12 April 2017, Amsterdam/ Cape Town / Johannesburg. Today Inspiring Fifty in cooperation with the Dutch Embassy is launching Inspiring Fifty in South Africa with an open call for nominations for “Inspiring South African Women” working in the different spheres of the technology and innovation sector. The aim is to increase diversity in tech by providing a platform that brings more visibility to the achievements of women in the innovation and technology sector.
Inspiring Fifty is a Dutch based non-profit organisation that showcases inspiring female role models in the technology industry in the Netherlands, France, Europe and the Nordics. Built on the core philosophy ”If she can see it, she can be it”, Inspiring Fifty annually awards the 50 most inspiring women in the technology sector
Inspiring Fifty has now partnered with the Kingdom of the Netherlands to launch the initiative on the African continent, creating in South Africa the first platform of inspiring women in technology outside Europe.
“The African tech ecosystem is growing exponentially. This is re-shaping the South African economy as technology and innovation are leapfrogging beyond established technology, ideas, and infrastructure. The instrumental role played by women in this sector should be made more visible on a local and global level. These women are the inspiring role models for the future.” says Bonnie Horbach, the Netherlands Consul General in Cape Town. The collaboration forms part of the Dutch campaign in South Africa, named #cocreateSA.
“We’re thrilled to be moving this initiative to the African continent as we share the same important goals around inclusive economic growth, diversity, innovation and entrepreneurship.” say Inspiring Fifty co-initiators Janneke Niessen and Joëlle Frijters.
There is ample evidence on the critical benefits that diversity brings to innovation, problem-solving and creativity. Based on these insights, it’s clear that there is no shortage of opportunities for women in the industry. Judges for Inspiring Fifty South Africa can be found on www.inspiringfifty.com/ZAjudges
To meet the criteria, a nominee should be a founder of a technology company; or hold a position in a C-Level position in a technology company; or be an influencer, academic or politician in the technology or innovation space. Inspiring Fifty encourages South Africans and the technology eco-system to nominate their most inspiring female role models. Role models can be nominated through www.inspiringfifty.com/za
#cocreateSA is a platform for South African and Dutch counterparts to exchange ideas and innovations for a sustainable future. It stimulates collaboration between South Africa and the Netherlands based on the belief that if we work together, we can make a difference and co-create solutions for local challenges. #cocreateSA is an initiative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa, capturing the true essence of modern foreign diplomacy: building relationships, putting the demand at the core of our discussions and focusing on long-term commitments and partnerships. www.cocreatesa.nl
About Inspiring Fifty
Inspiring Fifty is a pan-European program that aims to increase diversity in the technology sector by making role models more visible. Inspiring Fifty identifies, encourages, develops and showcases women in leadership positions within the technology sector. Through events, publications and speaking engagements, we have built a platform with the aim of motivating, educating and inspiring millions of women across the globe. Our aim is to inspire a new generation of female leaders and entrepreneurs, leading the charge to affect meaningful and durable change.
For more information on Inspiring Fifty, visit www.inspiringfifty.com
Amsterdam, Friday 7 April 2017: Inspiring Fifty reveals the names of fifty women who were nominated by a group of high profile judges as the most inspiring women in Dutch technology. The judges have recognized the exceptional achievements and the great contributions of these women but more importantly; they are considered role models that can inspire the next generation of women and girls in technology. These inspiring women of 2017 come from across the technology sector and include influencers, entrepreneurs on http://www.inspiringfifty.com/inspiring-fifty-netherlands-2017/
Inspiring Fifty is a not-for-profit organization established in 2013 by the two successful Dutch entrepreneurs Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters, co-founders at Improve Digital. They aim to improve the gender balance in the tech sector.
The launch of Inspiring Fifty Netherlands follows the European list, that was released in March. Later this year Inspiring Fifty will also announce the Nordics, UK, DACH and France top 50 women in technology. Moreover, the not-for profit organization will continue to inspire in other countries. The first hunt for the most inspiring women in the South African technology community will start on April 13th.
