International Women's Day 2021: Achieving a more equitable future takes all of us

Virtual Assistant Platform, Viva, Brings Meaningful Work to Latin American Women and Global Top Talent to AC Entrepreneurs

March 8, 2021


Imagine being able to hire a talented analyst or assistant for your company, virtually. Now imagine that assistant being one of the most qualified and impactful employees you have. 


It’s possible with Viva - a startup organization that hires and trains talented women in Latin America to become virtual analysts (VAs) for North American companies.


The idea behind Viva started when co-founder Adnan Khan began to work in the education sector in Nicaragua. It was through this work where he saw the unique challenges faced by the labour force in Latin America — particularly women who are often disproportionately impacted by the lack of meaningful job opportunities.


“What he began to realize was that there's often no light at the end of the tunnel. People get educated and [put in all this] effort, only to end up with limited career opportunities,” said Fineas Tatar, co-founder of Viva. 


“The talent is there, but the opportunities are not.”

According to the International Labour Organization database, in 2019 only 52.3 per cent of women in Latin America and the Carribean were in the workforce. It was also reported at the beginning of the pandemic that women in Latin America were more likely to lose their jobs over men, because women dominate the lower-paid, high risk sectors, which were most aggressively impacted by lockdowns and stay-home orders. According to the United Nations, 126 million women work in Latin America’s informal economy. These jobs include cleaning, domestic workers and street vendors – all hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions. 

Tatar explained that together with Khan, he saw an opportunity to hire and train these talented women in Latin America to be virtual analysts (VAs), who can fulfill the combined role of an administrative assistant, research analyst, and business development representative for executives at high growth North American companies and in startups. Their mission is twofold: to empower women in Latin America with meaningful career opportunities, and to help North American executives save valuable time and boost their productivity. 


Tatar explained that as startups grow, those at the executive level may spend two or three hours a day doing work that could easily be performed by a virtual analyst – such as calendar and email management, meeting preparation and follow up, lead generation, content creation, research, data analysis, recruitment, and more.


Sometimes the time spent on these tasks goes unnoticed because that executive has just always done them. Tatar referred to this as a growing pain: as a company grows, the realization that certain tasks can be delegated is often missed. It’s the invisible problem hiding in plain sight. The challenge is finding a cross-functional team member who can cover all those key tasks. This is where Viva comes in. 


Viva is very rigorous with their screening and training; they hire and train with the top one per cent of applicants. Viva uses the playbook method of training to ensure consistency across all key skills and tasks. By working with Viva, North American startups can access a dedicated analyst to save significant time and money 


“With the rise of COVID-19, it's really opened up the door to a lot of remote work and really prompted businesses to think in a different way about [whether they] actually need someone in person versus [having] someone remotely,” Tatar said. 


“Our mission is to be the leading virtual analyst service, providing an unrivaled experience for our clients, colleagues and communities. Our client impact and social impact are interdependent. We aspire to continue to push both of these agendas forward in 2021.”


Recognizing the dese concentration of high potential startup companies at the AC, Khan and Tatar were excited to connect with the Accelerator Centre to offer the service to AC startups and alumni. 


“Access to talent is one of the most important factors in a startup’s ability to grow” says AC program manager, Leanne Armstrong. “The Viva concept aligns well with the AC’s mission to help startups grow and scale. We also have a strong commitment to supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) through our TD Sustainable Future Program. Gender equity and creating meaningful work opportunities are cornerstones of the SDGs and we’re excited to work with Viva to offer their service to our entrepreneurial community.”

To learn more about Viva, visit https://www.execviva.com/ 



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