NAME: Carmen Breeveld
COUNTRY: The Netherlands
BACKGROUND: Governance University + Human Resource Management
POSITION: Owner, Manager, and non-executive board member and CEO positions.
My Background and Career
For over 20 years I am an entrepreneur. I started the first HR Recruitment Agency ‘Team Care’ in 1996. For that I was rewarded with the Black Business Women Award in 2003. This price opened up a variety of new areas and opportunities. A luxurious choice though: continuing my core business, do something else or pick up additional activities?
I did the latest. I was an advisory board member at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, for stimulating new forms of entrepreneurship amongst women, ethnic minorities and youngsters. Besides that I was chosen as chair woman of the Federation of Business Women, an umbrella organisation linked to VNO/NCW (the national Employers organisation). As for the (fiscal)regulations for entrepreneurial women, the federation booked successes a.o.: paid maternity leave and the right to be able take out loans or do tax declaration (without the signature of a husband or father ;)
Caused by social media nowadays, a lot of resistance occurs to umbrella organisations and traditional memberships, based on obligatory contributions. Through internet, female entrepreneurs are looking amongst the increasing number of network activities, to those who will enlarge their business opportunities, without the payment of a fixed contribution. Female entrepreneurs are not yet automatically part of the database for invitations to international trade delegations of the Ministry. So I started Women Entrepreneurs Netherlands. By organising out- and in going trade delegations for female entrepreneurs, we stimulate the growth of female business.
My second business now is Marketing Mediation. I support innovative businesses with the market introduction of new products/services and possible financing issues.
It is a privilege and I am grateful, to be able to pick up this professional intermediate role, through my huge (inter)national network
It is nice to have board member and advisory functions, besides being on top of the processes of your own enterprise. It is quite busy either! To be able helping a lot of people through my build up networks, is a great advantage, though. I have a special place in my heart for high educated youngsters with a migrant background. Although their tests does not give any ground for a too low advice, I still see so often they are being advised to a follow up of a practical secondary school education, instead of scientific learning. That is why I participate as chairwomen of an alumni foundation New Urban Collective (NUC). They want to be role models for youngsters while guiding young high potentials to university studies. I present workshops Entrepreneurial Skills, in one of their programs: ‘Ambition for Success’. The participants develop a business plan and do research if they are willing to be an entrepreneur. The ones who implement their plans can get more coaching, mentoring and guidance to financial possibilities.
Experiencing each year the results of our impact of viable businesses, is quite stimulating!
I like to link people and let people use my contacts. I am quite proud, when they succeed in getting the best out themselves and I was able to stimulate it a bit.
The motor of the economy is entrepreneurship and I hope the poltic attention will increase for it aswell in the Netherlands as in Europe. Especially entrepreneurship of women and youngsters need stimulating measures, amongst others: better entrances to risk capital. I will always do my bit.
Hints & Tips
• If you have plans or dreams? Take them serious. Go for it. Divide them in small steps.
• Attend network meetings, dare to ask advice. That’s the way to create a stimulating environment around you.
• It is unnecessary for female entrepreneurs to listen to that disturbing little voice inside your head, telling you: ‘am I big enough to join in ’? Outside the Netherlands, a whole world is waiting for you.