“The world is becoming more technology driven by the day and like nothing else, technology provides us with the opportunity to not only improve commercially but also solve the huge challenges we face as humanity. We need women and girls to join that ride and to embrace technology. These Inspiring Fifty women are one by one role models for others to make that change happen”, said Joelle Frijters founder of Inspiring Fifty.
Amsterdam, Wednesday 8 March 2017: Today, Inspiring Fifty reveals the names of the fifty most inspiring women European technology in 2017. Inspiring Fifty is an not-for-profit that aims to increase diversity in technology by making female role models more visible.
Recent ground breaking research by Microsoft shows that girls cited a lack of female role models in STEM as key reason they didn’t follow a career in the sector. That underlines the importance of making role models more visible and inspire others to become active role models too.
In this year’s list, 12 countries are represented: Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey and the UK. Including founders and C-Level of technology companies, influencers, academics and politicians. The UK leads the other countries with 27 finalists, followed by Sweden with five, the Netherlands with four and Germany with three. Full biographies of all the women can be found at http://www.inspiringfifty.com/inspiring-fifty-europe-2017/
“Working at one of the largest technology companies in the world, I know how important it is to be able to hire the absolute best people with the right skills. To create the best services and experiences for our customers, it is essential to have divers teams. Increasing diversity is a top priority for all tech companies. That is why I was happy to be a judge for Inspiring Fifty. It was incredible to learn about these inspiring women and what they have accomplished as leaders in our businesses and community. I am certain they will be an inspiration and role model for others to choose a career in technology as well”, said Werner Vogels, VP and CTO at Amazon.
“theBoardlist and Inspiring Fifty share a common goal: to improve corporate performance by increasing diversity in technology. Bringing diverse points of view and experiences to companies from the outset drives higher-performing and productive cultures in the board room and executive suites now, not later. It’s been inspiring to learn about so many incredible women in technology in Europe — not only are they terrific role models, but they would be great board members and advisors for tech companies of all stages”, said Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Founder theBoardlist
Throughout the year, Inspiring Fifty will also reveal Inspiring Fifty UK, Netherlands, Nordics, DACH and France. The women that have been part of Inspiring Fifty Europe 2015 and 2016 are in the Hall of Fame.
The hunt for the most inspiring profiles, which closed on the 10th of January, gathered over 700 nominations from all over Europe which were judged by a prestigious group of judges from Europe and the US. Full profiles of the judges can be found at: http://www.inspiringfifty.com/meet-judges/
The infographic, created for the Hour of Code taking place from 5 to 11 December 2016, is directed to young girls in Sweden showing them different ways to learn how to code.
The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104. https://hourofcode.com/us/sv
In line with the Hour of Code, Inspiring Fifty has launched Project Prep, a novel created for young girls aimed at inspiring the next generation of women to undertake a career in technology. Through the story of a 13 year-old girl, the book aims at inspiring young women to pursue a career in technology.
(More information about Project Prep can be found at: http://www.inspiringfifty.com/telling-her-story/)
Amsterdam, 30 November 2016 : Today, Inspiring Fifty announces the top fifty most inspirational women in the French technology sector. The fifty women, nominated as role models for their outstanding achievements, include business leaders, entrepreneurs, influencers and policy makers. Full biographies of all the women can be found at http://www.inspiringfifty.com/inspiring-fifty-france-2016/
Following the success of Inspiring Fifty Europe, which aims at increasing gender diversity in the tech sector, the two Dutch founders Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters decided to launch the initiative on a country level with Inspiring Fifty’s Local Stars. Awarding previously this year the Local Stars of the Netherlands and of the Nordics, Inspiring Fifty is now announcing the 2016’s Local Stars of France.
Six out of the fifty remarkable French profiles were previously awarded as Inspiring Fifty Europe 2016. These women are Anne Bouverot, CEO of Morpho; Candace Johnson, Innovation expert & Entrepreneur of SES Global; Geraldine Le Meur, Co-founder & CEO of LeWeb; Stephanie Hospital, Founder at One Ragtime; Jennifer Schenker, Founder at Informilo; and Roxanne Varza, Director at Halle Freyssinet / 1000Startups.fr.
