In Amsterdam & beyond – initiatives aredesigned to support women entrepreneurs

In the spotlight: Some inspiring women entrepreneurs from Netherlands

The amazing fact is that in a decade, Netherlands accounted for 62% more female entrepreneurs, according to the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK) reported on International Women’s Day. Now the Netherlands has more than 700,000 companies founded by women entrepreneurs, as per the SHE LEADS Dashboard 2023. And it shows that these companies make significant contribution to solving major societal issues: companies led by women are more impact-oriented and hold the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in high regard.

Focusing on the Dutch landscape for high-growth firms, it shows that while the number of women entrepreneurs is increasing, they are still in a minority. But, most importantly on a positive note, researchers say that the scene will change; entrepreneurs are embedded in a cultural and institutional context, which is constantly evolving.

Here are some prominent women entrepreneurs from the Netherlands. 

> Ilona van Wegen, Founder, GetEase

Ilona van Wegen is the Founder of GetEase, which is a dedicated platform for lifestyle services – including massage, manicure, yoga, personal training and more. A result- orientated sales and marketing leader, she has a reputation for strategic-thinking, commercial pragmatism and collaborative leadership.

Starting her career as a Category Manager in Heineken, she has worked for various companies, including CS Digital Media and BST Company; and she spent some part of her career in Google in various roles. She is also a member of the advisory board in Volumental and Adcombi.

> Lynn Burgman, Founder, The Gift Label

Lynn Burgman is the founder of The Gift Label, which is an Amsterdam-based lifestyle brand. It was with a strong passion to create products that are loved, that she founded the company. Basically it was to create warm, original, well-designed products that are ‘fun’ to buy (both to give and to receive!).

Before starting The Gift Label, she worked in various departments, including sales (Blue Glory), an account manager (DBM Bjorn Borg), and an agent/distributor (LYNN Fashion agency).

> Fridah Ntarangwi – Kimathi, Founder & Managing Partner, Zidi Circle

Fridah Ntarangwi – Kimathi is the Founder and Managing Partner at Zidi Circle, a platform that promotes inclusive entrepreneurship and financing for the diaspora entrepreneurs and SMEs in Africa.

She is backed by sixteen years of experience in the financial sector – ranging from entrepreneurial financing, impact investments management, crowdfunding, portfolio management and so on. She is also a business coach and has the track record of supporting several startups to scale up. She has actively participated in migrants and diaspora engagement activities within the European Union, in the recent past.

Supported by her leadership, Zidi Circle has collectively graduated hundreds of diaspora entrepreneurs with chapters in the Netherlands, Germany, Ghana and Kenya. Many awards have come her way – like she was awarded by the EMEN project of the European Union (EU) for promoting inclusive entrepreneurship in the EU and was bestowed the Duisenberg title ‘Woman in Finance’ that was awarded in conjunction with QS Quacquarelli Symonds in the UK.

> Marleen Basart, Founder, BitesWeLove

Marleen Basart is the Founder and Director of BitesWeLove, which is an Amsterdam start-up that offers healthy nut-based snacks in six flavours – wrapped in a PP-based (Polypropeen) monofoil.

She started her career as a category manager at one of the largest supermarkets in the Netherlands – Albert Heijn. Soon after, she founded her first company FoodWeLove in 2012, before she launched BitesWeLove in 2014.

> Estelle Roux, Co-Founder & CEO, Mentor Jam

Estelle Roux is the Co-founder & CEO at Mentor Jam, a cloud-based mentoring programme delivery platform. Her goal is to build diverse environments where ‘people- first’ cultures can thrive and flourish. Her background spans through more than twenty- three years with a rich experience in International HR. She spent most of her career, working in the FinTech, IT, and Banking industries. She was nominated for a Woman in Tech award in the Diversity Category in 2017.

> Robin Laird, Founder, Health Curious

Robin Laird is the Founder of Health Curious, which is a platform that offers tracking
tools and lifestyle support for bariatric surgery patients.
She wears many hats. She is a fashion model turned biochemistry master and a
certified health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is also an
alumnus of the University of Southern California and Amsterdam University College,
where she obtained her undergraduate degrees in Public Relations and Biomedical

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