Andrea Zanon is a multi-faceted leader, CEO of WeEmpower Capital and Chairman of the WeEmpower Cities Foundation. Working out of Washington D.C. and Rome, Andrea has formed a global network of individuals tied to his organization’s cause and has been gifted with the opportunity of working with global partners across over 20 countries. His work at WeEmpower Capital exercises his financial abilities, as this specialized advisory firm forms strategic partnerships in order to close the knowledge gap that currently exists in investment banking. Andrea leads this role with a curated perspective from experience in global markets, market analysis, mergers and acquisitions and ESG.
Having discovered the need for mentors throughout his entrepreneurial career, Andrea Zanon recognizes that not every equipped individual has this network open and available to them. This recognition inspired him to become one of the first to start a promotion investment for female entrepreneurs. Upon starting the WeEmpower Cities Foundation in 2017, his prime goal was and still is to provide women around the world with the tools, early-stage capital, networking and mentorship needed to succeed in their varying markets. Now holding partnerships with hundreds of global investors, the foundation has successfully operated in 14 countries and has helped over 10,000 female entrepreneurs.
With an active hand in the global market, Andrea Zanon is equipped with language and communication skills to accomplish a number of tasks. His language repertoire includes Spanish, Portuguese, native Italian, English and French. Andrea’s career has taken him as far as to work in 13 Middle Eastern countries, African markets and various locations across Latin America. His worldwide recognition earned him a Clean Tech accolade from the President of Italy, an award as a Project Manager from World Bank and honors in Big Data Analytics from World Bank. He has also development risk management strategies for 15 countries are mobilized investments of over US$ 10 billion.
Andrea’s career has given him a diverse realm of responsibilities, his expertise lying most heavily in technology and business strategy. He keeps a steady eye on the rapidly changing technology landscape, especially in how they apply to international markets. His specific technology interests include automation investment, space, robotics, aerospace and digital finance.
Paired with his knack for technology is a passion for climate investments.. Andrea Zanon, like many others, has recognized the toll of climate change on humanity, as well as the simultaneous toll of humanity on climate change. As a result of this double-edged sword of responsibility and blame, Andrea has spent nearly two decades as the Founder and Vice President of Earth Council Italia. Through this cause, he was able to raise upwards of $15 billions for climate change and resilience investments projects via Multilateral Banks, the Clinton Foundation and the United Nations. His global efforts and philanthropic endeavors have enabled him to raise millions of dollars for various other projects, one being the development of a health application for the betterment of doctor-patient relationships in Africa and the Middle East.
Andrea’s diverse involvements and career endeavors have been nothing short of inspirational. If interested in staying updated with his latest associations and blogs, follow his Medium.
Where did the idea for WeEmpower Capital come from?
The inspiration came from my impact investment done to help women led companies globally. We wanted to create a financial institution of the future that leveraged technology, invested in partnership while promoting women entrepreneurs. As our impact grew globally, We Empower Capital, became a stronger player in stakeholder capitalism: alpha-generation and capital preservation guided by our principals of improving environmental, social, and governance. The key clients that we have partnered with are both public (Like sovereign wealth funds), or private (Robotic, Space, Green Energy and Wellness startup), and Sport’s team come to us for our strong focus on impact and inclusive investment, resiliency and emerging technologies insight.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
We are super selective in choosing our clients and this makes us very nimble, so we don’t have any bureaucracy affecting our daily business operations. We focus every day on maximizing partnership returns on 2-3 clients aiming to convert any business relations into a shareholding partnership.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Developing a deep understanding of clients and partners needs and concerns. This is done by prioritizing the listening and treating your interlocutor as a partner whereby their problems become our top corporate priority. This often translates in being willing to start working for a new client before any contract has been agreed upon. In my 25 years experience, this has given me a higher payment result as I am able to show my impact before the contracts are finalized.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am really excited how the climate crisis is finally shaping up and giving corporations and the capital markets a much bigger role to play through Environmental Social and Governance (ESG). I believe We Empower Capital is well positioned to bank on this trend as we come from over 20 years of climate strategy development and impact investment leadership having invested in over 1000 sustainable companies across 14 countries.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Focus on building incremental positive momentum every day by planning your day so that you can put the positive action, the interesting interactions, and the joy generation action ahead of everything else. When I spend 4 hours on these positive actions, it is easier to problem solve and to say no to toxic people and energy.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t listen to the noise, and don’t worry too much about deadlines as these are mostly artificial and they rarely generate the consequences they claim.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Celebrate failure and integrate it in your decision making progress to seek feedback for your growth. When you this you gain more tools and prospective which ultimately allows you to be resilient during crisis while being able to innovate.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Build partnership and always put people first no matter what the cost. If the people you work with perceive this is your value add, they will be your client for life.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Be willing to work in areas that nobody else was willing to try. At We Empower Capital we worked in high risk countries, where terrorism and security was challenging and where most companies stayed away because it was to risky. Instead of building short term revenues, we focused on building long term trust which resulted in a very profitable partnership. As I said in several of the previous questions, we invested in partnership development and believed that long term impact would come.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Create a business in the Wellness, Longevity and Nutrition sector as this is a segment of the economy that will expand rapidly. I would focus on resolving problems around the mental health space via digital means. This is a fast growing segment of the health space as the covid 19 crisis have created a lot of anxiety and mental stress.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would advise any entrepreneur interested in the health sector to focus on solutions that help alleviate and improve mental health. Covid19 has transformed the way we work and interact with people resulting in increased anxiety and mental health across the board. Just to give you a data point, in 2022 the broader wellness and longevity sector is expected to be about 1.5 $ trillion and mental health is going to capture a big chunk of that revenue. Time to act on this opportunity while doing something good for the future of society and work.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Investing in a good book like Meditations of Marcus Aurelius’, and practicing daily mediation. This actually cost only $20.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
It is called Oura, and it is a wearable technology a type of health tracker that monitors vital signs such as heart rate, steps, readiness and body temperature. It’s different from other trackers because it’s worn on your finger like a ring rather than on your wrist and it is a game changers as it gives you daily analytics to gain full control of your life and happiness.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed on Your Own Terms. This book had an important impact in my life because the author is also an everyday entrepreneur and someone that went through the ropes in order to succeed. In this book the author teaches you how to reach mental “bulletproof status” though impactful and simple action that puts yourself at the top of the decision making. In other words, he taught me how to become “unfuckwithable”.
What is your favorite quote?
These three quotes are those that allowed me to succeed as entrepreneur, an become the best version of myself:
1) When fear is defined it can be defeated
2) When you truly don’t care what everyone thinks of you, you have reached an awesome level of freedom and
3) Sometime we make the wrong choices to get to the right places
- Never be afraid to fail – failure provides the best lessons
- Be selective about how you work, and make adjustments as need
- Focus on building incremental positive momentum every day by planning your day so that you can put the positive action, the interesting interactions, and the joy generation action ahead of everything else
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.