Belo Horizonte, Brazil
- Steel Product Manufacturing
- Universo Inox Ind. E Com. Ltda
- partner school
- Fundação Dom Cabral
I started putting together my intuition and the management techniques I've learned during classes. To me this was perfect, to join my will to grow with the knowledge acquired in 10,000 Women.
I started my business in 2002. I am the owner of Universo Inox, a company that designs, manufactures and sells stainless steel and Corian products for households, offices, hospitals, laboratories and universities. Such products include sinks, showers, tables and countertops, and are designed and produced based on customer specifications.
The youngest of nine children, I was raised in a poor rural area. My father worked on a farm, providing the family with earnings well below the minimum wage. My father was also illiterate and did not encourage education. I was forced to start working as a domestic worker at age 10. Eventually, I began working as an assistant at a company that produced large stainless steel products. In 2002, after working at several companies in the industry, I formed a partnership to manufacture steel sinks with two other business associates. At the time, my share of the company (30%) was paid for with funds I received after quitting my job and from an automobile sale.
In 2004, I purchased my partners' shares, changed the name of the company and focused production on durable and hard-to-make steel sinks. My first deal, with a large federal university, was financially successful and provided several referrals for my burgeoning business.
I joined 10,000 Women hoping to grow my business and increase my management skills. Prior to the program, I managed through intuition alone.
After graduating from 10,000 Women, I made the strategic decision to diversify my product line. After much research and planning, Universo Inox became the first distributor of DuPont's Corian in the immediate area.
I have also made significant improvements to the financial management of my company. Prior to the program, I utilized simple excel spreadsheets and paper to keep track of my accounts. I now employ a more sophisticated financial software program.
Additionally, I have redesigned all of my marketing materials and have advertised in local design publications. I also recently created a room to be featured in Casacor, a premier Brazilian design magazine.
I have increased my workforce from 15 employees to 22 employees. I have received, completed and exported my first international order (to Holland) and my revenue has increased by 30%.
The 10,000 Women program increased my desire to give back to my family and my community. No one in my family received education beyond the high school level, nor were they enrolled in any vocational training programs. I currently employ two of my brothers and two of my nephews. My employees are all from poor communities near my manufacturing facility. 10,000 Women taught me the importance of motivating and supporting my employees. I currently provide them with breakfast and lunch and am looking for ways to help them make a better life for themselves. My dream is to start a school in the area.