Customers Kept us Going in a New Market — Intrapreneur Stories #6

Featuring Isabel Do Vale, intrapreneur from Syngenta.

Isabel had an unusual experience with intrapreneurship. Instead of growing into the role from within the company, she was hired deliberately by Syngenta to be in charge of a new venture: making a brand out of a flower.

Meet Isabel Almiro do Vale, Senior Marketing and Business Development Manager at Syngenta.

Isabel takes us through this journey of creating a customer-faced product in a B2B environment. Her colleagues are mostly scientists who weren’t used to look at their flowers from a client’s perspective. They had to learn to ask different questions, and to explore different areas of horticulture to create plants that are accessible to a wider audience. On the other hand, Isabel had to learn that biology has its own limitations, and sometimes it’s just impossible to create the products your clients crave for.

“Only when you’re not afraid to fail will you actually have the guts to do the things that haven’t been done before. Otherwise you’re always looking for that safety homework and you’re always going to default back to something that was tried in the past, and you’re going to get the same results.”

In the Interview:

  • Building a company and being a mom at the same time —1:08
  • Who is Isabel Almiro do Vale — 2:05
  • Syngenta’s challenge — 3:06
  • The core business of Syngenta — 4:54
  • Spotting a new venture opportunity — 5:25
  • Stakeholder management & corporate resources — 7:24
  • Building the right team & the right project foundations — 8:10
  • The startup process — 9:24
  • Expectations, interest & visibility within the company — 10:42
  • Making it past year 1: the scale-up process — 13:03
    The motivation to keep going, dealing with feedback & obstacles— 16:07
  • What is Intrapreneurship? — 20:45
  • Financial barriers within a big organisation & budget shifts — 22:21
  • How to deal with changes in staff and management — 23:24

Do you want to share your story with the community, or do you have a question for the next intrapreneur? Get in touch!

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Afonso Rebelo de Sousa

Afonso Rebelo de Sousa

Senior Venture Builder