Mentor spotlight: Joyce Oomen-Beeris, founder of Pimcy.

Mentor spotlight: Joyce Oomen-Beeris, founder of Pimcy.

Pimcy Innovation & Portfolio management in Tilburg helps organize innovation and embed innovation in services, products, or business models. The result is an acceleration of innovation, increased innovative capability, and motivated employees. We cover the entire innovation management domain: idea management, innovation portfolio management, and life cycle management.

What is your story, and what led you to join the entrepreneurial world?
I have a career in product management and product development. After I did my master’s in Implementation & Change management, I concluded that I could not apply that knowledge in my current job. I always had a dream of starting my own business, and 5 years ago, I did.

What have you learned in your entrepreneurial career?
For the past 5 years, I have learned more than in the previous 18 years working for various companies. This is because you constantly encounter new challenges and see new things that you want to learn to provide customers with the best possible services.
I also have learned that what sometimes looks like a great idea can turn out to be something that does not work or does not make you happy. I have learned to say goodbye to things or even persons that are ‘energy drainers.’ 

What is one thing you still really want to do in your entrepreneurial career?
I want to expand further the innovation software consultation that we already offer. I think we really are distinguishing in that domain and have a great added value for the companies that hire us.

Looking back, what is one thing you would do differently in your career?
I stepped into a software opportunity as a side business. I still would have done it because I learned so much, only I would have stopped the initiative earlier on.

What would you advise women to start their journeys in the entrepreneurial space?
Women tend to do things only when they are 100% sure. My advice would be to trust your gut feeling more: if you think you can do it, you probably can. Don’t make yourself too small and humble when you are selling yourself. Women should learn to demonstrate more self-confidence.

What is the reason you joined FEMpreneurhulp?
Due to the Corona crisis, many companies have to pivot to other business models to survive. I want to contribute to that survival.

What are common challenges women face in the startup world, and how can we tackle them, according to you?
I think it has to do with my previous advice: know your worth, demonstrate self-confidence, and don’t show if you feel a bit overwhelmed.

Anything else you would like to share?
I really like FEMpreneurhulp as women are helping other women. I have often seen that women think other women are less capable than men or should not try to stand out in my career. In this way, we are our own barriers in advancing in business.

Find Joyce on and

Meet Joachim Goyvaerts: Director of Benelux and Ireland PayPal

Meet Joachim Goyvaerts: Director of Benelux and Ireland PayPal

Joachim Goyvaerts, the director of PayPal Benelux and Ireland, talks about the power of digital transformation, the benefits of building networks, and PayPal’s new partnership with FEM-START. 

What was your journey leading up to being the Director of Benelux and Ireland at PayPal?

I have always found myself at the intersection of customer-centricity and technology; I have a degree in marketing management, but analytics interested me. I started my business consulting career: I helped businesses flip a product from internal orientation to customer orientation. Unwittingly, I entered the area/field of payments, and as of today, I have been working in it for the past 15 years. I was the first person to be hired at PayPal Belgium six years ago and helped them establish themselves in this region. Throughout the years at PayPal, I have been in different roles: from developing strategies for partners to leading the Benelux and Ireland region. 

What were the greatest challenges you faced as a Director?

At PayPal, there is no lack of opportunities. The challenge lies in smartly using limited available resources by focusing on the most important things. PayPal now doubles down on cryptocurrencies as we see a more stable regulatory environment and customer relevance. More recently, at the onset of COVID-19, I had to rebuild the team’s culture and keep that culture alive throughout the global crisis. That has been a big challenge, but it also energizes me the most. Customer orientation is important, but that gets done through the team, of course. 

How did you maintain the culture through COVID-19 times?

I have great internal allies who help me organize things for the team. With COVID-19, we miss out on the informal interactions, so it is important to structure them and make them more intense. PayPal really cares about its employees. We constantly check in on them; ask them if they are in hardship, or continue to work, etcetera. People need to take the time they need to get the basics right first. Otherwise, there is no way to perform sustainably over time.  

