Angela Ventsel is a passionate business promoter who is changing the business landscape digitally on a global scale as a business promoter without borders. Today, she is a two-passionate entrepreneur who has built the accessories brand BIRKENTHAL and the international market-oriented company SuccessHub on her own.
In addition to entrepreneurship, Angela has managed various international business projects and made a significant contribution to society as a member of the Estonian Association of Entrepreneurial Women and the Estonian Bar Association. She is a passionate and active speaker on e-Residency, entrepreneurship and youth inspiration.
Angela is a brave, consistent, enterprising and aware woman who never gives up. She turns even the most complex stumbling blocks into successful steps. Angela bases her life on the idea that “Diamonds are also polished under pressure!”.
Q. Hello, it’s a pleasure to have you with us! Could you please tell us about your life at law school? What extra-curricular and co-curricular activities were you involved in?
The Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu in Estonia, where I studied, has been operating and training lawyers since the establishment of the University of Tartu since 1632. Today, the university offers a high-level and broad-based academic legal education based on science, which opens career opportunities for people in the field of law in Estonia, the European Union and elsewhere in the world. In addition to successful positions in Estonia, graduates of the Faculty of Law of the University of Tartu also hold positions in the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights and other European Union institutions. Thus, the University of Tartu is the best university where you can acquire legal education.
I studied distance learning at university because I also went to work at the same time. So I spent most of the weekends studying. During my university, in addition to the compulsory subjects, I always actively studied as many different electives as possible in order to better understand different areas of law and to be sure what kind of work I wanted to do. I was also active in various university programs that interested me and complemented my knowledge of law. Today I can say that active participation in teaching and various programs added a lot of new contacts and knowledge that I can still successfully apply today. Participation in the summer universities in Toulouse and Barcelona certainly made a strong contribution. Therefore, I recommend being as active as possible during your university, acquiring new knowledge, making contacts and definitely participating in various summer schools and student exchange programs.
Q. You had previously worked for the Estonian ministry of the Interior as an advisor. What would like to say about that experience?
I have always been of the opinion that the most important thing is to gain as much experience as possible – to be curious about life. This will give you the opportunity to see what is right for you. Having previously worked in the private sector (notary office), at one point I felt that I wanted to gain experience in the public sector as well. Working in the public sector was a good opportunity to see more broadly and at the same time more closely how the state works and how I can share my expert knowledge. During the years I worked, I saw how many different facets there are in the stages of the country’s fields. Also, how differently citizens see the activities of the agencies and how the agencies actually function, and how long the process is for the development of laws, drafts and activities. It was certainly an exciting time and a necessary time, through which I feel today how important it is to make the right decisions early on and make your dreams come true.
Q. What made you switch to entrepreneurship? What were a few things that you considered before making the switch? Looking back, do you think you would have wanted to do something differently?
Having been in my last job for almost 7 years, I had been thinking for a long time about what might be the next stage in my life where I could move. The decision was made easy when my job split in two and I had to choose between two jobs. As I wrote about the pros and cons of the positions, I increasingly realized that I wanted to be the master of my own time and make my own dreams come true. Although I also wrote down the pros for both posts, I knew more and more that I wanted to be the designer of my life and do what I love, rather than following the tasks given to me every day. In doing so, I felt the importance of pausing in life from time to time and trying to assess whether the path you are following today is the right one and then, if necessary, change direction or adjust the existing one. When I interpreted life, I felt that the time was ripe for me, and since I had written so many business plans in a drawer in a few years, I realized that ideas could now be taken out of the drawer and implemented. So I had decided that in 2018 I would become an entrepreneur. Of course, I knew that this path would be exciting and full of challenges, but certainly more exciting and experiential than paid work. At least I believed so!
Today I can say that I did not have to be disappointed. A lot of experience and excitement has been shared during these three years. I can confirm that it was the boldest and best decision of my life to leave paid employment and become an entrepreneur. I sincerely believed in myself that I would succeed and that the path I chose was the right one. In all of this, I can say that my greatest value has been my attitude and my belief that everything will work out. I can also say that today I have gained more experience than all the previous years combined.
