In the tech world, where bright minds converge to shape the future, Raluca Ioana Man stands out not just for her entrepreneurial spirit but for her commitment to lifting women in the industry.
First and foremost, personal branding is becoming increasingly important; it helps you gain trust, attract opportunities and stand out
Founder of the Business Society Accelerator and several other ventures, Raluca brings a rare blend of strategic insight and a deep passion for mentorship to the table.
With academic credentials in international business to boot, she’s more than equipped to lead; she’s dedicated to inspirin

Could you share the genesis story of the Business Society Accelerator? What inspired you to focus also on women entrepreneurs in the tech industry?

Certainly! The Business Society Accelerator (BSA) was conceived to provide a trio of unique platforms: a curated network offering general support, a specialised platform for small and medium – sized enterprises (SMEs) and an “Elite Membership” for decision-makers with influence to enact significant changes. One of BSA’s core aims is to bolster SMEs both locally and globally.

Noticing a gap in support for small business owners and solo entrepreneurs, BSA was designed as a nurturing ecosystem.

We offer curated content and access to successful business owners, industry leaders, academic experts and government officials.

Our focus particularly sharpens on the technology sector, notably on women in tech. This emphasis arose from recognising the distinct challenges women face in this field. By fostering an inclusive environment, we are committed to helping women entrepreneurs achieve their utmost potential. At BSA, we hold the conviction that no challenge is too great when tackled collectively.

Throughout your career, you have been a staunch supporter of women in tech. What are the most significant barriers you’ve observed that women face in this sector and how does your work aim to dismantle these?

From my experiences, I’ve observed several significant barriers. A pervasive one is gender bias and stereotypes, leading to women being undervalued or overlooked for leadership roles.

Moreover, there’s a noticeable lack of visibility and mentorship for women, which complicates their navigation and advancement in the tech field.

Another significant barrier is achieving a work-life balance, which disproportionately affects women, particularly those managing both professional and family commitments. This can curtail their career advancement and contribute to a higher dropout rate from the tech sector.

Organisations like Women in Tech Cyprus and Tech Island are laudable for their networking opportunities and community-building through special events and initiatives. For instance, the “Advocate for Yourself” programme empowers women to take charge of their careers.

Additionally, the upcoming Women in STEM Forum in September 2024 is something I’m thrilled to promote and participate in.

Another successful project was “The Future Startup Founders Programme,” launched by the Cyprus Computer Society and led by Neofytos Xenofontos and Panis Pieri, with whom I collaborated as a trainer. This programme is an excellent example of community engagement, mentorship and growth opportunities.

My mission extends beyond just professional development. I believe in creating a society where everyone has equal access to opportunity, training and drive, without bias or judgment. We can make significant progress toward gender equality in technology and beyond by addressing these challenges cooperatively and using the power of the community.

As the founder of multiple enterprises and initiatives, you’ve likely faced numerous challenges. What has been your biggest hurdle as a female entrepreneur in the tech industry and how did you overcome it?

My journey has been fraught with challenges. Interestingly, my most daunting challenge wasn’t breaking through the glass ceiling in a predominantly male industry, but rather navigating the competitive landscape and fostering trust and coordination among women.

I advocate for creating a welcoming environment and acknowledging that collective success often requires diverse perspectives, including those of men in decision-making positions.

To surmount these challenges, I employed several strategies that spurred my growth:

1. Focus on demonstrating abilities and knowledge to establish a strong personal brand and garner industry respect.

2. Seeking mentorship from seasoned professionals and investors has been pivotal, providing invaluable insights and navigation through the business landscape.

3. Networking in supportive communities is crucial. Regular demonstration of capability and seizing opportunities to promote oneself are key.

Po Bronson rightly said, “There’s a profound transforming effect when you surround yourself with like-minded people. Peer pressure is beneficial when it motivates you to achieve your goals rather than diverting you from them.”

This perseverance not only helped me start my enterprises but also inspired me to promote other women in technology, resulting in a more inclusive environment for future female entrepreneurs.

My journey exemplifies the importance of resilience, strategic networking and mentorship in overcoming industry boundaries. By turning challenges into opportunities, we can make tremendous progress in the technology sector while also fighting for greater gender equality and supportive cultures in the tech industry and beyond.

Given your role in shaping industry trends as the G100 Country Chair for Brand Creation and Marketing, what key trends should women entrepreneurs be aware of now?

As the G100 Country Chair for Brand Creation and Marketing, I’d like to highlight several key trends that are crucial for female entrepreneurs today.

First and foremost, personal branding is becoming increasingly important; it helps you gain trust, attract opportunities and stand out. Sustainability and social responsibility are also key, as consumers favour businesses that engage in sustainable practices and show social responsibility.

Embracing inclusive leadership can spur creativity and improve decision-making while adapting to the rise of remote work can enhance work-life balance and productivity. Understanding and anticipating customer needs is vital, as is keeping abreast of technological advancements like 5G, IoT and AI, which open up new growth and innovation opportunities.

The transition to human-centred manufacturing, known as Industry 5.0, is reshaping industrial processes. Initiatives like the EU’s Industry 5.0 Strategy and Japan’s Society 5.0 Initiative are paving the way for this transition.

Finally, the global economic environment is changing, as emerging markets reshape the dynamics. Keeping up with efforts such as China’s economic initiatives might help you uncover new opportunities and manage the shifting global economy.

Women entrepreneurs should position themselves for success in today’s dynamic business environment by staying on top of current developments and adjusting their strategies accordingly.

What advice would you give to young women starting their careers in technology or entrepreneurship based on the lessons you’ve learned throughout your career?

To young women who go on board careers in technology or entrepreneurship, my advice is to embrace resilience and build supportive networks. Continuously showcase your abilities and knowledge to develop a robust personal brand. Let your genuine work speak for itself and ensure your skills are acknowledged.

Seek mentorship from those who share your goal and can offer valuable guidance. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or assistance, as mentorship is an important tool for navigating your career path. Networking strategically is also important. Surround yourself with like-minded people and supportive communities. Networking is more than just making connections; it’s about developing relationships that provide mutual support and possibilities.

Embrace resilience, because trials and setbacks are unavoidable. Learn from them, adjust and keep moving forward. Resilience is essential for overcoming hurdles and attaining long-term success. Don’t wait for possibilities to present themselves; instead, advocate for yourself. Speak out, take the initiative and make your goals clear. Confidence and assertiveness are essential for growing your career.

Don’t underestimate yourself and constantly understand how valuable you are. Recognise your self-worth and never underestimate your abilities. Encourage cooperation, even with men, to bring other viewpoints to the table. Collective achievement frequently necessitates varied perspectives and collaborative efforts.

Remember, you are not alone – building a strong network, finding mentorship, recognising your value and remaining resilient will empower you to overcome obstacles and fulfil your potential in the tech industry and beyond.