Shifting gears now: over the past few years, we have witnessed a growing interest in businesses going digital, especially in the past year. How important do you think it is for businesses to adopt this new “trend”?

I don’t think we can think in terms of a “trend” anymore, it is important, but it is also a necessity. If you set up a business now, being digital helps you ensure continuity in all your processes. It is your lifeline today. The advantage of digital is that you can scale it. If you are starting a company, you need to think about scaling and think big. Having digital technology from the start facilitates faster scaling. 

So, it is a must! 

Yes, it is. Another advantage is that it makes things simpler, as well. It is essential to offer a straightforward solution to your customers and give them the possibility to contact you easily, digitally. If you think about customer service, for instance, phone calls or even e-mails are not so effective anymore, it is easier to have a chat available. Digitalization also helps to focus on sales, e-commerce, among other things. 

It does! FEM-START is an ED-Tech solution to close the funding gap for female entrepreneurs. We are grateful and excited about this partnership between FEM-START and PayPal. What is your vision for this alliance?

First, it is important to understand the nature and the identity of PayPal as a company. We give people access to their money through technology. We believe it is a way to achieve more equality and inclusion by making the management and movement of money more accessible, secure, and affordable. More people have access to economic opportunities. Another core value of PayPal is innovation, and we have an entrepreneurial nature, so we encourage people to start their business. 

Based on these core values, a collaboration with an initiative such as FEM-START seems natural! There are still many challenges for women to combine different roles. They often have more difficulties accessing funding, so we really need to watch out and ensure that digitalization does not increase inequality. We are also supporting women internally at PayPal. We have active programs to promote female leadership and diverse leadership. It is what we live and breathes as a company, so we have knowledge and networks to share. 

Why do you think it is worthwhile to invest in female entrepreneurship? What are the advantages for investors and the community as a whole?

If you are trying to solve a problem, you would ask someone: would you leave out 50% or more of the potential? Of course not! By promoting female entrepreneurship, we are also tapping into creativity, sustainable results, and creating a society with a healthy bandwidth of equality and inequality. If half of the people are not participating, it is too unequal. Fundamentally, we should aim to have a healthy ecosystem that offers sufficiently equal opportunities, and that is, in the end, what produces the best results. Female entrepreneurship clearly has a big gap, even in The Netherlands, where many women work part-time when they become mothers. 

Besides motherhood, what do you think contributes to this gap?

Networking plays a crucial role, having informal connections. It is key, and many people who have access to a strong network are not even aware of it. For example, many men from these business networks inadvertently exclude women. They seem to be unaware that this creates exclusion. Furthermore, with the lockdown, there is also a risk of missing out on opportunities because, in a way, people who do not have a strong network suffer more. This also goes for mental health. People who are alone are having a harder time. It might mean that some things need to be reset. Some networks do not exist anymore, which creates an opportunity for building new ones. Again, it is crucial to give women access to these newly formed networks, as well. 

How can we bring more men on board to include female entrepreneurs? 

I think the first step is awareness. If men become aware, they can make simple actions to change this, also in digital networks. Another action is to promote women and not see it as a threat, because it is not. If companies and stakeholders in society stand up and speak about these issues, we can address them. But it starts with what you can do as an individual because, in the end, it is the people and leaders within companies who are assigning budgets, assigning people, setting up a structure, focusing on diversity, and so on. As an individual, you can have a huge impact. It takes time, it takes precise focus, but once it takes off, it can become really big, which changes the network. As an individual node, you can influence the whole network. 

Generally, women face difficulty when looking for investors for their businesses. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs that want to raise funds?