When I started a business, I immediately realized that the right people and environment help me to move faster in business and be focused on my activities. If I look back for a while, I would have liked to have had more entrepreneurs and a mentor next to me at the very beginning, who would have steered me on the right track at some point. At the same time, I realized that as we move towards our goals, each of us must be consistent and certainly entrepreneurial, solution-oriented and innovative. Thus, above all, the entrepreneur must have the confidence and determination to believe in setting goals and achieving them.
Q. Were there some skills that you picked up during your time in the legal field that you were able to implement as an entrepreneur?
The business environment is highly dependent on the law and inevitably the management of a company is based on various legal aspects, including knowledge of the law and contractual relations. In practice, however, companies all too often run into all sorts of problems at the construction stage, precisely because of the wrong legal decisions of owners or managers. From a business perspective, my legal knowledge has provided me and our company with competencies that allowed me to enter the market more painfully before and during the start-up phase. As well as the ability to better analyze situations and decide when and how to involve foreign specialists, prevent violations of the law and solve simple problem situations.
Q. Could you tell us about the challenges you faced in switching from the legal field to becoming an entrepreneur? How did you push through them?
In business, I have overcome how to negotiate effectively in difficult situations, to deal with my fears, and thus have come to realize that difficulties do not necessarily mean that this is impossible. I believe that entrepreneurship must be full of challenges, because they show how much passion we have in our field, how much willpower we have and whether we can overcome these seemingly difficult challenges. Challenges are certainly key factors in fostering business growth, which also hides opportunities. I believe that if entrepreneurship were easy and without challenges, anyone could do it and the concept of success would become irrelevant. Today, with regard to the challenges I have experienced, I have said that they have taken me to where I am today and I am grateful for them.
And surely a curious and growing person accepts his challenges completely differently than a curious person. Most people see signs of weakness in challenges, mistakes and injustices. In reality, however, growing and developing people see signs of progress. Rather, you should always ask yourself when it comes to challenges. “What did I learn from this situation?” and “How can I move forward from here toward my goals?”. Thus, the best teacher is not just an experience, but an analyzed experience.
Q. Could you tell us what your venture, SuccessHub is all about and what your inspiration was to start it?
SuccessHub is a global innovative business development partner for e-residents, whose mission is to offer e-residents the opportunity to be one step ahead of other entrepreneurs in the world and establish a company in Estonia and do business without borders where they are currently located.
More specifically, e-residency is a digital identity card issued by the government that allows foreign digital companies to easily set up and run a web-based EU company. E-residence allows an alien to do things in Estonia regardless of his or her physical location and to do so digitally. Estonia is the first country to offer e-residence – a digital identity card issued by the government, which is available to everyone all over the world. Today, there are 70,000+ e-residents and 10,000+ e-residencies companies established in Estonia from more than 180 different countries. For foreigners and foreign companies operating in Estonia and related to Estonia, digital ID management is as easy and secure as for Estonian citizens and foreigners permanently residing in Estonia. Among other things, you can digitally sign documents with your ID card anywhere in the world, create a web company in Estonia in one day, make bank transfers in seconds, actively participate in the management of a company registered in Estonia and declare payments in Estonia with a few clicks. And all this regardless of location. This makes starting a business easier and less bureaucratic. E-signing alone has saved companies valuable time. An Estonian e-resident does not have to enter into contracts on paper to make the first payment to the company or, for example, stand in line for an authority. In today’s situation, with COVID-19, e-residency provides the best opportunity for entrepreneurs to work and develop their business wherever they are, and our company is here to help and support them. Today, our customers in many different countries are very satisfied with the opportunity to work with our professional team. Our e-residents also cooperate with each other, which is a very good solution in today’s economic situation.
Q. From your vast experience in the fields of law and entrepreneurship both, is there any advice you would like to give to law students/graduates who realize their passion lies in entrepreneurship?
I recommend that you always do things in life with your heart and those that you love, not those that others recommend. If you feel that another area is more attractive to you today, then it is very okay to change your life or journey. It is important that you are happy in the present and know that you always have a profession you can learn and that you can come back to it or link the profession you have learned to business. So it’s always important to know where you want to go and always work and act wisely, no more. Per aspera ad astra!
Find out more about Angela Ventsel –
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelaventsel/
- Website: www.successhub.eu ; www.birkenthal.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/angela.ventsel
Disclaimer – All views and opinions expressed in this interview are personal and belong solely to the interviewee(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the LAABh Foundation or the individuals and institutions associated with LAABh Foundation.