Joana Cidades

Heads up: It’s The Square’s 6th anniversary

Did you know that The Square initially began operating in a room that was still under construction, right next to a bathtub? And did you also know that we brought a huge frame to our first Web Summit? You might have already visited our office, but did anyone tell you that the chair you sat in was actually assembled by our team?

To mark our 6th anniversary, we decided to challenge our founders, Sara Proença and Sofia Pereira, to answer some questions about the project. Find out all the deets and quirky facts in this flash interview.

When was the moment you realized The Square was the real deal?

Sara: July 10 2017, when I was on maternity leave with my second daughter. It was then that I realized I wanted to start my own venture.

Sofia: For me, it was when Sara bought the first computer for the business and felt the store had cheated her. She called me in tears. But in all seriousness, the real moment was when we started our first day as a duo, working together in a coworking space.

How did the name The Square come up and what other names did you consider?

Sofia: The name came up during a brainstorming session — via email, at first. There were other options, I remember Bear & Bull because we wanted to focus on Finance communication. However, The Square stood out for us because we were working near the square of Campo Pequeno, and we had four defined service areas, akin to the four corners of a square, and it made total sense.

Sara: It arose from a previous discussion we’d had. The Square was definitely the name most of us agreed upon since we were working at a square and also because we wanted to give shape to this somewhat undefined science of PR in Portugal.

Do you remember what furniture you had when you began The Square, six years ago?

Sofia: We had a living room with an old bathtub, two desks, and two chairs. We did everything: purchased and assembled the desks and chairs, and moved them around from space to space.

Sara: And they were kitchen chairs! I believe we still have the desks, but the tub and chairs are gone.

Sofia and Sara catching curious people with a massive frame at the Web Summit

What was the funniest episode in these six years?

Sofia: That was at the Web Summit where we had a massive The Square frame that didn’t fit in a regular car so we had to rent a truck to move it around. We had windy days, so the poster kept flying around, and for three days we stood by the entrance calling random people to talk to us. We had no choice but to be bold and approach people.

Sara: There’s always something funny or remarkable happening every week for us. This Web Summit episode was definitely one of those, but since we work hard, we also play hard. It’s when we dare to do something out of the box, with different people, that “out of this world” magic starts to happen.

How about the most memorable episode?

Sara: The expansion to Spain, in 2021, was a significant milestone for The Square as entering a new market like the Spanish one takes ambition and courage. It was a great moment for us — and still is.

Sofia: Signing with our first client, in Porto rather than Lisbon, where we are based. Also, moving to our current office was another stand-out moment. We started at home, moved to a home that was an office and now we finally have an office that is also a home: it is our very own working space and it’s also the home of The Square, tailor-made for our team.

Office with a view in Madrid
Our “office with a view” in Madrid

If an entrepreneur asked you for advice on launching their own business, what would you say?

Sara: I’d say being an entrepreneur is not easy; it takes blood, sweat, and tears…

Sofia: Wait, wait, wait, but that is not really advice! That will drive a person crazy!

(let’s restart)

Sara: There are no easy ways, being an entrepreneur takes hard work and determination. However the rewards of recognition, developing a strong team, and adding value to all our clients are tangible and fulfilling experiences.

Sofia: Surround yourself with people you trust and can support you through both the good moments as well as the challenging ones.

A new home for The Square
A new home for The Square

In an alternative reality in which The Square didn’t exist, what do you think you’d be doing?

Sofia: that’s a tough one… But I guess I’d keep working in an agency. Or perhaps I’d be travelling the world, volunteering somewhere.

Sara: I’d probably still be at an agency, or working at some NGO.

Six years have gone by. What do you wish for the next six?

Sofia: To conquer Spain, becoming an agency of reference in Spain, just as we are in Portugal. We might even consider opening in other regions while continuing to build a strong and cohesive team across all our offices.

Sara: I agree! In my view, businesses only work if they have the best people, so we must be aligned both with the team and the clients if we want to keep growing.

We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of you for being part of this journey so far and for celebrating with us! Please feel free to share your wishes and aspirations for the future of The Square in the comments. We value your input and look forward to continuing to grow together.

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