FEM-START Up Awards: Women who dare

FEM-START Up Awards: Women who dare

Written by Paola Hasbun

Watching women come together with a collective intention is a powerful experience. I went to the FS not knowing what to expect, and not knowing that I would leave feeling extremely inspired. The room was full of excited women entrepreneurs ready to make a difference and share their ideas; ready to pitch. How do you summarize your idea, added value, and years of hard work in 3 minutes?


Barbara Rogoski has the answer to this question. She can teach you how to show investors and the jury what they are looking for: a visionary, confident speaker who believes in her idea and clearly describes how it can improve the world. And that’s exactly what we saw next! 9 powerful female founders who dared to make a difference and create scalable, sustainable companies with positive social impact. They want to make things better for everyone: create plastic-free skincare, extend clothing’s lifecycle, and recycle and re-use human hair. Their focus is on creating more inclusive workplaces and societies, reducing burn-out rates by measuring performance differently, and supporting each other through a mentoring platform. These female entrepreneurs want to eradicate allergies in children, democratize digital innovation, and bring online dating offline to increase connection in a world that is losing its essence behind screens and computers. These are women who dare. They share a passion to make a difference, to not accept the status quo, a passion for making societies better.


As I sat there, waiting for Joachim Goyvaerts -Director of Paypal- to announce the winner, I realized they’ve all won. They stood up against the odds, they crossed the many barriers that women face when starting a business, and they made it happen. Getting funding is one of the most crucial parts of setting up a business, and unfortunately, women have way less access to funding than their male counterparts. When women become entrepreneurs, they make their families, their communities, and entire societies flourish. Why are we then not giving more funding to women-founded companies? Fortunately, Marian Spier and Sandra van der Pal created FEM-START to close the funding gap for female entrepreneurs and launched an educational module for women on how to raise funding.  Yes, because they also dared. They are making a difference.


The journey of entrepreneurship is not easy- that’s for sure. A 3-minute pitch does not reflect all the hard work behind the idea, or the effort put in setting up a start-up and getting your first customers -it certainly doesn’t. But one thing is for sure: you are not alone in the process. FEM-START is here to support you. There is a whole community of entrepreneurs and businesswomen who are willing to walk the journey with you, advise you, and support you to make it to the top. Because when women support each other and come together, the whole village flourishes. So what will you dare next?



How do you manage a company?

Management skills can be defined as specific attributes or skills that executives must have to complete specific tasks in an organization. That includes performing business functions in the organization, avoiding crises, and resolving problems quickly when they occur. Management skills can be developed through learning and practical experience as a manager. These skills help managers establish contact with their colleagues and know how to treat subordinates properly, thus facilitating activities in the company.

Good management skills are essential for any company to be successful and achieve its goals. Management and leadership skills are often used interchangeably because they involve planning, decision-making, problem-solving, communication, delegation, and time management. Good managers are not always good leaders. In addition to leadership, the critical function is to ensure the cohesion of all parts of the organization. Without this integration, various problems can occur, and failures are likely to happen. From senior leaders to mid-level supervisors and first-level managers, management skills are essential for all positions and levels of the company.




 How to attract investment for your company.

Learn to prepare a good pitch and present your business. The pitch or pitching is a term that comes from “sales pitch” or “sales speech.” It is a brief presentation of an idea for a project. Although it is characterized by its shortness (between 5-10 minutes), the objective is to show the full potential of the idea, what it is, and how an entrepreneur could develop their business successfully. For this reason, it is essential to have tangible information. A fundamental aspect of a good pitch is knowing how to keep the attention of investors and arouse their interest. In a few minutes, it should be as evocative as it is precise. How you present your pitch will depend on the type of project and the investors you show it to. It is essential to know that we are not only offering a business but also selling it. It’s important to keep in mind that we may not be able to sell what we have in hand. Still, if your business left a mark in the presentation, it may be that in the future, possibilities of collaboration with other companies will arise out of that pitch presentation.


Mentor spotlight: Muthumari Duraisamy

Mentor spotlight: Muthumari Duraisamy

Muthumari Duraisamy is a lovable mother and finance executive who worked in global roles in many countries so far. I hold high interest not only in finance but also in strategy, operations, and innovation. Since I worked in scale-up businesses within multi-billion international companies, I developed my skills to setup a new business. My life goal was to start a school for under privileged and I started mentoring students in 2009. Later, I realized that the classrooms are not enough to lift their life, and my goal turnout to be a school of entrepreneurs. I wanted to develop my entrepreneurial skills in different businesses through formal education and mentoring. This led me to do Executive MBA in Paris and started mentoring entrepreneurs in France and now in The Netherlands.


