Minister Ploumen supports female entrepreneurship at international conference Rotterdam

Rotterdam, 06/03/2015: SMO (Stichting Maatschappij en Onderneming) and CARE Nederland have united international entrepreneurs, researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders to discuss both the barriers and success factors with regards to female entrepreneurship at the conference The Power of Entreprenerial Women – Worldwide. Also Minister Ploumen (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) shared her vision regarding the future of female entrepreneurship.

In addition, Minister Ploumen officially received the first edition of the SMO publication The Economic Power of the Entrepreneurial Woman, in light of International Women’s Day.

Closing the gender gap remains priority for a great variety of parties. This becomes apparent by the large amount of both national and international initiatives and organisations around the theme of female entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, coordination and joint combination of forces appear to be missing, while women can learn so much from each other.

By means of uniting entrepreneurs (like Ellen Tacoma from Women on Wings; Caroline van Dullemen from WorldGranny), policymakers and international researchers (e.g. Lisa Witter) the first step towards developing a vision for the future was taken. This vision is supposed to inspire new partnerships that will eventually boost female entrepreneurship worldwide.

There is definitely room for improvement. Namely, the conference clearly revealed some barriers, one of which regards the attraction of funds.

At the moment there is a funding gap of 320 million US Dollar for female entrepreneurs worldwide. Flexible methods for capital investment are therefore required. ‘One of the possibilities would be crowd funding.’ Says Peter Heijen, founder of Lendahand.

In addition, female entrepreneurs can anticipate better, because: ‘Women often start looking for financing when they are already in need of money; then it is often too late.’ according to Nicolette Loonen (Founder VERA Community).

On the other hand, there is a shortage of female investors. Men often overlook women for which the attraction of funds for female entrepreneurs gets obstructed.

Also, women appear to hide themselves whilst they should make themselves more visible. ‘Get on that stage; take that interview. Female entrepreneurs have to be seen.’ says Josette Dijkhuizen (founder Krachtbedrijf).

Also Minister Ploumen asks: ‘Where are the women on my trade missions?’ That’s a shame. Women earn only 10 percent of the global income and own only 1 percent in stock, whilst they would be better entrepreneurs compared to men, if they would get the change.

‘Female entrepreneurs do business more sustainably and sensibly compared to men.’ the Minister emphasizes. Investing in female entrepreneurs is therefore not only the right thing to do but also a smart thing.

‘Women are social entrepreneurs.’ says Josette Dijkhuizen. By means of investing in women, everybody benefits because women invest in education, family and society.

Women can accelerate the transition to successful entrepreneruship by putting themselves out there and by taking risks. ‘Courage is a muscle, it needs to be trained.’ emphasizes Madeleine van der Steege (author and entrepreneur).

During this conference a new movement has been established in which existing and new networks and entrepreneurs find each other in order to boost female entrepreneurship worldwide.