On Tuesday 30th of January 2018, we had the pleasure of organising the first event under my Presidency at EYIF on a topic that I dearly care about: Women in Entrepreneurship. We hosted the event at the European Parliament and organised this conference in partnership with the United States Mission to the European Union and MEP Angelika Mlinar.
At EYIF we have supported women in entrepreneurship since the very first moment and I must say that it has always been naturally:
- We are proud of having two highly successful women on our Board: Sheila Marcelo – Founder and CEO of care.com, Anne Glover – CEO of Amadeus Capital Partners;
- We hosted the first ever All women Panel with the key participation of Neelie Kroes – former Commissioner for the Digital Agenda;
- We created the first ever EU wide Female Entrepreneur Award of the Year with the Europioneers awards – won by Ida Tin, Founder of Clue, who has now raised 20 million with a solution used in 180 countries with 2 million users;
- Kristina Tsvetanova, who has won the 2017 “Raising Innovator” Award at EU’s Women Innovator competition and was pushed by us into the EU dimension back in 2015 by participating at our Innopitch competition;
- Our European Young Innovator for Year 2017, who was present at the event, Emerald de Leeuw, and who we hope will be the next success on this list.
However, the context is now different. I feel that we, young innovators and entrepreneurs from Europe, need to make a clear statement: the new world is here! The change of mindset that we have always promoted needs to be accelerated and we need to integrate new priorities. When me, a man, 34 years old, read that we still see an all-male fundraising CEO event (i.e. the annual President Club Charitable Trust meeting) at the heart of an open and modern city like London, I feel there is a disconnection. And as a leader, I want to change it.
This initiative is the follow-up of my presence at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India in November 2017. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the US Mission to the European Union and the US Government for having chosen me among the 500 entrepreneurs who were part of the Global delegation. It was a great experience. My intention is to now transform a Summit into actions, to have an impact.
We had the honour to gather together different entrepreneurs and role models who spoke about different challenges, stories and opportunities:
Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament, part of ALDE, Vice-Chair of the Delegation for the US and a member of the International Trade Committee.
Christina Tomlinson, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, United States Mission to the European Union.
Itxaso Del Palacio Aguirre, Investment Partner at Microsoft Ventures.
Eva Garcia Ramos, CEO E-Health Technical Solutions.
Aline Muylaert Co-Founder CitizenLab. Aline, who runs an e-citizenship startup at the age of 24.
Emerald de Leeuw, CEO Eurocomply.
Delila Kidanu, External Relations Manager at Think Young.
Rebecca Weicht, Co-Founder Bantani Education and YTILI fellow.
Isidro Laso Ballesteros, Head of Startup Europe at the European Commission.
Linking to the transatlantic perspective we envisioned with this event, the US has the highest index in women entrepreneurship and in Europe more and more women founders are rising to the top. So my question is, what can we learn from each other to accelerate this process?
This event was a clear starting point: Women in entrepreneurship will be one of my priorities in my mandate as President of EYIF. I am definitely convinced that we can have an impact, together!
We will be launching a set of initiatives with EYIF this year that need your support, your involvement and your contribution. After hearing all the great ideas, passions, challenges, and requests, we will be working around four areas :
- Roadshow on Access to finance for Women Founders, across Europe with Top VCs;
- A programme to select, train and promote Women Entrepreneurs Role Models across Europe;
- Support and Empower existing mentoring Women Entrepreneurs Networks;
- Work hand-in-hand with policy makers to finance policies promoting women entrepreneurship, in particular in view of the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).
We count on you! Stay tuned, you will hear from us. And from me.