The revolution of independent journalism led by women in Latin America is here: Chicas Poderosas’ first New Ventures Lab Cohort

Hello Chicas and Chicos of the journalism world we live in. We have now selected the 10 finalists for the first cohort of the New Ventures Lab to take place in Brazil in the beginning of 2018. The revolution of independent journalism is here and it’s happening beyond our eyes.

We have had 42 application for this 17 week long accelerator in media entrepreneurship program that aims to launch ten new independent journalism projects led by women in Latin America. Among the first cohort are projects from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Manaus, Belo Horizonte, Quito – Equador, Arequipa and Lima – Peru.

The main goals when we were looking through the applications were:

  1. That is a needed solution for an important problem in a given community
  2. That is innovative and brings a new perspective for imporvement of a media need
  3. That has a vision on how it can be sustainable
  4. That has a well formed idea on how it will operate, develop and run along the medium-long term
  5. That is led by a women journalist
  6. That has a solid and complementary team that will make it work in digital

And the first cohort is:


Team’s CEO is Ana Addobbati and her team partner is Janaina Lima. This project is made in Recife, Brazil.

Problem to solve: To stimulate information consumers to leave their bubbles to talk with others who have different positioning towards different thematics and educate them for a quality debate

Project’s description: A matchmaking digital platform that will connect users who have a different positioning about different thematic to start a conversation mediated and scored by a bot that will reward the participants with the best ability for debating

Main challenges: To find developers for the digital platform, despite of the availability of the required technology

Their superpowers: Connecting people and ideas

🎓Agência Ajuri

Team’s CEO is Jéssica Botelho and her team partners are Agda Sales, Nathane Dovale, Polyandra Batista and Thais Queiroz. This project is made in Manaus, Brazil.

Problem to solve: Public debate influenced by wrong information, unverified data, biased statements and fake news

Project’s description: News agency based on fact checking with Amazon perspective

Main challenges: To have enough budget to set up a permanent team and hire more journalists build strong institutional protection (digital and legal) against attacks gain visibility and overcome Internet bubbles

Their superpowers: Resilience, ability to listen, determination, willingness to learn


Team’s CEO is Carolina Braga. This project is made in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Problem to solve: Hyper local cultural digital journalism and social media presence in Belo Horizonte

Project’s description: A multimedia project dedicated to cultural journalism. Currently it is composed by the blog,  Facebook and in Twitter dedicated to information curation in the area of ​​arts and entertainment.

Main challenges: Financial sustainability & team development

Their superpowers: Passion for the project. Experience of more than 15 years in cultural journalism with passages by newspaper, television and radio. Skills for theater and film criticism. Strong network in the area of ​​arts and entertainment in the city of Belo Horizonte.

🎓El Búho

Team’s CEO is Mabel Cáceres and her team partners are Erick Rodriguez, José Luis Márquez, Josué del Mar, Ibon Machaca. This project is made in Arequipa, Peru.

Problem to solve: Transitioning from print to digital local news with updated focus on daily and investigative journalism.

Project’s description: To migrate towards a digital medium, adding to the brief news we have today on our website, powerful investigative reports and in depth for a greater impact, using new formats.

Main challenges: New business model that adapts to the local circumstances of a centralist country. Real knowledge of our audience. Technological resources and human resources trained

Their superpowers: Love to deliver quality hyper local journalism, perseverance and adaptability

🎓Especiales Editoriales

Team’s CEO is Isabel González Ramírez and her team partners are Cristina Arboleda and Jorge Montoya. This project is made in Quito, Ecuador.

Problem to solve: Independent media website with social media presence that focuses on issues of gender and social issues.

Project’s description:«Editorial Specials» combines investigative journalism, data visualization and gender perspective. We experiment with different formats and work to find a tone, language and design that takes advantage of technological possibilities and digital narratives, in order to place gender issues in audiences beyond the frontiers of activism and academia. The main goal of this initiative is to contribute to fulfill the lack of information on gender issues in Ecuador and Latin America.