Inspiring Fifty is a pan-European programme that aims to increase diversity in the technology sector by making inspiring role models more visible. Through events, publications and speaking engagements, we have built a platform with the aim of motivating, educating and inspiring millions of women across Europe- and worldwide. We hope to inspire a new generation of female leaders and entrepreneurs, leading the charge to affect meaningful and durable change.
Stockholm, 8 June 2016: The top fifty most inspirational women in the technology sector across the Nordics are revealed today by Inspiring Fifty, a pan-European not-for-profit organisation which aims to increase diversity in the tech sector by showcasing female role models.
The top fifty were nominated by high-profile men and women in tech in the Nordics, as well as other influencers and journalists. The inspiring role models come from cross the sector and includes business leaders, entrepreneurs, influencers, academics and policy makers. Full biographies of all the women can be found at www.inspiringfifty.com/nordics2016/
Four of these women were also recently named in Inspiring Fifty Europe 2016 – a list of the top fifty women across Europe announced on 8 March. These women are Stina Ehrensvärd , CEO of Yubico; Eva Fors, CEO of Yanzi Networks; Anita Krohn Traaseth, CEO of Innovasjon Norge; and Berit Svendsen, CEO of Telenor Norway.
Together with its partners Facebook, Atomico and Improve Digital, Inspiring Fifty is hosting an exclusive drinks event in Stockholm today (8 June) to celebrate the achievements of these women with Symposium Stockholm CEO Natalie Natalia Brzezinski speaking about her views on diversity in tech.
Inspiring Fifty identifies and showcases women in leadership positions within the technology sector. The organisation was co-founded in 2013 by two Dutch entrepreneurs Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters who recognised the need for role models within Europe to increase gender diversity.
Inspiring Fifty also recently launched a fictional novel called Project Prep in Sweden. Published by Volante and with an introduction from famous vlogger Clara Henry, the first copies were released at SIME NEXT, an ‘entrepreneurship day’ for kids aged 14-17. Niessen came up with the idea of character Isabel to provide a role model for younger girls to show them the huge opportunities that a career in tech can offer. Told in an appealing and narrative way, Project Prep is aimed at 9-15 year old girls and centres on the life of 13 year old Isabel who lives in Stockholm and decides to learn to code, build an app and launch a company.
Inspiring Fifty co-initiator Janneke Niessen said: “I believe in the power of female role models to encourage others into what I regard as a hugely exciting and rewarding sector. “If she can see it, she can be it.” All companies in the future will one day be tech companies and it’s vital we showcase role models on a local, regional and European level to encourage more girls and young women into the sector. I look forward to working with these fantastic role models across the Nordics to help bring about positive change.”
“Our future depends on technology and sadly girls and women will be left behind if they don’t learn the skills required in this sector. Our goal is to highlight fantastic role models such as these inspirational women in the Nordics to encourage the next generation of working women that technology is not only a career opportunity open to everyone – not just men – but a very exciting path to choose”, added Inspiring Fifty co-initiator Joelle Frijters.
Amsterdam, Thursday 14 April 2016: The top fifty most inspirational women in technology in the Netherlands are revealed today by Inspiring Fifty, a not-for-profit organisation established by two successful Dutch female tech entrepreneurs to address the diversity issue in the sector.
The top fifty comes from cross the sector and includes influencers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics and policy makers. Full biographies of all the women can be found at: http://www.inspiringfifty.com/nl2016/
Five of these women were also recently named in Inspiring Fifty Europe 2016 – a list of the top fifty women across Europe announced on 8 March and celebrated during an event at the London Stock Exchange. The five women are Annet Aris, Professor at INSEAD; Neelie Kroes, special envoy for startups at StartUp Delta; Dr Vanessa Evers, Professor of Computer Science at University of Twente; Gillian Tans, President & COO of Booking.com; and Corinne Vigreux, co-founder and managing director of TomTom.
A jury defines each year which fifty women are most inpirational and puts the as role models in the spotlight to inspire others. The organisation was co-founded in 2013 by Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters, co-founders of Improve Digital who recognised the need for role models to increase gender diversity.
Inspiring Fifty co-initiator Janneke Niessen said: “I believe in the power of female role models to bring a positive change to our sector. If she can see it, she can be it. Following the launch of our European list, we wanted to identify female leaders at a very local level to give girls and young women growing up in the Netherlands inspiration close to home. These incredible fifty women are leading the way in the technology field in the Netherlands and we are excited to celebrate them today.”
“Our ultimate goal at Inspiring Fifty is to inspire other women to embrace technology. All companies are now technology companies from media to fashion and there is no escape. The days that technology was a different sector are long gone. The increase of career opportunities for women will go hand in hand with the level of embracement of technology as key part of their career. ”, added Inspiring Fifty co-initiator Joelle Frijters.
Together with its partners Facebook, Atomico and Improve Digital, Inspiring Fifty will organise several events throughout the year including its flagship event on 25 May. The event will take place during the Dutch EU Presidency in Amsterdam on invitation of StartUp Delta’s Neelie Kroes. Speakers include Maxime Williams (Global Director Diversity Facebook), Sandra Lopez (VP Strategic Alliances Wearables Intel) and Lisa Jackson (VP Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Apple). More will be announced soon.
On the 23rd & 24th of November the European Women in Technology Conference will take place at The RAI, Amsterdam.
This event is set up to inspire women, but also to connect and link up women from the technology sector.
A great opportunity to meet likeminded people and to encourage the discussion about women in technology and closing the gender gap.
We will be presenting on the 23rd, discussing the lessons learned as female founders and give advice to future female entrepreneurs
Next to Co-Founder of Inspiring Fifty, Janneke Niessen, various women from our Inspiring Fifty network will be speaking at the event as well: Corinne Vigreux, Barbara Cominelli, Marina Tognetti and Eva Fors.
As a bonus we are able to offer our Inspiring Fifty network a 10% discount on all pass prices using the discount code EURO10.
For more information about the event: http://www.europeanwomenintech.com
Please share this with your peers as well.
Hope to see you there!
A new social campaign #DIGdialogue has been set up by some of Norway’s most inspirational women in tech to connect aspiring women in tech with decision makers, to support the goals of Inspiring Fifty.
Norwegian top executive Anita Krohn Traaseth – who is amongst our top fifty women in tech across Europe, and in the Nordics – set up #DIGdialogue with TENK Norway founder Isabelle Ringnes and ICT entrepreneur Anita Schjøll Brede (both also named one of our top 50 women in the Nordics) . The idea is to help support discussions around key digital topics and transfer knowledge – with the overall goal being to bridge the gap between tech millennials and executives who want to keep in the know.
Traaseth explained: “We started #DIGdialogue to honor the Inspiring Fifty initiative and to help connect the not so visible IT female talents directly with top executives, in every country. We all know someone. Someone smart, young and ambitious. Or someone smart, experienced and executive. Through leveraging our connections, networks and expertise we will improve digital leadership across Europe and simultaneously identify and introduce tech leaders of the future. We encourage anyone who knows anyone in tech or business to e-introduce them to each other and a topic of interest.”
As part of the social media campaign, a Facebook page has been created where the status on meetings connected through #DIGdialogue can be shared.
Start now, send your first tweet, chose the top executive and the digital talent, and connect them! #DIGdialogue
Thanks for Norwegian women in tech for your support!
Amsterdam, 25 May 2016: Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte joined some of the leading women in technology from Europe gathering together in the Netherlands today (25 May) to discuss the diversity issue in the sector. With all companies of the future becoming tech companies, organisers Inspiring Fifty and StartupDelta believe urgent attention is needed to encourage more girls and women to pursue a career in tech.
The event took place at Mauritshuis in The Hague and brought together female role models from across the European technology scene – some of whom recently featured in Inspiring Fifty’s top lists of inspiring role models for 2015 and 2016. Together they debated, shared and gained ideas on how to positively increase the amount and impact of women in technology within Europe, with the ultimate aim of addressing the current gender imbalance in the sector.
The Queen took part in a networking lunch where the women shared with her their views on the topic. Prime Minister Mark Rutte then took part in a question and answer session with the guests.
Other top speakers on the day included Facebook global director of diversity Maxine Williams, Intel VP Strategic Alliances Wearables Sandra Lopez and Little Miss Geek founder and Lady Geek CEO Belinda Parmar.
