Women in Tech: Sarra Bejaoui
Hi Sara, please tell me a little bit about yourself.
In 2008, I co-founded SmartPA, an Edinburgh-based business that provides individuals and companies with outsourced PA, secretarial and administrative services. At SmartPA, my role consists of working with our talented partners and team to ensure we continue to deliver world-class business support and administrative outsourced services. I also focus on growing both our SME and Corporate client base as well as growing our talent pool to keep up with the demand for the SmartPA service.
What were you doing before you decided to create SmartPA?
Before SmartPA, I was working as a Project Manager within Learning and Development, with a focus designing and delivering E-Learning solutions. The idea to launch SmartPA was born from observing clients who were time poor professionals and needed private PA services.
Getting involved in Tech is still a new thing for women, what was the motivation for you?
Technology can support people and organisations to create efficiency, consistency and sharpen their performance. At SmartPA, our passion is to deliver a world-class experience and service to our clients. Adding technology to support our processes, procedures and training has allowed us to continuously improve ourselves both externally and internally, as well as helped us grow and scale our business.
How have you found your journey so far and what has been your greatest accomplishment?
Like any journey in life, there have been highs and lows. Our CEO has a great mantra that you shouldn’t get carried away with the highs and be defeated with the lows.
The main highlights have been growing the business to where it is today, and listening to our clients tell us the difference that having SmartPA has made to their business and their personal lives. It also pleases me to see our talent pool grow daily while our talented partners become empowered and the heights of success that they reach.
What has been the most challenging thing so far?
Overall, being in business is challenging as you have to be on your ‘A-game’ at all times and accept nothing less than excellence. If I have to pinpoint a particular challenge that I have faced, it would be ensuring that we were ready for the growth in our business. Whilst it was a positive situation as it was the next big step in the business, it was a challenge nevertheless. However, if you love what you do, when you do have a challenging day or period it’s definitely easier to manage.
Do you think more women should get involved in Tech and why?
I don’t think this should be singled out to women, and all businesses should embrace technology to support them deliver their product or service.
What advice would you give to young female entrepreneurs who are stuck on an idea?
If you’re stuck on an idea, present it to your friends and family and ask them for feedback and additional ideas. Alternatively, inspire yourself by putting yourself in a creative environment such as a park, coffee shop, gym, or wherever you feel you can think clearly- and draw or mind map your plan, idea or vision.
What does it mean to be a female tech entrepreneur?
I am very proud of what the team and I at SmartPA have created, which is 90% female. I think that being a female tech entrepreneur brings a different element to organisations as women have a diverse set of traits and mentality that help them on the ladder to success. The most important qualities are sheer determination and the desire to constantly push through the challenges and prejudice that women face.
Overview of how SmartPA works:
Our business consists of two parts: firstly, we provide Business Support, PA, Administration support to a variety of clients from SMEs, individuals and large corporations.
Secondly, to deliver the SmartPA world-class business, pa and administration support, we recruit a talent pool of SmartPA partners, whom we train and accredit
How to find SmartPA: