12 long days, 40 incredible women (+ 1 man) and 1 amazing adventure

This blog post is written by Bo van Ladesteijn who participated in the youth exchange Bees Inspired: A Hive for Female Entrepreneurs that took place in Ommen, The Netherlands from 17 till 28 January 2017 and was funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. 

It has been a great experience, not only about entrepreneurship but also about self-development. I can say; my eyes are opened and I learned a lot.

It all started with the first day. Meeting all those women, who were really open minded and curious. It made the environment safe and relaxing. Everybody was able to share. The first day the conversations were about life and what we thought about it. Women do have this special power… And the next couple of days it showed how powerful this is.

The next day we talked about the difference between an employee and an entrepreneur. Different cultures, different thinking. One of the girls said:

‘One day, we will be great entrepreneurs and have our own big companies, so don’t forget you will have employees working for you. We need to respect them.’

Everybody agreed on this and will never forget to respect both, they are equal.

In the end of the day we had to create groups. In those groups we were working on a business project. I was part of this group of 6 – amazing and independent – women, with all their own ideas.  We had to come up with one idea, what wasn’t easy at all. The first idea was to combine all our ideas in one. Of course this was not working and the idea became way too big. After two days of talking and discussing, we were tired and wanted to start with something. We decided to take one idea and work with this.

I need to say, looking back, I learned a lot form discussing with each other. The difference between the women, cultural and background were really big. And this made us powerful. All the differences were interesting. It feels like this process took weeks instead of two days.

But we had an idea; starting up a kindergarten with online babysit platform. Sounds like a perfect combination. There was still too much talking about the project. In every country this is different. So we had to make the project sharper. We decided to make an online babysit platform only, because if we wanted we could implement it.

Our next step was excited, we were checking with people around us if they would use it, and we were searching for other organizations that did the same. This made us realize we had to be different so we made the idea even sharper. It would be an online babysit platform for children with a disability.

Now I make it sound this was an easy process, but it was more a challenge. We really wanted to have a ready idea, but we kept on changing it. In the end we realize how important this was for us.

After a day in Amsterdam to test our idea and talk to professionals, we found out that…

– Guess what..! – We could make our idea even sharper. It turned out we didn’t have enough knowledge what kind of disabilities there where. So we had to choose one.

The real idea was born (finally)! An online babysit platform for children with Down Syndrome. The group was happy, the idea was there and after this it went smooth. We even made a commercial video.

This was a hard learning process, what I couldn’t do with out those amazing group of women. They taught me a lot. I’m proud of what we did in the end and how far we came. To be an entrepreneur, it won’t be easy always, but you need to keep on developing your idea and make it stronger and sharper. I want to say thanks to those women, we went on this adventure together. I know all of you will do something great and amazing.

This is the advertising spot we created for our project:

In the end of the project we got the award for keep on developing our idea to something concrete. I think this was the best award we could get. Proudly I say: SUPERNANNIES!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

This blog post reflects some of the experiences of the participants of Bees Inspired: A Hive for Female Entrepreneurs, which was a 10-day youth exchange that took place in The Netherlands from 18 till 27 January 2017. It gathered 42 participants from 7 different countries and empowered them to learn from each other about female entrepreneurship. The project is funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

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