I would say think big and bold; it is what investors are looking for. Compared to 10 years ago, there is a lot of capital available, and there are really many great ideas. The supply and demand are at a whole different level, so show that you can be that next big company, but you need to demonstrate how you will generate revenue. How will you get cash and make money out of your idea? I would suggest showing mastery in how to get paid. Many companies do not think this through, and thinking about this deeply builds trust and shows that you are a solid team. If you address this dimension of numbers and finance, you build extra trust in your leadership quality, and it helps get not only funds and investments but also helps your business. 

How do you think start-ups can be helped to go to the next level financially?

As we discussed, if you build your company and use a digital backbone, you are ready to scale. I see many companies struggling with the scaling, and the excellent startups have thought this through, and they have the flexibility to test a lot, especially in different locations. Also, I would say think about geographically scaling. I have seen too many companies starting in one market and planning to expand in the next 2-3 years. I think that by doing this, you inhibit yourself from learning. It is better to learn sooner by testing the different markets simultaneously. Accessing a different market challenges your own perspective. It is a different culture. 

The second thing is to define KPIs which in the future will generate cash and revenue. You do not need to be profitable from the start, but you need to know your key indicator that will lead to that profitable and healthy position. We see all social media platforms not making money at first but gaining users because they know that they will monetize on that in step two.

That is great advice. Thank you, Joachim.

You are welcome! I am really excited to see how FEM-START will create this energy and network of female entrepreneurs. That is why I have been advocating to support this! 

By Azaina Shaikh and Paola Hasbun

Meet Lotte Engels, the Director of NBSO Barcelona, helping Dutch businesses’ in Spain

Meet Lotte Engels, the Director of NBSO Barcelona, helping Dutch businesses’ in Spain

By: Paola Hasbún

Lotte Engels is a corporate communication expert with years of experience in operations management and market research. After working as a Communication Officer at Océ Technologies and Operations Manager at Hewlett Packard, Engels ventured into business and became the Director of the Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO) in Barcelona, a Dutch governmental trade promotion network that enhances the trade between The Netherlands and Spain. Committed to promoting the connection between Dutch and Spanish businesspeople, Lotte is also the President of ‘The Circle,’ a very dynamic Dutch business association in Barcelona. In this interview, we talked about the Spanish market, the importance of building strong business relationships, and the opportunities COVID-19 might bring.


As the Director of the NBSO in Barcelona, I understand you are connecting Dutch companies to the relevant people in Spain…

Yes. At the NBSO, we assist Dutch companies that want to start their businesses in Spain. It can be either exporting, opening a factory, or setting up a branch office. We facilitate this process in many ways: we provide them with information about the market, inform them about the rules and regulations applicable in Spain, and most importantly, we can provide them with the right contacts and networks to break into the Spanish market.  

What would you advise Dutch entrepreneurs who want to scale-up their businesses and launch them in Spain? 

I would advise them to come to our support office or connect with the Dutch Government’s economic network in Spain. We are an external part of the embassy in Madrid, focusing on the regions of Aragón and Catalunya. I think it is a perfect entry point because whatever your business model is, we can help you to explore the market, the opportunities and to put you in contact with the right people; it is all for free since it is a service from the Dutch government to promote the export. 

Often, there are fewer female-founded businesses, and women are less represented in startup ecosystems. Is there a special focus or program for female entrepreneurs? 

Not per se, but I have a broad network of female entrepreneurs and people working to promote gender equality in business, so I can also connect women entrepreneurs with the right people. After I started at the NBSO, I soon noticed the gender gap, especially in the tech sector. You can see it at the events and congresses; fewer women participate. Luckily there are many local initiatives, like, for example, a professional women’s network and the STEM Women Congress in Barcelona. Many different people have contacted me regarding this topic, so I have been connecting them to promote gender equality. 