What is your story and what led you to your current job?

Passion towards business and people is the key driver for my career success. Helping others developed me as a problem solver and a solution provider. I always have the drive to push myself out of my comfort zone and failures are my highest motivation as it taught me lessons to succeed.


What is the biggest lesson you learned in your years of working?

I have learned to be curious, flexible, open, and honest towards whatever I did. Having a genuine interest in people and the business helped me. I also learned helping and empowering others not only inspired people but also unlocked many potential leaders and entrepreneurs around me.


What is one thing you still really want to do in the future?

Professionally, I want to reinvent the way finance team provide support in an organization, through entrepreneurial drive and by developing more finance leaders. Personally, I want to open a school for entrepreneurs as mentioned above.


Looking back, what is one thing you would do different?

I would have become an entrepreneur, created my own company and helped more people.


What would you advise women starting their journeys in the entrepreneurial space?

To think of innovative businesses and operating models rather than conventional ones. Provide solution for your customers rather than a product or service. Innovative and high customer centric companies have always been successful. Be up to date on the market trend by connecting with people, attend webinars and conferences. Never hesitate to reach out to people, out of 100, if 10 people respond, it is a success. Develop a “fail fast” mindset, do not be afraid of failures, learn from it and take calculative risks.


What is the reason you joined FEMpreneurhulp?

Mentoring female entrepreneurs and giving back to society provides me a sense of purpose, this also leads me to achieve my lifetime goal.


What are common challenges women face in the startup world and how can we tackle them?

1.Building trust with investors and customers is highly important. To tackle this, present your ideas with confidence, only 3 unique points of your product / service / solution to differentiate. Big stories never help. Make them understand how serious you are and do not feel shy to promote yourself.

  1. Funding, think beyond your country / industry and explore globally & beyond your network.
  2. Network, women lack network compared with men, so create an ecosystem of your supporters.
Mentor spotlight: Mascha Mooy

Mentor spotlight: Mascha Mooy

Mascha Mooy is a consultant, speaker and author. With a no-nonsense mentality she tackles problems at the core. Her specializations are burn-outs, leadership and successful entrepreneurship. All of these strengths come together in her business Bye Bye Burnout.

About Mascha

In earlier career Mascha experienced a burnout herself, when unfortunately no structured help was available to get back fast on track. She saw the topic of burnout was becoming a challenge for entrepreneurs, corporations and employees, and also an opportunity as an entrepreneur. With her research and new knowledge she created unique solutions for all parties; not just focusing on the structured recovery and integration, but also on prevention.

Bye Bye Burnout has grown under her leadership into a revolutionary and “controversial” burnout prevention organisation in the Netherlands, serving as key adviser for the “SME’s in the Netherlands” and helping organizations with 50-700 employees everywhere in the country. She is frequently invited as a speaker on the subject at events and in-company workshops.

Mascha is also a proud winner of the Piper Heidsieck Leading Ladies Award 2018, Top 40 under 40, Top 25 most creative Dutch entrepreneurs and known as a woman who knows her walk & talk. Her entrepreneurial vision is one of a kind combined with a daring & disruptive mindset, which she passionately loves sharing with other women. Besides that, the documentary that Mascha was featured in as an entrepreneur for the Dutch tv NPO/PowNed was a true achievement. In 2020 her first managementboek was a huge success. It explains burnout and work related stress and how employers can tackle this.


What have you learned in your entrepreneurial career?

Anything is possible. Don’t let anybody tell you that something isn’t possible!


What is one thing you still really want to do in your entrepreneurial career?

To become a teacher / lecturer in my field of expertise at Stanford University in the USA.


Looking back, what is one thing you would do different?

I would start with online courses and social media a little earlier. I missed the boat with online courses.


What would you advise women starting their journeys in the entrepreneurial space?

Be true to your own core values and quirkiness. I am loud, hysterical and out there in a market where everybody is enjoying yoga and mindfulness. I hate that, but I am the black sheep in the burnout community. Luckily, you don’t see the dirt on black sheep but on the white ones instead 😉 Because I do everything my way, I have the right fans and costumers.


What is the reason you joined FEMpreneurhulp?

Basically to share my knowledge, and I support Marian in her work.


What are common challenges women face in the startup world and how can we tackle them according to you?

Not being taken seriously. Prove them wrong! I experienced this myself and look at me now 🙂 I am still the only one that made it to Silicon Valley, no Dutch man in my field of expertise was able to!