Fernando Pereira – Grow uP Esports – Celebrating an esports minority

The second annual GIRLGAMER Esports Festival will commence this weekend in Lisbon, Portugal featuring tournaments in CS:GO, League of Legends and Clash Royale. Among sponsors and partners for the event is beauty chain Sephora marking its first entrance into esports.

As you might have guessed with the name, the festival is aimed at supporting female inclusion in esports with female-only teams competing along with an esports business conference with speakers from Team Dignitas, The Story Mob, and Infinite Esports and Entertainment, to name a few.

Fernando Pereira, Co-Founder and President of GIRLGAMER organiser, Grow uP Esports chatted with Esports Insider about the second year of the festival and what they hope to accomplish in the future.

Esports Insider: Congratulations on the second year of GIRLGAMER! What brought the idea of bringing the festival back?

Fernando Pereira, Co-Founder and President of Grow uP Esports

Fernando Pereira: Since we first decided to put the festival together, we planned to begin with a yearly event and eventually expand into holding multiple editions each year.

What we’ve been seeing is that the results since last year’s edition have been very positive in terms of professional organisations around the world starting to integrate female teams and players into their lineups. More articles about the female competitiveness have been published, and the whole ecosystem is starting to understand that bringing in more women to increase the female player base is incredibly important to move towards a balanced ecosystem.

The main goal of the festival is to celebrate women’s competitiveness by showcasing the existing high-level professional players competitive skills, while at the same time using them as role models to inspire a younger generation to get engaged in the competition as well. This will help increase the number of female gamers, which in turn we believe will result in more women reaching the top and starting to integrate mixed-gender teams and participating in major global tournaments.
ESI: Why was Portugal picked as the location this year?
Fernando: Grow uP eSports started in Portugal back in 2002. After expanding into Asia and holding the first edition there, we felt that we wanted to go back to our roots and bring it to Europe. As we are building it to become a global festival, it’s safe to expect another continent next year!

“Education is in the centre of everything we do”

ESI: You’re not just displaying female competitive talent, what type of panels at the conference will be held? 
Fernando: Education is in the centre of everything we do. Having a business conference to educate players about their potential of getting engaged with the industry in a professional career way (besides competing in the game) is a priority. Esports is a relatively new industry filled with opportunities for game commentators, game analysts, tournament referees, content producers, and so much more!
Our conference will explore the market opportunities for esports enthusiasts and also for brands that want to enter the industry to talk with their audience effectively.
ESI: The lack of women in esports is no “new” subject by some think it’s hypocritical when it comes to inclusion as it singles out the female gender. How with GIRLGAMER combat against that mindset?
Fernando: GIRLGAMER doesn’t exclude anyone, in fact, our audience is mixed and filled with people who understand that women need more incentives than men because their barriers of entry into video games are higher – think of all the online bullying and male chauvinism that happens every day. Celebrating a minority by creating a safe environment for them to thrive and have a chance of showcasing that they too can be competitive is a great way of positive discrimination that leads towards universality.