So there are good opportunities…

Absolutely, and hopefully, more Dutch entrepreneurs will internationalize and open their businesses in Spain. A colleague of mine at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs focuses on female entrepreneurship. She often mentions there is a huge potential for young female Dutch entrepreneurs who are not yet internationalizing. There is a big opportunity for Dutch female founders to take that step and to take that leap into internationalization. Whatever they do, they should be aware that there is a very interesting network of the Dutch government outside of the Netherlands. They can reach out to us, and we can help them with information and join events and connect them with the right people. I have an overview of Spain’s networks; relations and business connections are essential in this country.

Which markets are growing in Spain?

The tech industry is so broad; it can be Fintech, e-commerce, digitalization of events, etc. With COVID-19, digital transformation has become really important; many companies will have to do a digital transformation because of the current situation, so there is a good opportunity here. Moreover, the Spanish government is strongly focusing on digital transformation and putting many resources and efforts into it to be a good opportunity for Tech companies.  

And besides Tech, are there any other markets growing?

I would say everything related to sustainability. Whatever is going to be restructured, it will have to be done sustainably. From a government perspective, there is a strong focus on the green economy, circular economy, and sustainability in Spain. This means companies will have to comply and adjust their policies. Due to the COVID-19 situation, Spain got extra funds from the European Union, and they need to plan and spend it sustainably. This is a great opportunity, and it can be comprehensive, from the cancellation of electric vehicles to water management. 

What challenges do people change when investing or launching their businesses in Spain?

I would say to manage their expectations. An essential element is to build a network and have a strong business relationship with companies to be successful. It is important to invest in this business relationship and to understand that it can take time. It does not happen from one day to another. It’s not like you will enter the market one day and start having turnovers immediately… it will depend on the business model and how you want to approach your market. 

Do you have any tips for approaching the market?

We see a big tendency in Dutch companies approaching the market with local business partners, who are already settled in a specific sector. It is beneficial for both parties: the foreign or Dutch companies can bring a lot of added value by bringing a new product or service -which is good for the business portfolio -, and the Spanish business partners add the value of being already present in the market. By partnering with a local business, Dutch companies do not have to start working on entering the market by themselves. Many Dutch companies enter the Spanish market this way, and I think it’s a good and recommendable choice. 

It makes it easier… 

Yes. Of course, you can still enter the market by yourself if you have a good product and a good team, but you need to be aware that it will take time to build relationships and make people trust you; you need to put time into it. 

Are there any cultural differences in how to build that network and business relationships?

I think Spain is a bit more hierarchical than The Netherlands, so you need to have the right people at the table to make certain decisions. It is important to know this. Otherwise, you can spend a lot of time networking with people, but you need to have the right person in front of you for things to happen. 

Another difference is that in The Netherlands, we are used to people working part-time. In Spain, most people work full time, the whole part-time culture is not really present yet, and it is important to be aware of this. Before COVID-19, the flexible-hours and working from home once a week culture was not fully established in Spain. I think things will start to change now. 

Let’s hope so…

Yes, I think this would help women’s role in business, not only entrepreneurs, in adapting and managing their work-balance life better, because if you have stringent working rules, you have to adapt the personal part. That is not the way for me. One of the most important elements in a workplace is flexibility; to have the possibility to work from home and be more flexible so I can pick up my children from school. I think this flexibility is also important at a personal level.

In what sense? 

In the sense of having a supportive partner who is willing to give you the right to have the same opportunity to grow and develop yourself on a personal level… a partner who is also willing to take a step back and not just say: ‘this is my working schedule and you have to adapt to it.’ It’s about putting two working schedules next to each other and seeing how you will adapt to it together. These were the most important elements in all the roles that I have performed so far. This flexibility, balance, and equality helped me take the steps that I have made, which helped me develop in the roles I have performed. To have a flexible work environment can be as important as the salary, and on both sides, you need to have the flexibility.

Meet Taryn Andersen, co-founder and CEO of Impulse 4 Women

Meet Taryn Andersen, co-founder and CEO of Impulse 4 Women

By Paola Hasbun and Azaina Shaikh

Taryn is a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman with more than 10 years of finance and venture capital experience. Passionate about gender equality and initiatives to support women, Taryn is the co-founder and CEO of Impulse4Women, a Global NPO that connects female-led techpreneurs and social impact projects funders and investors.