Main challenges: Until now, as journalists we have not had the opportunity of the business training of our dreams, in which at the same time can be sustainable and of great impact in the media ecosystem of the region in topics that have traditionally been considered of not much interest. The other challenge is finding means of financing our projects. The international funds we have been able to access have been limited and we need to find other ways of consolidating our idea at the same time that we generate pay to meet our everyday needs. Additionally, we wish to construct a flexible model for women journalists in which they do not have to choose between professional success or family care. Taking this decision is recurrent in traditional media companies. A last challenge I personally face are my English skills which I am currently working on improving. My team member is whom has the sufficient knowledge in English.

Their superpowers: Highly intuitive at the moment of envisioning projects. Enjoyment of collaborative and multidisciplinary work environments. Interest in the exploration of new media formats and narratives. Very responsible in the work environment. An extreme level of curiosity.

🎓Jornalismo de soluções (will be renamed)

Team’s CEO is Luiza Bandeira and her team partner is Anna Carolina Cardoso. This project is made in São Paulo, Brazil.

Problem to solve: How might we use solutions-based journalism to increase audience’s engagement?

Project’s description: My start-up is a website specialized in solutions-based journalism in a non-advocacy way. Many people say they are tired of reading the news because it only covers tragedies and negative stories. It is true that the media is biased towards this kind of articles, and most of these topics do have to be covered. But I believe readers can related more to any subject when they see possible solutions to the problem. Solutions-based journalism aims at changing the nature of the debate. It does not covers good intentions, plans or individual «hero» stories. It is evidence-based reporting on how people (and governments) are responding to problems. We will cover initiatives from other countries or from cities and states in Brazil. The articles will focus on whether the policy is successful or not, whether it could be used in Brazil or scaled-up (if it is a municipal policy) and the challenges it faces, all based in evidence. Gender, education, security, health and poverty/inequality would be some of the issues covered. Research shows that readers engage more with news when they present solutions and, by doing that, they take action and participate more on the democratic process.

Main challenges: The main challenge at the beginning will be funding. We will also have to convince partners that the project is not an advocacy project, but a new way of doing journalism.

Their superpowers: Resilience and the ability to communicate


Team’s CEO is Ana Muñoz and her team partners are Lucía Chuquillanqui, Natalia Sánchez, Estefani Campana. This project is made in Lima, Peru.

Problem to solve: Our aim is to shorten the gender gap in Spanish speaking media. Women and queer minorities need accurate representation in media. We need to open a door to the narratives silenced by the patriarchy.

Project’s description: Malquerida is a digital magazine in Spanish, entirely written, edited, and illustrated by women. A multimedia space that uses visual and writing tools to question power structures in media.

Main challenges: The main challenge right now, which I believe will be a main challenge while the project keeps growing, is sustainability. Media and communication is not an easy sector, especially if independence is at the core of your identity: on one hand, there is precariousness; on the other, the difficulties of picking a sponsor aligned with Malquerida’s gender compromise. However, we also foresee the advantages of digital media, and its ability to transcend any traditional means. There are other challenges. We need to keep up the quality of our stories, by improving our research skills and editorial standards. For this objective, we need to reach more writers, and we need to be able to fund several months of work. We know we have improved since our first story–besides growing our audiences, we have received recognition twice in 2017–but we cannot relax our efforts, but keep learning, keep working. Besides, we need to reach more readers. Making women’s writing and journalistic work more visible implies that someone–the more, the merrier–reads them. How we are willing to contribute on closing the gender gap in media is creating a safe space for stories about women, by women. This space needs to expand by enlarging our audiences, and gaining a position where we stand by the leading media. Finally, we don’t want to stop here. We want to extend our activities to education on journalism for women in low income areas in Latin America, starting from Peru; and also to provide journalists with tools to shorten the gender gap, both in their stories, and at the newsrooms.

