How Web Summit helped Bee2Be to focus on social impact

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Matthew Taylor
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In our series exploring successful startup stories at our events, we sat down with Bee2Be founder and CEO, Simone Ponce.

Founded in 2022, Bee2Be is a woman-owned socio-environmental Impact startup which focuses on providing pollination services for the agriculture industry, as well as deforestation projects, all while generating bee byproducts for sale. 

Founder Simone Ponce has a varied background, having worked for Uber, Prudential, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the International Labor Organization, before becoming an entrepreneur and founding two startups. 

We sat down with the founder, to discuss Simone’s experiences at Web Summit events, and in particular the experience and opportunity for an Impact startup.   

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I’ve founded two purpose-driven, impactful startups – my first venture is dedicated to generating income through food for individuals in informal sectors, securing investment from one of Brazil’s most influential employee benefits groups. 

My second venture, Bee2Be, is a women-owned socio-environmental startup with a compelling mission — to transform the global beekeeping chain, empower communities, and foster economic development. 

But my background is also shaped by the adversity I’ve come up against. In 2005 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and struggled with widespread muscle pain and tenderness. I underwent a full gamut of tests, sought expert opinions and second opinions, took medication recommended to me, and went through several rounds of physical therapy. 

Still, the pain persisted. I almost lost hope. Then one day, a doctor specializing in holistic medicine diagnosed me with an extreme case of Fibromyalgia and suggested an unorthodox treatment–bee therapy! Inspired by the benefits and remarkable results, I began my mission to help others on their healing journeys by not only bringing these products to market but also ensuring accessibility to all.

Can you tell us what your startup, Bee2Be, does?

Our mission is to unlock the power of bees to promote biodiversity and personal and community wellbeing while developing scalable apiculture solutions to foster environmental sustainability.

Bee2Be’s circular business model focuses on pollination services that bolster the agricultural output of local farmers along with reforestation efforts in ecological risk areas, while simultaneously unlocking a high-yield supply chain of nutrient-rich bee byproducts for commercial usage, including pollen, honey, and red propolis.

How did you first hear about Web Summit, and when did you first attend?

Attending Web Summit has always been a dream for me. As an innovation executive, I heard about the event in 2019 when working for Uber and wanted to attend the event as a professional learning experience. 

What was your experience of your first Web Summit?

I attended my first event in Lisbon in 2021, when one of the most influential entrepreneurial communities in Brazil, Confraria do Empreendedor, invited me to Web Summit. 

The conference provided an environment where my passion resonated with the insights shared by influential speakers, creating a sense of alignment and belonging. The seed of Bee2Be as an impact-driven business was sown, drawing inspiration directly from the invaluable knowledge gained at Web Summit. 

Setting an ambitious goal the following year, I challenged myself to return to Web Summit and unveil Bee2Be globally through their startup program. My dreams became reality – a debut on the prestigious Web Summit stage, where, for the first time, I had the opportunity to present the vision and mission of Bee2Be to a global audience as a Beta startup.

How do you find the Impact related content at Web Summit?

Discovering Impact-related content at Web Summit has been an enriching experience. I found the Impact content featuring thought leaders and experts who shared innovative approaches and insights into creating positive change, and used it to create Bee2Be’s business model and mission.

Web Summit’s commitment to showcasing the latest trends and advancements in sustainable and socially responsible practices ensured that attendees are at the forefront of the global impact landscape. 

What are some of the connections you have made through Web Summit?

As an entrepreneur navigating the post-COVID landscape, I grappled with isolation. Being in Lisbon with these amazing people was a pivotal moment that made me feel less alone and opened doors to a powerful network of like-minded individuals.

On a global scale, Web Summit has played a crucial role in fostering connections that have profoundly impacted my entrepreneurial journey. I used the app and referenced the list of impact investors frequently. The power of community at Web Summit is palpable. It provides a platform to engage with a diverse array of professionals, visionaries, and innovators worldwide. 

Did Web Summit have any positive effect on the development of your business?

Absolutely! My journey with Web Summit is synonymous with agile learning and transformative growth. The diverse and global perspectives shared at Web Summit have been an invaluable source of inspiration, guiding the evolution of Bee2Be into a venture that not only embraces innovation but is also deeply rooted in the principles of sustainable impact.

Did you participate in any Impact-specific activities? If so, what was your experience of them?

Web Summit’s Impact Showcase played a pivotal role in my entrepreneurial journey. As someone who felt somewhat invisible in the crowded landscape, the Impact Showcase provided me with a much-needed stage to not only grow but also to learn from and connect with like-minded individuals passionate about making a positive impact. The exposure gained from being part of the Impact Showcase was instrumental in breaking through the noise and reaching individuals and organizations aligned with the values and goals of Bee2Be. I’m forever grateful. 

Would you recommend Web Summit to other Impact founders?

I enthusiastically endorse Web Summit to every founder I encounter and collaborate with. Recognizing the immense potential for impact in Brazil, I am particularly thrilled to witness Web Summit expanding its reach and extending this invaluable experience to a global audience. 

What advice would you give to other Impact founders attending Web Summit?

I highly encourage fellow founders to view their participation in Web Summit not only as a valuable learning experience but also as a strategic element for growth. At Bee2Be, we strategically aligned our growth milestones with the Web Summit calendar, leveraging the platform as a catalyst for launching our business on a global scale.

I would also encourage attendees to seize every opportunity for learning and networking that the event offers. Engage actively in Impact-specific activities, participate in the Impact Showcase, and connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for making a positive impact.

Remember that Web Summit is not just an event; it’s a dynamic ecosystem where ideas flourish, collaborations thrive, and growth opportunities abound. Embrace the diversity of perspectives, be open to innovation, and utilize the platform to amplify your impact. As you navigate the experience, forge connections, and leverage the insights gained, you’ll find that Web Summit has the potential to be a transformative force in the journey of any Impact founder.

Follow Bee2Be on Instagram to see their journey continue. You can also check out their website at https://www.bee2be.eco.br/  

Main Image: Bee2Be

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