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High Profile Magazine

Angela Rodrigues

One of London’s Most Respected Entrepreneurs

Angela Rodrigues is the CEO and Founder of Angela Banzi Ltd, which specialises in Italian citizenship and genealogy services, and Portal Londres, London’s top news site for the Brazilian community. She is one of London’s most respected entrepreneurs, and you can read our interview with her inside!

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You run two companies here in the UK, Angela Banzi Ltd. and Portal Londres. Did you experience any challenges in setting up a business here as a foreigner?

In 2001, I left Brazil with my oldest son, who at the time was only 2 years old. We decided to come to London because England was a country that seemed like it was a country that would be able to offer us better opportunities. I had no plan or strategy, I didn't do any research before coming here, we just took our bags and came with all the courage in the world.

5 months after arriving here in London, I went to Italy to get my Italian citizenship recognised, and I stayed there for 8 long months. My time in Italy made me want to help other people avoid the struggles I had faced in getting my citizenship, so I decided to start a business that would help people get to Italy with the proper information and with their documentation organised in the correct way, so that they could speed up the process.

I encountered many challenges during this period, but my decision and focus on my purpose was unshakable and my business began to grow in a progressive and consistent manner. Yes, there were many moments at the beginning when I thought about giving up, but when I thought about the pain I went through in Italy, that was where I found the motivation to other people. My dedication and motivation have made my business trustworthy, and today I have clients all around the world, thanks to referrals from other satisfied customers.

What made you decide to set up Portal Londres?

When I arrived in London, I literally just had 1 bag with me. After a few years, I had become a well-known and respected entrepreneur in the community, and I felt that I should give something back to our community for having trusted in my work and having offered me so much during these 15 years. In 2016, I decided I wanted to set up a high-quality platform that would offer news and information to the Brazilian public.

The project stayed shut away in a drawer for 2 years, but then finally, in 2018, the first Portal Londres website was born. In 2019, I decided that a more complete platform and apps were needed to facilitate access, and thus the platform was expanded with the possibility of opening franchises across the country and across Europe.

If you had to give someone 3 reasons that they should move to the UK, what would those reasons be?

I have lived in London for 20 years, and this city has always given me a feeling of being safe, as well as offering opportunities to people no matter where they come from. If you want to live in a city where everyone has the opportunity to find a job, to go to university, or to start a business without all the difficulties and bureaucracy that you have to go through in developing countries, then the UK might be the place for you. Pack your suitcase, fill yourself with courage, and come to London. This wonderful metropolis will teach you important lessons, but it will also give you so many chances to succeed.

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How would you explain what Angela Banzi Ltd. does to someone who had just discovered the company?

Today, Angela Banzi Ltd. offers a whole list of services that are related to the recognition of Italian citizenship, either by descent or by marriage. We offer services ranging from genealogical research that help discover the applicant’s origins, to registrations at Italian consulates around the world so that the Italian citizen can renew or issue documents for themselves and their family, no matter where they are.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

During my career I have had countless moments of joy and fulfilment, but receiving an award that recognised me as the best female entrepreneur was important for me. In that moment I realised that I was doing something that truly benefitted our community, and that gave me a lot of satisfaction and pride in the work that I do. Every day when I see my clients fulfilling their dreams of having their citizenship recognised, I feel such immense joy and fulfilment that it makes everything worth it.

What gave you the drive to start your first business?

Today there is a lot of talk about identifying what the client is missing and then offering them a remedy for that problem. In 2001, nobody talked about that, but that was the main principle behind my business. When I went to sort out my citizenship, the services I paid for didn’t even come close to reaching my expectations. That was what made me realise that a lot of other people must have this same problem, and so I decided I would start an advisory service to help people in my situation. I didn’t want anyone to be unprepared like me, and so I set out to solve that problem.

Luckily, I already spoke Italian, which was a huge plus for me when it came to being able to solve situations that occurred during the citizenship process in Italy. Guiding people and finding partners who could welcome and give the necessary support to my clients was what made my business and me as an entrepreneur the number one points of references here in the United Kingdom for anything related to Italian citizenship services.

If you had to give a new entrepreneur 3 tips on starting up a business, what would those tips be?

1. Always be prepared to help others. If you’re not solving a problem for someone, then what is your business offering?

2. Always be prepared for any challenges that may come your way. You may not know what the challenge will be, but any kind of preparation will help you more than no preparation at all.

3. Find the pain points that your customers have, and work on providing a remedy for those pain points through your business.

What is your biggest career goal?

Portal Londres is growing consistently, so I would like for that to continue in years to come. Our team of columnists includes Rafael dos Santos, among others, and they write content which inspires our audiences. We want to be the biggest platform for the Brazilian community in the United Kingdom, so to reach that goal would be absolutely wonderful. Angela Banzi Ltd. is already the go-to for Italian citizenship services here in the UK, but we would love to grow even further by oferring other services that we do not yet offer.