Women in business: Overcoming barriers in language and technology

12/21/2020| Samantha Foley

Women in business: Overcoming barriers in language and technology

12/21/2020 | Samantha Foley

Carolina Seldes, CEO of ITnova, embodies the true meaning of an entrepreneur and “go getter." She lets nothing stand in the way of her dreams, even a language barrier. Ms. Seldes immigrated to the United States from Colombia in 2010 with limited knowledge of the english language and a drive for success. With a background as an Electronic Engineer and an Information Technology Specialist, she knew she had to put her skillset to work despite being in a new country and new community.

This drive is what ultimately led to the creation of her company, ITnova, in 2011. While taking english, networking and business classes at Anne Arundel Community College (AACC), Ms. Seldes came across an opportunity to pitch her company in a Business Plan Competition sponsored through the college. Already having the background and know-how, she immediately set to work to develop a detailed plan for ITnova. She submitted the outline,and won the competition, allowing the company’s first office to be based as part of AACC’s incubator program.

Since then, the business has grown exponentially, including landing one of its first contracts with the Maryland State Board of Elections. The company has also focused on exporting services to Latin America due to Carolina’s Latin American background and has continued to work regularly with several Maryland state agencies such as the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland Comptroller's Office, and the Maryland State Police. She has partnered with other Maryland companies to foster the development of cutting edge technologies including Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS), Cybersecurity, as well as Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

Ms. Seldes has also continued to learn and stress the importance of networking and community development. Assimilating to a new culture and community can be tough, but Ms. Seldes has done it with open arms. Although competition in the IT sector can be fierce for both material and human resources, the company uses this knowledge to participate and give back to the community.

In addition to working alongside various community organizations such as The Arc of Annapolis and the Center of Help, Ms. Seldes and her team have also focused their efforts toward the education community through hands-on educational training. The company provides tours of their facility, career advisory sessions, mock interviews, and hands on website development training to high school students interested in the IT field. This program gives students the insider knowledge needed to succeed and compete in the workforce.

The ITnova team currently has a staff of 20 full time employees and five part-time, with hopes to double their staffing within the next year. As if her dreams weren’t big enough, she also has a vision to become the first hispanic woman included in the list of Top 100 Government Contractractors, created by Washington Technology. She hopes to use this dream to encourage more members of the hispanic community to explore the different entrepreneurial and business resources that are available and become more involved in their communities.

Ms. Seldes and the ITnova team are grateful for the opportunities that Maryland state minority business programs have allowed for her company. She also encourages other minority and woman owned companies to take advantage of all these programs have to offer in an effort to expand diversity in Maryland’s business community.

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