Candida Brush is the Vice Chancellor for Global Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College, one of the world's top-ranked entrepreneurship schools. Brush was in Costa Rica, at the Euro-American Women Leaders Conference, organized by INCAE and Voces Vitales.

She has been researching women for more than 35 years and believes that entrepreneurship is the best way to create social and economic value.

Why is this the best way?

Well, it's not the only thing to do. It's not just about educating people, it doesn't just work in the hope that people are going to learn an entrepreneurial mindset. There has to be a change in policy. There has to be government policies and programs. You have to have business support and you have to have an ecosystem that supports entrepreneurial thinking and progress. It's really about economic progress, social and economic wealth creation; that's what we're talking about.

In addition, it is clear that innovation and technology are needed.

Can you learn to be an entrepreneur?

First of all, being an entrepreneur does not necessarily mean starting a business. It's about the actions that everyone takes. I can be an entrepreneur in a non-profit organization, I can be an entrepreneur in a large corporation. I can identify a situation. So being an entrepreneur is not just starting a business, that's the narrow definition.

The second aspect is that in Latin America people tend to be self-employed, probably for years. They also have small businesses, but they never think about the fact that they can be entrepreneurs, adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and see how they grow and expand those businesses. Part of this is due to a lack of understanding of this mindset because entrepreneurship was defined very narrowly before.

Only 22% of SMEs in Latin America are in the hands of women Is it important to be concerned about female entrepreneurship?

It's important to talk about them because we haven't done it. If you think about most of what we know, the proposals, the steps in most textbooks, it all comes from research on men. So how do we know it's the right approach for all entrepreneurs? You also can't just talk about male entrepreneurs when 50% of the population is female. You have to consider them both.

Interview published by Estrategia & Negocios magazine, issue N°206