As part of the event, a video series was also officially launched in which role models – both men and women – are encouraged to film a short video to identify why diversity in tech is important, why the future for women lies in tech, and what they as role models can do to help increase diversity. The aim is to both showcase key role models in the tech sector, whilst also encouraging these role models to step up and make a public commitment to bringing positive change to the sector. The series was kicked off with a video from StartupDelta special envoy Neelie Kroes.
Kroes said of the goal of the event: “All companies of the future will be tech companies, and it is vital that we work together now to encourage more girls and women to take an interest in technology or quite simply they will be left behind. A career in tech is rewarding and fun and urgent attention is needed to address the diversity in the sector to bring positive change for a future generation. We hope through this event we can come up with new ideas that can make a difference.”
Inspiring Fifty founders Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters said: “Inspiring Fifty believes in the power of role models to inspire other women to pursue a career in tech. ‘If she can see it, she can be it.’ The goal of our event is to bring together these brilliant women to discuss just how we can work both individually and collectively to address the diversity issue. We are delighted to have the support of Queen Máxima and Prime Minister Mark Rutte. It demonstrates what an important topic diversity is and we hope to keep it top of the agenda until it hopefully is no longer necessary.”
The event is supported by partners Facebook, Atomico and Improve Digital.
For photos from the day, please check our Facebook page at /inspiringfifty
Event website including agenda and speaker biogs: www.inspiringfifty.com/inspiringperspectives
Stockholm, 21 April 2016: Project Prep, a fictional novel aimed at 9-15 year old girls, is released today at Sime Next. With an introduction by famous Swedish Youtuber Clara Henry, the book highlights how exciting and rewarding a career in tech can be, to ultimately encourage more girls and young women into the tech sector to address the gender imbalance.
Project Prep is a book about technology, learning to code, and entrepreneurship; mixed with normal teenage experiences including love, friendship, kissing and New York. Told in an appealing and narrative way, it centres on the life of 13 year old Isabel who lives in Stockholm and decides to learn to code, build an app and launch a company. In her journey, she experiences all the excitement, challenges, successes, and setbacks any technology entrepreneur faces and learns to realise how magical working in tech is.
Janneke Niessen, a successful technology businesswomen and co-founder of Inspiring Fifty, came up with the idea of Project Prep to create a role model, Isabel, for young girls to show them the huge opportunities that a career in tech can offer. Technology is becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives, but a career in it is often dismissed by young girls as not creative and too ‘geeky’ for them, which has resulted in the current gender imbalance in the sector. Project Prep aims to address these preconceived ideas to stop girls from limiting themselves at a young age and to give them the encouragement to enter a vibrant sector.
Niessen said: “Technology and diversity are both hot topics that combined urgently need addressing. Most companies will be technology companies and therefore an understanding of the technology hard-wired into the modern world is essential. And this is not just limited to developers but is relevant to all roles, from design to product management, sales, marketing and data science. Understanding technology is essential and knowing how to programme will open the gates to countless possibilities. Through Project Prep’s lead character Isabel, we have created a role model to highlight how cool and rewarding a career in tech can be. It is my hope that girls and young women embrace technology – it is the future – and they could and should play an exciting part of it”
The official release of Project Prep takes place today at Sime Next, an entreprenuerial conference day attended by 1200 school kids aged 14-17 from across Stockholm and initiated by serial tech entrepreneur Ola Ahlvarsson and organised in collaboration with the City of Stockholm and Samsung.
About Project Prep, Ola Ahlvarsson says:”This will be the century of girls, the entrepreneur sector is in great need of more girls. Project Prep shows young girls just how fun it can be to run your own business in an exciting and important way.”
Project Prep will also be made available at stores across Sweden soon and is written in the distinctive, humorous diary style of the popular Dutch author Niki Smit. The illustrations in the book are the work of illustrator Josselin Bijl. Through www.preptheproject.com, readers can be kept informed of all the news about the book. In addition, Project Prep is also on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (@preptheproject).
Top female leaders from the European technology sector today opened the market at the London Stock Exchange to celebrate the achievements of inspirational women in the sector, in the week of International Women’s Day.
Inspiring Fifty, who hosted the opening, announced on 8 March (International Women’s Day) its latest annual list www.inspiringfifty.com/europe2016 of the top fifty most inspirational women across Europe’s technology sector – highlighting today’s influencers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics and policy makers. This event provided the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of these women and all Inspiring Fifty role models.
Following the opening, and in the spirit of women supporting other women, Founders4Schools organised a unique mentoring session where some of its key business leaders who volunteer in schools were given the opportunity to be mentored and network from women who have successfully scaled their businesses.
Janneke Niessen, Inspiring Fifty co-initiator said of the event: “We are honoured to open the market in the week of International Women’s Day. Our aim is to celebrate and showcase awesome female leaders, to provide role models that can inspire young girls and women to build a successful career path in technology – ultimately to help address the gender imbalance in the sector. We are delighted to be joined by many of these fantastic role models today.”
“We were delighted when Sherry Coutu, the chair of Founders4Schools and one of our Inspiring Fifty reached out to us to organise a mentoring session as part of our event. We had 70 amazing women in the room, sharing their experiences with each other on scaling a business. A truly unique and inspiring moment”, added Inspiring Fifty co-initiator Joelle Frijters.
Founders4Schools chair Sherry Coutu CBE added: “As a non-executive director of the London Stock Exchange who floated my company here fifteen years ago, it is fabulous to host these inspiring women who in addition to growing their companies 30-50x faster than ‘normal’ businesses also take time out to inspire young girls in schools. Today we celebrate their accomplishments and contemplate what else they have yet to achieve, and what the girls they are role models for will in turn achieve as a result of their volunteer activities in their communities. Together, we will ensure that the UK continues to be a magnet for ambitious women to scale their global companies in.”
Amsterdam, 7 December 2015: Inspiring Fifty, a non-profit organisation that showcases female role models in the European technology sector, and Facebook announced today a partnership to promote the importance of diversity in the technology sector.
Inspiring Fifty – which recently launched the hunt for the fifty most inspirational female role models across Europe to announce in spring 2016 – and Facebook share aligned goals around the importance of diversity, and will work together to create events and high-profile debates around these topics.
This joint initiative follows on from a joint event in September. Attended by leading females in the technology sector across the Netherlands, the event was organised to share experiences and best practice of tackling diversity in the workplace. It coincided with Lean In’s and McKinsey’s release of the US-focused study ‘Women in the Workplace 2015’, revealing one of the shocking results: “At the current pace of progress, we are more than 100 years away from gender equality in the C-suite”. Facebook VP EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn shared highlights at the event from Facebook’s new Managing Bias programme set up to challenge bias and therefore build stronger, more diverse organisations.
After the success of this event, Inspiring Fifty and Facebook look forward to creating more opportunities across Europe to showcase female role models and opportunities for women in tech. This includes an event in 2016 co-hosted by StartUpDelta under the Dutch EU Presidency, which will feature inspirational speakers from across the globe.
Facebook VP EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn said about the joint initiative: “I was lucky enough to first meet the Inspiring Fifty team at an event they co-hosted at 10 Downing Street in the UK earlier this year. It was clear the passion and drive they have to create change in the sector by showcasing and celebrating female role models. Facebook is passionate about creating change too and tackling biases that hinder diversity. Together we strive to make a difference.”
Inspiring Fifty co-initiators Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters added: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Facebook, as we share the same important goals around diversity, and working together we will simply have more impact. We look forward to collaborating to debate and shape ideas to bring about positive and lasting change to the sector.”
Facebook and Inspiring Fifty co-hosted a women in tech event in Amsterdam on 30th September to celebrate inspirational women in the Dutch technology community and highlight the importance of diversity in the sector.
The event was co-hosted by Facebook regional director – southern Europe Paola Bonomo and speakers included Facebook VP EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn and Tom Tom co-founder and managing director Corinne Vigreux. All three women were earlier this year recognised in the Inspiring Fifty: Europe list of the most inspirational women in the European technology community.
Attended by leading females in the technology sector across the Netherlands, the networking event was organised to share experiences and best practice of tackling diversity in the workplace. It coincided with Facebook’s release of the US-focused study ‘Women in the Workplace 2015’, with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg revealing one of the shocking results: “At the current pace of progress, we are more than 100 years away from gender equality in the C-suite”.