What is your story, and how did you end up founding Impulse 4 Women?
I worked in private banking for 14 years, and in 2013 I decided to become an entrepreneur. I did a master’s at the IESE business school, and they pushed us to become entrepreneurs; that’s how I started. In the beginning, I was in charge of digital marketing in a company. As I didn’t know much about technology, I went to boot camps as a mentor. I started to love technology, and in one of these boot camps, I networked and joined TH Capital, which was fundraising the Fund II in Barcelona. In 2017 I was offered to be a General Partner (GP). And to my surprise, I found that there were only four female GPs in Spain!

What was your initial reaction to this finding?
I couldn’t believe it! My friends and I wondered where all the amazing women with start-ups and businesses were and why they were not coming forth. Something had to be done. After some brainstorming, we decided to start a non-profit organization focused on women in their interest.

And that’s how Impulse 4 Women started…
Yes. In the beginning, we were supposed to be a matching platform. However, today we are at a market connection phase, as we offer many services, like mentoring sessions and pitching sessions. We also host webinars. At Impulse 4 Women, we provide comprehensive services that cover everything from the initial stage of a startup to helping it grow to a fully “grown” startup; we support startups at any stage. Furthermore, connecting startups with correct investors is a major aspect of Impulse 4 Women. So little by little, we started scouting for startups in Spain, and there weren’t more than 250-300, out of which very few were co-founded by women or had women CEOs. We then started to search for the European market. There’s no cost for women to be part of Impulse 4 Women. Within the time, we started receiving applications from women from Pakistan, Lebanon, South Africa, and worldwide.

It became global.
It did. In the beginning, we did not know any investors in those countries. We had two options: either they could not participate in the program or close agreements with public and private international organizations to get to these countries. We didn’t have access to female entrepreneurs and investors, and that’s what we did. In 2017 we realized that it was difficult to write to investors when it came to social impact projects and apply for the funds. This led us to set an ambassador in different countries of the world who recruits and coordinates a group of female business angels and advises them on how to invest in female-led tech startups. In this way, we have more funding for the startups in the program.

Which industries do you primarily focus on?
Technology. Our investors are focused on technology; it is a niche. With COVID-19, the technology industry is growing massively. We are doing what we were supposed to be doing 10 years from now regarding lifestyle habits regarding technology. Often women are underrepresented in the tech industry. What is your view on this? I would say that since 2017 more women are coming into the tech market and becoming entrepreneurs. Some women have certain biases, such as, if they did not study engineering or IT, they could not build a tech startup. This is not correct because as long as you solve a problem in the market and there is a need for your product or solution, you can have good profits and a good team; you will have an investment.

What do you focus on to evaluate a startup?
It is useful to know what investors look for in startups before investing. Normally, most of us ask: what is your business model? Since you are solving a problem or a need in the market, we will ask you for your business model, financial statements, and planning to profit from it. However, we first focus on the team. Most of the problems we have in our portfolio as a VC is because the partners or founders of a startup are not going along together, not because of their business model.

What are the characteristics of a successful team?
I think there are a lot of important characteristics, and we have metrics set to measure them. One is to have a clear agreement between partners and have it in writing, which clearly states how much equity they will have, who will be CEO, who will make the strategy, investment decisions, etc. Another important aspect is to have a diverse team with different mindsets. For example, a team of three engineers might need a marketing and sales specialist before going to the market.

Do you see a difference in the performance of a team depending on their gender composition?
A mixed team is much more effective; I think it is the best option. If I see a male-only team, I always
advise them to add a woman to it. She will see things they don’t, more details and long term goals
than maybe they are overseeing. Men can also complement a female-only team by pushing and making
some things happen faster.

