Our CSO Dr. Vesna Prchkovska was invited to talk about our startup and the tech life on CODE_n blog as a female pioneer.

Please find her interview below:

I think one of the main reasons for the lower number of women entrepreneurs in this field is that, generally speaking, there are fewer women in tech and science. This might be due to our current educational system. I can recommend this interesting article on the topic. At early stages of development, girls should be building more confidence in their abilities to solve analytical problems. Math is just one example. This should be rooted in our societies and our educational systems. I see these kinds of initiatives happening more and more in Europe, for example, with special grants for helping women develop scientific and tech careers. Of course it’s very difficult to stay competitive with your male colleagues – especially in science – once you have children, since this impacts on the extra hours you can work in the lab, work on scientific papers on the weekends, etc. Just maternity leave alone significantly lowers the frequency at which you can publish compared to your male colleagues, and this really affects your chances of getting grants and continuing with a scientific career. I rarely faced challenges or problems in the past – until I had my daughter. I believe this is because I was exposed to solving analytical problems at very early stage in my life and I have a very supportive and open-minded group of family, friends, and colleagues. However, having a child has been my biggest challenge because it is very difficult to juggle long working hours and a stressful environment with being a good parent. Being an entrepreneur means accepting high levels of stress and long working hours, and this is something very challenging that all women, mothers especially, face in this career field. I haven’t had a mentor but this can be a good idea for getting some advice on balancing work and family life. As for role models for women entrepreneurs, I admire PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi. Raising two daughters and leading such a huge company must be pretty challenging but she is nailing it ;).

Vesna Prchkovska, Ph.D.