Their superpowers: I believe that persisting is my main quality, or, at least, the one that has taken me the furthest. A sort of stubbornness has improved my learning skills, and intuition, and both have helped me to open my mind over the years. On more concrete skills: I am good with foreign languages, adapting to new situations, and pretty passionate about writing, journalism, and literature.

🎓InterAÇÃO política

The CEO of the team is Carolina Nogueira, her partners are Maíra Brito and Claudia Lemos. This project made in Brasilia, Brazil.

Problem to solve: How can we use the new media, public journalism and social networks to transform the citizen’s desire to manifest itself politically in an effective political participation?

Project’s description: We intend to use new technologies, social networks and public journalism to foster political participation, transforming the desire for positioning, indignation and barren confrontation into an effective political engagement in the legislative process.

Main challenges: How to inform a disinterested and disenchanted population with the legislative and democratic process? How to find the networks organized around the topics under discussion? How to develop an effective and permeable interaction model in society? In a country where broadband internet is not yet a reality, how can we favor such initiatives?

Their superpowers: Determination, public interest, curiosity for new media, conceptual rigor.

🎓»To be determined»

Team’s CEO is Maria Martha and her partner Aline Boueri. This project is made in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Problem to solve: How might we empower low-income voters to help renovating politics in Rio de Janeiro during the 2018 elections?

Project’s description: We want to map out low-income voters’ main needs and interests in order to provide them with reliable information that can help them with their own choices in the elections.

Main challenges: To find a solution for the main problem of Latin American digital natives in media: how to make it sustainable? I assume this will be particularly hard considering we have no background in business and considering the harsh journalism/media context worldwide, which presents a challenge for both big and small companies.  To compete with older and established media, whether Facebook pages about local communities or major news outlets. To bring onboard partners from other areas who are equally eager to make the project succeed

Their superpowers: Professional experience; eagerness to try (and fail and learn and try again); agility; hard (very hard) working; versatility


Team’s CEO is Emily Canto Nunes and her team members are Diana Assennato, Natasha Madov and Dimítria Coutinho . This project is made in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Problem to solve: We have a website, but we don’t have a business model yet. We want to create a long term plan to Ada in order to make the website profitable and well know by the woman that is interesting on technology in Brazil. We would like to have a bigger understanding on business plan, revenue and funding plan. We have a small budget and we would like to make a strategy so we can be profitable as soon as possible. We are very savvy in writing content and journalism, and not so much regarding business, so we are highly interested in absorb every experience that Chicas Poderosas might pass on to us.

Project’s description: Ada was an existent blog for two years before was put on stand by. Now we are back to be more than just a blog. Ada is a tech website made by women that want to share their female perspective on topics normally covered by a men view. Currently tech coverage is non-inclusive, speaking to an audience who already understand its subject, which also happen to be normally men. Therefore we imagine ourselves like a safe space for women willing to absorve tech content and find no place. We would like to pass on our knowledge so every woman might be able to understand technology that they use on a daily basis. This is an industry where women are still highly under represented, so we want to share projects where their focus are helping women to get in at the tech industry. Tech is a big industry and Ada is willing to give women a voice and place.

Main challenges: Understand what we can do besides content to generate money to maintain the website and generate others business with the website and our knowledge in technology, journalism and communication.

Their superpowers: Journalism, communication, project management, technology


So these are our first «Digital Lady Leaders» and the new ventures projects they are bringing to the innovation lab. We are honored to have you onboard and we will do the best of our ability to make you and your projects as successful and they can be! Democracy needs women to take a go at leadership, to try things they have never done before and not to fear failure. We are all here for each other and this will be a joint journey. Together we can make this world a better place and Chicas Poderosas is fully committed to that mission, believing that collaborating and sharing experiences and knowledge within the network we will get further.

Chicas Poderosas could not be more thankful for all the applicants who have submitted their ideas and we are working hard to make this opportunity available to a broader range of women across Latin America.

Thank you Chicas

Let the #journey begin


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