Women, in general, receive less funding than men. Why do you think this is the case?
I think sometimes women don’t show themselves enough, or as much as men. I also think women sometimes have difficulties selling. Maybe the way women talk to investors is different. Additionally, Venture Capitalists always want to make a profit regardless of gender. One of the reasons women get less funding is related to the sector of their building; women tend to focus more on social impact. We have over 3,400 startups in our community; 70% are focused on creating social impact. Women tend to be more focused on building a community, how to improve the ecosystem and decrease climate change, which can create less profit or have longer returns.

How has COVID-19 impacted women entrepreneurs?
Of course, women working in the tourist or hospitality sector have been struck by the crisis. Still, all the women and startups focusing on data analytics, big data, tech have a great opportunity. Moreover, now it is a good opportunity to network: as everything is online, you have easier access to people and attend virtual events than before COVID-19 times. It is now easier to scale up and make companies global; we have to stay positive!

Meet Désirée van Boxtel co-founder of Karmijn Kapitaal in Amsterdam

Meet Désirée van Boxtel co-founder of Karmijn Kapitaal in Amsterdam

– by S.Cannegieter

Karmijn Kapitaal is an investment fund founded in 2010 by three women, whose admiration and perseverance in entrepreneurship lead them to invest in gender-neutral Dutch SMEs.

Building and growing companies are Désirée’s forte, and this is a peek into getting to know ⅓ of the growing forces behind Karmijn Kapitaal.

What was your journey leading up to being the founder of Karmijn Kapitaal?

After +15 years of private equity and entrepreneurship experience, I thought it was time for a new leaf. I  started my career at ABN AMRO, worked independently, became an entrepreneur, and then sold my (interior design) company successfully in 2007, and now I am  ⅓ of Karmijn Kapitaal since 2010. I met Cillian and Hadewych during our tenure in banking. I joined forces to do it differently, not the status quo differently but differently in all aspects of the business. From leadership skills, people, perspective, priorities to diversity, in who we are, personality, and what we bring to the table differently. We all have a shared goal and vision. We believed we could, so we did, and with the help of a mentor together., I am a true believer in having a mentor in your life. I admire FEMpreneurhulp, the initiative of FEM-START, and the reason we partnered with the mentoring program. I believe in having different mentors in your life. You evolve in thinking and hearing different perspectives and experiences as the phrase goes in Dutch Durf te vragen!

What is Karmijn Kapitaal’s core value for SMEs’ investment? Our industry is a very high risk, short term, high returns, value ganache, money-driven with sparingly gender diversity, and equality in the industry. Our two-way goals are to make the world more gender diverse and a sustainable one and make an excellent return for our investors at the same time. We want to invest private equity as it should be. We want to change and balance and bring about actual gender diversity change versus just saying it and leading by example. Investors trust us with millions of their funds to make a ROI for them, and we, in turn, critically look at SMEs that we can invest capital in to make them scale-up and grow faster but sustainable.

We make a difference in the way we invest capital. We look at the company’s person, the sustainability of their service and product, and how that will mitigate and aid sustainability and gender balance in the future and the world. 

How did you hear about FEM-START and FEMpreneurhulp? What was your first thought and impression? I saw a post from Marian on LinkedIn and sent her a message. Dare to ask, back to my motto. We at Karmijn Kapitaal believe in diversity. We believe our investors, who trust us with their money, do not want us to be activists. They want us to make sage investments for returns on investments. However, as women founders and entrepreneurs ourselves, we have a keen interest in making it easier for female entrepreneurs to get funding/investment for their (start-up/scale-up) company. Because we strongly believe in helping each other elevate professionally, and we women need help. Hence, with that notion, every potential investment in a female-founded company, we want to actively act as a catalyst if we can and are keen to help as it’s always in the back of our minds, albeit we are a gender-neutral firm. We are creating a more positive narrative versus the negative in the world. Therefore, these two initiatives’ existence and cause spoke to us in all these aspects.  

