Maite Ballester, Socia de Nexxus Capital

Maite Ballester Nexxus Capital partner.

Nexxus Iberia is a development capital fund that works with businesspeople to hasten the growth of the companies in which it invests. Our approach consists in helping Spanish and Portuguese SMEs intensify their international presence in Europe, Latin America and the USA. We invest in companies with an EBITDA of M€3 to M€15 with a mean investment on the order of M€10 to M€20. We operate in high-growth sectors where innovation is overhauling the industry, with low capex needs and a healthy appetite for internationalisation.

Nexxus Iberia provides companies support for internationalisation, enabling them to rise to challenges, lowering their risks and minimising associated costs. Along those lines, we value diversity in our management teams very highly. The internationalisation initiatives adopted by our hosts are often led by women with prior experience, for our philosophy is that leadership is based on choosing the right person with proven know-how and skills.

In that respect some traits characteristic of women match our leadership style for these projects quite well.

Empathy. Imperative for accessing other markets, for it favours fluent and bidirectional communication with new clients, staff, suppliers and other stakeholders.

Emotional intelligence applied to management style, particularly for teamwork. The decision to internationalise generates intense in-house debate calling for emotional intelligence to incorporate diverse points of view in process analysis and roll-out.

Flexibility, creativity and innovation. A willingness to adapt to change, to self-reinvent, is imperative to internationalisation. New ways must be sought to conduct business, hire and manage talent, develop a sense of belonging and create a brand image. Every market and every country is different and needs to be broached in a very specific manner.

Diversity. Women not only provide but foster diversity. Diversity is needed for successful internationalisation planning and implementation. Differing profiles must be integrated at all company levels: diversity is a must in terms not only of gender, but also of geography, academic background, age and area of expertise to analyse both challenges and opportunities from a wider range of angles.

Long-term vision. International expansion is necessarily a longterm proposition: each step must be planned in advance and targets must be timed to be able to measure progress.

Briefly, women make very valuable contributions to our host company management teams. Our business culture fosters that participation because we deem it to be an element that strengthens our performance.

*This publication is part of the section 'Female leadership in internationalisation' which is available in COFIDES' 2020 Activity and Sustainability Report.