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Ruta Aidis

Women have been innovating alongside men, yet their innovations have largely remained overlooked or discounted, often because the innovation has been less disruptive or has focused on female-dominated activities such as services and household production. But historically, even when innovative activity by women has been disruptive, it has often gone unnoticed. This chapter takes a closer look at three highly successful innovative female entrepreneurs in Latin America. The chapter analyses the case of Leila Velez in Brazil, co-founder and CEO of Beleza Natural, an innovative beauty institute chain. It analyses the case of Maria Claudia Mendez in Bolivia, founder of Origenes Bolivia, which specializes in creating upmarket fashion and household accessories made from alpaca and other natural fibres. It also analyses the case of Carolina Guerra in Colombia, co-founder of Ingerecuperar, a hazardous waste treatment and recycling company. By exploring their business developments, the chapter uncovers some of the gendered impediments that exist for innovative women in the Latin American context. Some of the examples are universal, while others are clearly linked to the specificities of the Latin American environment.

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Zoltán J. Ács, László Szerb, Raquel Ortega-Argilés, Ruta Aidis and Alicia Coduras