In November 2012, Renée Safrata expanded her 25-year-old consulting business to establish VIVO Team, a training and development company that diagnoses, trains and analyzes project-team productivity, using a web-based platform and analytics to track success. The next year, Renée secured VIVO’s WEConnect International certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and she started finding opportunities almost immediately.
“Being an ambitious female entrepreneur with 28 years of business experience, it seemed like a no-brainer,” Renée says. Certified – who knew and why not?”
The day the certificate arrived, she hit the ground running, deciding to ‘show up’ at every opportunity.
“In my first year I went to every conference available and in addition to taking-it-all-in for a deeper understanding of the opportunity, I pitched my business and stepped up to speak on panels,” she says. “’Showing up’ has resulted in a huge network of fellow women-owned businesses, corporates, VIVO’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the opportunity to speak in 2014, 2015 and now again, this November at the upcoming conference.”
In the past year, VIVO earned three major contracts with fellow WEConnect International certified WBEs – TPD, Douglas Marketing Group and Imprint Plus as a result of WEConnect International conferences, including the Canada national conference in Montreal in 2014 and the WEConnect International Day conference in Philadelphia in 2013.
“I often joke that most of VIVO’s opportunities are from DW3 (Drinking Wine With Women),” says Renée. “We have ongoing relationships with these fellow WBEs and we continue to connect each other to new opportunities. Women business owners understand the value of developing relationships inside and outside of their business.”
Since making these business connections, VIVO has gained new customers, increased team and leader analytics and found many opportunities to partner with fellow WBES. WEConnect International certification has also given the company a platform to promote itself. This summer, Renée completed three successful web events, as well as the yearly conference speaking opportunities.
What’s next for VIVO? Renée has ambitious goals ahead:
“The future is bright for VIVO Team. We are in the midst of rapid growth … working with Alpha Global Experts (also WEConnect International certified) on an export strategy … to the U.S.,” she reports. “WEConnect International certification has been a big player in our growth and we continue to look for creat[ive] ways to use our certification and expand our network.”