find a female support system and understanding that I was not alone in this experience, I joined forces with my university friend Anna, who I had been working with for a while and together we founded IWConnected.com as the first social network exclusively for women, selected by location and occupation. Initially, International Women Connected was for women in a similar position to us, perhaps struggling with the social aspect of being an expat, however, we soon realised this concept could be used to enhance business across borders. International Women Connected is underpinned by a belief in women supporting women, whether that be socially or in business. This is for women who want their voice to not only be heard, but be understood.
What challenges have you faced along the way?
Oh many! However, the biggest challenge was to prove the business model would work and to find people who would form the team. In the beginning everything was based on goodwill. No payments, no cash in the company at all. We were only investing for quite some time. It was a challenge not to give up.
How do you fit work in around being a mum?
Being a mum of two girls shaped and inspired me to the most. I realise these two girls will have a lot of challenges in the future being females, no matter which country they will live in, or what careers they chose. Creating a platform of powerful women is also for them, and for all little girls out there, who will be the new leaders of tomorrow. My daughters are very proud of what I do, they get involved already. They know this is important and they cooperate. I am lucky to have them on board.
What advice would you give your younger self?
- To be more confident and to trust your gut.
- Not to try to please everyone.
- We are all the same but in different ways.
What’s next for you at IWD?
We are uniting over 50K women all over the world and we hope to continue to grow and grow – I dream of having IWC representatives in every big city around the world. I dream of having confident, powerful women to jump on board and add value to what we do. I also dream of acknowledgement and IWC changing the game for females across borders.
We can achieve a lot if we stick together. Visibility matters, because it enables us to deliver an important message. Each woman’s message can help someone’s development, can empower and develop someone’s business or save another woman’s life. We want women to be heard, to be known and to be visible.