Thursday, 04 August 2016 11:31

Nice example to follow? A workshop for beta women about entrepreneurship.

Written by 


Scientists are not quite accustomed to entrepreneurship. A career normally will be find in jobs at universities or in R&D departments in private companies or NGO’s. Although, there are examples of women managing their own science based business.
Researchers In Science for Equality (RISE, the network of female beta scientists in Leiden the Netherlands) and TheNextWomen (a network of successful female entrepreneurs) organised together a workshop about entrepreneurship based on science. 30 women, most students, were present of the Bio Science Park and the Technical Universities Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam.

The structure of the workshop was:
1. Experienced scientific female entrepreneurs told their stories and lessons learned
2. Women pitched their ideas
3. A lot of feedback and conclusions were given and discussed.

Lessons Learned by experienced scientific entrepreneurs



In front from left to right: Brummelhuis, Meulman en Buitelaar

5 things are important for a successful business
Simone Brummelhuis of Thenextwomen told 5 things are important: 1. entrepreneurial spirit 2. investors and 3. clients. (Simone was co-owner of Iens, the restaurant site. See Iens herself in our 100Mirrors site) 4th perseverance, because a starter never only meets success. The growth model mostly is: two steps forward, one step back. And 5th Connect: involve as much people as possible with your plans, especially experts, from whom you can learn.

Choose to remain a scientist combine it with making profit
Jacqueline Meulman, Professor in Applied Statistics and co-director of the Leiden University Centre of Data Science told: primary to remain a scientist, but developed with her group, marketable advanced software for multi-dimensional data analysis in connection with the Chicago based SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), now purchased by IBM. Since 1990 the sales turnover is quite stabile a 800.000 dollar a year. For the in total 11 million dollars, she could hire 6 extra Ph.D. students and a postdoc per year. This helps sciences a big step further. The intellectual ownership of the developed and sold software stays in the hand of the Leiden university, by the way.

Choose a good conflict
Nettie Buitelaar runs with her Buitelaar Biotech Business Limited with 3 other people the company BiosanaPharma, in the role of Chief Business Officer. Their product: a production method for certain medicines ten- to twenty time cheaper than others. After a conflict with a higher placed person, in a former function in the ‘best job ever’, she bargained a redundancy compensation. Her triumph was the immediately offer of 6 new jobs. Her message: Know yourself, dare to take a risk. The world is bigger than you think. Grab your chances, don’t be afraid and have fun!

Choose what is really important for you?
A different story is that of the American Globetrotter and (ethical) hacker Melanie Rieback. Arrived in the Netherlands, she became, at a quite young age, a teacher Computer Science at the VU University. Then she travelled some more countries and came back as head of the system security of the ING bank. When a safety incident happened, she wanted to look behind the systems of the supplier. It was all kept as a 'black box' to her. Plus a good friend died of cancer. She then quit her job- because: what is important in life?- and started Not for profit Radically Open Security. An innovative new business model where 90% of the profits tax-free goes to an open source foundation NL net. 10% go to an employee profit sharing scheme, in which the secretary accumulates profit-sharing rights as quickly as the CEO. They develop safety testing programs for companies and NGO’s. After two years, their turnover is half a million euro. And Melanie can follow her passions.


Melanie Rieback: Radically Open Security

Pitches, questions and answers
Four young scientists pitched their idea for a business in three minutes with questions for the experienced entrepreneurs.

  • How do I get clients?
  • How can they find my business and offer?
  • How can I further develop my product

The answers gave food to new thinking.

  • What problem do you want to solve with your product or service? Without problems No market!
  • Don’t limit yourself with a totally designed product or service on forehand. Turn it around: find out what your potential clients want and then you are going to build things up. The best ideas often are not yours. Talk to a lot of people. The best ideas come from these conversations.


  • (CH; photografie André van Haasteren)

The total blog in Dutch 

Another nice project to follow of Rise is Room for women in senate chamber 8th of March 2016

Read 6506 times Last modified on Friday, 05 August 2016 07:20

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.

You can easily accept or reject the cookies on this site by choosing one of the following