Meet Simone van Bijsterveldt: Founder of Liobé and CFO of FEM-START!

Hi Simone! You are the founder of Liobé and co-founder/ CFO of FEM-START. Tell us, What inspired you to start your own businesses? What drove you to start Liobé and co-found FEM-START?

I really wanted to add value with the expertise I built in the last 2 decades while working. I enjoy working with entrepreneurs and get the most energised when working in an entrepreneurial environment, and from that perspective, I started Liobé. With Liobé, I help startups and scaleups from a back-office perspective; this includes o.a. HR, legal, raise funding and everything around finance. For FEM-START, I am thrilled to do this from a female-entrepreneur perspective which is why I am a co-founder. Women started to become entrepreneurs later than men and therefore have a backlog in networking, access to finance, education etc…

What are some of the most essential steps and actions you took to get your businesses off the ground?

With Liobé, it was mainly the network and how to use it. Your network is very important and the key foundation to start and scale a business. It always circles back to this, who you know is equally important as what you know. Obviously, there is also my specific expertise that I acquired throughout my career when I worked for various companies. Lastly, I think always practising what you preach is important to get any venture off the ground.      

Why is it important to you to work in strengthening female entrepreneurship? Why FEM-START and its mission to bridge the funding gap?

I have always been motivated to make the world a better place. Since I started working, I wanted to achieve this through my specialisation which is finance. Entrepreneurship and the area of funding are a very specific world and a different ‘game’. I want to help and assist female entrepreneurs because of their backlog and the gap in their access to knowledge and education on funding specifically. The goal is to close the funding gap and make them as successful as male entrepreneurs. According to BCG, female entrepreneurs generate more revenue from each USD invested than male entrepreneurs.               

What is your biggest achievement since founding FEM-START and Liobé, and how did you get there?

While there are many hardships, we are lucky to have had many positive developments in the last years. With Liobé, we did accomplish a pre-seed funding round for a client of 1.5 M euros. With FEM-START, our member base grew and I am proud to have KPMG Meijburg & Co. as our partner and we have many events planned with them. Compliance with your corporate taxes is very important, also in a funding-round! This is one of the elements we educate our members on. Besides a lot of other elements, investors will always look at how you handled and filed your corporate taxes, so you need to be knowledgeable. Our members want to be mentored and they get free access to these events, so there is a demand for it!

What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs, particularly those who do not believe they can do it?

I think you need to be open to learn, and surround yourself with people who have specific knowledge on growing your company. To me, the most important knowledge comes from a business perspective and funding perspective, if you have those two you should be able to start with a solid base. One of my motto’s to keep myself motivated is “There will be flowers at the finish”. It serves as a reminder that despite all the difficulties, it’s worth it in the end! 

What’s next for you and your businesses? Anything we can look forward to?

There is plenty to look forward to with FEM-START! We are looking to further build our B2B business, what the next steps will be and growing our community. There will be more events upcoming. We have several masterclasses and workshops with KPMG Meijburg & CO, our partnership is very important to us. Lastly, we will be adding a legal partner to our collaborations in 2024!

If you want to know more about Simone’s company, click here!

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