Adi Engel: Helping SMEs Become Leaders in Digital Space

Great business leaders think like a person of action and act like a person of thought. They have a logical and rational thought process. Instead of reacting instinctively, they respond thoughtfully. These positive qualities help them make high-value business decisions, contribute hugely to their businesses, and drive success for their partners. One such pioneering business leader is Adi Engel. Adi is the CMO to vcitaa company that has evolved into an all-in-one business management and client engagement solution.

In her role at vcita, Adi leads the company’s global marketing objectives in supporting micro and small businesses on their journey to success and digital transformation. With extensive experience in customer-centric product knowledge and keen business acumen, she drives brand goals and develops new, innovative, and company-wide initiatives that are guided by passion and knowledge for enabling the inclusion of the underserved.

What she brings to the table is strategic thinking, attention to detail, and experience in driving complex projects into completion.

We, at Insights Success, caught up with Adi to discover more about her journey and how she is empowering partners and SMEs with digital transformation and financial health.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at vcita. What challenges did you have to overcome to reach where you are today?

In retrospect I did not have a very clear career path planned out for myself; I am not one of those kids who knew exactly what they will be when they grow up. I believe it’s because when I was growing up, I had not heard of anyone whose skills and interests were similar to mine, female or male. I instinctively understood tech well, I had my grandparents who demonstrated to me what leadership through service was, and I have three sisters, so I knew how to hold my ground. Today I know all of this is the makeup of an entrepreneur, but I simply did not possess that language at the time.

Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.

vcita aims to help small business owners manage the day-to-day of their business using digital tools, which holds great benefits for the business owners themselves, by helping them extend their natural capabilities and manage their day-to-day more efficiently. Beyond that, digitalisation of SMEs has major effects on the ecosystem they live in – it means their customers are getting better customer experiences, the businesses become more sustainable and make a greater contribution to the local economy, and their financial backers, banks, governments, and credit unions are able to better support them.

Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the Internet niche through your expertise in the market?

vcita is unique as it manages both direct-to-customer and partner channels, where our strategic partners such as banks, telcos, marketing platforms, payment providers, and insurance companies make our app part of their offering to their small business customers. That means we took an extra challenge upon ourselves, most companies choose to specialize in one go-to-market strategy over the other, but that meant we were uniquely placed to deeply understand what small business owners need and communicate that to our partners who often have far greater reach than we do. I personally have experience in both the B2B and B2C world. Now working within a team that manages both, I very much enjoy the convergence of both those worlds, I believe it allows us to be more creative, and better partners to our channels.

If given a chance, what change would you like to bring to the Fintech Industry?

Most definitely, we need more products that are designed by women, for women. Women in the fintech industry get far more screen time than they used to, and I may have been living in a bit of an echo chamber during covid, therefore I was disappointed to walk into a face-to-face conference last month and find 90 % men in the room.

What, according to you, could be the next big change in Fintech? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?

I believe we are witnessing the beginning of a convergence between the customer relationship apps and the payments industry, and vcita has been working with payments partners for several years now. It seems obvious, as these are the two fundamental attributes of all businesses – if you do not have customers, you are not a business, if your customers do not pay you, they are not customers. However, historically customer management apps were always considered closer to marketing and generating new sales than to the day-to-day management of the business. I believe what changed is that digitalization is reaching more types of business owners, and the majority of business owners’ needs are different. Most local businesses rely on word of mouth as their main source of new customers, but even more so, they realize that efficiently retaining existing customers is far cheaper than acquiring a new one.

Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run and what are your future goals for vcita?

I believe vcita can make a major impact on the adoption of digital tools, and that is widely recognized as a driver of economic growth globally. Personally, I see myself continuing working within the digital inclusion space, which might take many forms, but to me, all of them represent the best of what technology can offer humanity – an extension of our capabilities, with the person at its core.

What would be your advice to budding women entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Fintech sector?

Talk to as many people as possible, let them know your ambitions, get as much advice as possible, say yes to connections they offer, and be generous with your time. Your success will heavily depend on the people you bring along for the ride and it’s worthwhile to take the time to understand your leadership style and develop a growth mindset. These will become your core strengths.

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