Do you believe there is the slow progress of women in private equity? YES, it is moving forward, quiet, and steady. Like in every industry, we have to keep moving forward and not go two steps back. But always be one step forward and not stagnate. 

What are the challenges you see women entrepreneurs encounter more compared to men?

The biggest pitfall is wanting to do everything by yourself. If you don’t have the skillset for something, ask for help, hire someone better at it, and where it comes easier. This way, you can focus on what you are good at instead of creating a prototype yourself. You have the idea, get someone to create the prototype. It is also partly due to the network, men tend to have a broader network than women, and your network makes it so much easier, honestly, just as with anything you do. Ask yourself the first and challenging question. ‘What do I want with my business? Do I want to grow and scale up my business or become an entrepreneur? When you know that answer, everything will come naturally, or it won’t. It’s a personal decision everyone has to make. Nobody is good at everything. Ask for help, and focus on what you are good at. 

How do (start-up/scale-up) entrepreneurs combat this current crisis of not being able to network face-to-face, attend events, and get face value? 

We have a lot ‘more’ time (minus the zoom online calls) than traveling, so see it as an opportunity. The majority of the world is operating from their home base, so this is also an opportunity to strategize and start sending emails to people you admire and would like to know better! A busy person would now be more approachable for a 15minute pick your brain call/virtual coffee than meeting in person. It involves fewer logistics, but it can also mean they are snowed in with emails, concise, explicit with focus, and your why and how.  

What are exciting businesses that Karmijn Kapitaal are open to explore and invest in? We believe that everything can be interesting. We have an unobstructed view of all industries and business concepts. Our added value is not in the entrepreneurial area of business. Our expertise lies in the blueprint of a start-up and existing company.

Female entrepreneurs tend to be more socially-conscious and gravitate towards solving real-world problems than their male counterparts. It is not appealing to investors as it can bring less profit. What has your experience as a founder of an investment fund been like? 

I am not sure if we would agree with the statement. We feel that we can’t generalize women and men. Everybody is different. We know, and research has often shown that good gender-balanced companies create more value, including profit. We focus on proving that point.

How can we attract more investors to tech companies seeking to create social impact and solve real-world problems?

Tech is becoming more and more mainstream. That does and will attract more mainstream investors too, including social impact-oriented ones. The sector could help itself by presenting itself less ‘technical.’

It has been suggested that men and highly patriarchal build the tech industry. Women “wedge” themselves into these spaces to fulfill the diversity quota.  How can we bring about a radical, systemic change? How can women “run tech” and not “work at tech patriarchy”? 

I am not very familiar with the tech sector. In general, though, I believe that everybody is ‘afraid’ of what one doesn’t know or understand. I think that part of the answer would require to train men to understand how unconscious bias works and how diversity could add value. Visionary male CEOs, investors, and the like need to stand up and are required to install programs for inclusion training in their companies.

Gender diversity is a core value of Karmijn Kapitaal. In what ways does bringing men on board with the issues faced by women help bring about change?

We see and know that most entrepreneurs see precisely the same, that the combination of diverse leadership styles (‘male’ and ‘female’ if you want) or skills pays off in companies. For example, the combination of people taking risks and other people who want to manage them, result-oriented people (sales, sales, sales!), and managers that are people-oriented, long term and short term, etc.

What inspires you most to continue to achieve what you want?

My admiration for people that can create to envision an idea and pull through. The sparkle in their eye, their eagerness about their passion, product, service, or start-up. Their entrepreneurial spirit. Every meeting with a potential startup or entrepreneur, I am enthralled by their motivation and dedication. It is very inspiring, and that fuels me in my core as a critical, creative thinker. 

Last takeaway for women (tech)preneurs, entrepreneurs, and the community?

Continue to speak up and take the lead, look for help, and dare to ask questions!