24th January 2024

A company with an impact in digital technology!

Marina, co-founder of WIDE ANDCO, has always been passionate about entrepreneurship. After learning to code, she realised there was a real need to train women in this field. Using digital technology to innovate and create a positive impact is one of her objectives. WIDE ANDCO obtained Societal Impact Company status at the beginning of 2022 and the adventure of this company has only just begun. Happy reading!

Meet Marina

I am Marina, co-founder of WIDE ANDCO, a social impact company, building on the 10 years of experience I acquired with the non-profit organisation WIDE (Women in Digital Empowerment).

With a Master's degree in Economics, Human Resources and Change Management, I'm passionate about entrepreneurship and convinced that it's the best way to build the life you want and have a positive influence.

The idea of creating a business

I think I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. At the age of 32, I thought, it’s time to start!

In 2013, I decided to learn how to code and realised that there was a real need to train women in this field.

What motivates me the most: using digital technology to innovate and create a positive impact for thousands of people, especially women.

The stages of business creation

My beginnings in social entrepreneurship

The WIDE-adventure is quite unusual as I initially began working as a volunteer. From the launch in 2013, we realised that there was real potential to be developed and I finally became a salaried director three years later. The journey was already very entrepreneurial, as we always had to source our own income and develop new projects. In 2021, we decided to evolve by transforming our non-profit organisation into a social impact company (SIS – Société d’Impact Sociétal). We received approval from the Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de l'Économie sociale et solidaire in early 2022. I was delighted to finally become a “social entrepreneur”.

Surrounding yourself with the right people

Networking is very important in our activities. We place value on collaboration in our projects, whether in Luxembourg or in Europe. But it’s not just about being seen – you must demonstrate your seriousness and credibility. We are fortunate to have the support of partners who trust us.

With the transformation into a SIS, our model has become hybrid. We still apply for grants for some of our programmes, but we now also sell services to customers. It’s a very different marketing and sales approach. In any case, the key to success lies in building quality relationships, as well as demonstrating patience and perseverance, because the pay-off for all this is long term.

Ensuring the sustainability of projects

The main challenge of a social enterprise is to ensure the continuity of its model while remaining aligned with its values and its approach to creating impact for society.
We continue to carry out projects serving the public interest, with a focus on education and awareness of digital and STEM skills among a variety of audiences, particularly women and young people.
Thanks to our partners and funders, we offer a large part of these activities free of charge, a model close to our hearts, but for sure not the easiest. 

Nevertheless, we want to develop new activities based on a different model by offering our services to new customers to whom we can bring real added value. Our intention is to involve women who are undergoing a reconversion process in the implementation of new projects, particularly by using no-code tools.

With the Impact Web Studio, we are putting ourselves at the service of entrepreneurs and impact projects in order to develop websites and web applications

Marina Andrieu

The challenges of business development

The most difficult thing to manage is uncertainty, especially as we operate on a project-by-project basis. Our costs are mainly staff related: it is very satisfying to have a growing team, but having to pay everyone at the end of the month can be stressful sometimes.

I am aware more than ever of the importance of controlling fixed costs and keeping track of cash flow. We need to be constantly looking for development opportunities. I think that if we do this seriously, it pays off at some point. My greatest pride is to lead a social enterprise that has a positive impact while being economically viable. And, finally, having a very good, stable, and committed team is clearly a driving force for an adventure like ours...

Marina’s advice for future entrepreneurs

  • Be pragmatic and optimistic.

  • Listen to advice but make your own decisions.

  • Accept that you can never know everything, sometimes you must find your way as you go along.

  • Have confidence in your ability to find solutions and bounce back quickly!

Marina and her bank

We are a Spuerkeess customer, currently only using simple services, and I use web banking a lot. The company’s account was set up quite quickly.

If we have projects that require bank financing in the future, I will turn to Spuerkeess before anyone else!

Nyuko has signed a partnership with Spuerkeess, in order to foster entrepreneurial spirit and strengthening the bank's position with company founders from the start of their businesses. More info in our article: https://www.spuerkeess.lu/en/blog/experts-corner/nyuko-fostering-entrepreneurial-spirit/.