Corinne Vigreux, Tom Tom co-founder and managing director
Corinne Vigreux spoke of the importance of both gender and cultural diversity within the workplace to foster innovation. At Tom Tom, the company encourages diversity by inspiring young girls at school, university students and even their teachers by showcasing the ‘big spectrum’ of exciting jobs in technology.
Self-confidence and the ability to speak up are important to overcome barriers when you’re ‘one of the few in a man’s world’, explained Corinne – and women have a part to play in showing other women that you can not only make it in a man’s world, but can also have fun doing so.
Corinne ended on a very positive note: “There’s a wave of chance. We’re going to see progress. The new generation is really motivated.”
Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook VP EMEA
Nicola Mendelsohn talked of how diversity matters in the workplace, with “66 per cent better financial outcomes for businesses that are more diverse at the top”. And Facebook recognises that to look after its 1.5 billion customers around the globe, they need diversity within their workplace. However, tackling diversity is complex because of bias in the workplace – and managing bias is challenging due to the many different biases that exist.
Nicola shared highlights from Facebook’s new Managing Bias programme set up to challenge bias and therefore build stronger, more diverse organisations. She spoke of the importance of forums to talk comfortably about biases that exist, and how to change them. “We all have a responsibility. We need to call it out”.
Janneke Niessen, co-initiator Inspiring Fifty, co-founder Improve Digital
Inspiring Fifty’s Janneke Niessen set out some stark stats as to why this event was necessary in the first place:
5% of funding currently goes to female founders
3% of venture-funded businesses have a female CEO
8% is the number of females in leading positions in ICT
16% of startups have at least one female founder
50% is the number all the above should be
900,000 is the number of open positions in ICT over the next few years
One of the key ways to tackle diversity is by identifying and showcasing female role models that can inspire other girls and young women to build a career path in technology. And Janneke explained this is vitally important as “all companies will be technology companies in the future. There is no way to escape it. The future generation need role models to help them embrace it”. Janneke took the audience through Inspiring Fifty’s latest initiative Project Prep, a fictional novel and concept created to provide a role model for much younger girls (9-15 years) to show them how cool and exciting a career path in technology can be.
The overall message of the event was clear: we all have a responsibility to tackle the diversity issue in technology, and women can play a big part in that. By making even small changes in the workplace, and talking to the future generation about how exciting and fulfilling a career in technology can be, we can bring positive and lasting change to the sector. And if we can get the numbers of women to 50 per cent, this also solves the shortage of people with the right skills, and that way everybody wins.
Project Prep, a book aimed at girls and young women to highlight the wonders of working in tech was launched last night at an event in Amsterdam hosted by Inspiring Fifty co-founder Janneke Niessen who came up with the idea and inspiration for the book.
We were truly honoured to have the first edition of the book received by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and the introduction written by Neelie Kroes, special envoy for Start Up Delta and one of the Inspiring Fifty.
The ultimate goal of Project Prep is to engage and inspire 10-14 year old girls and young women with a story for them, a story about them; highlighting how real, how exciting, and how cool a career path in technology can actually be.
Not only this but it seeks to encourage girls to pursue science and mathematics education, not just as school requisites but, instead, as some of the most fun and most important of their classes.
Furthermore, the hope is this will catalyse widespread support for and additional investment in technology and entrepreneur education, both theoretical (e.g. history, philosophies of) and practical (e.g., coding); and to leverage that to drive new standards for our primary and sec¬ondary students, bringing these topics on par with others.
Project Prep is a joint effort of Janneke and best-selling children’s author Niki Smit, with illustrations by famed artist Jossefin Bijl. While it launches in the Netherlands, we will be rolling out local versions across the globe during 2015.
We hope you’re as excited about this as we are – please support Project Prep by sharing, posting, tweeting and liking.
Inspiring Fifty is proud to support CodePact, launched by StartUp Delta to push for coding to be added to the curriculum of all Dutch schools. CodePact was launched at an event by StartUp Delta on 21 May and was introduced by StartUps NL special envoy Neelie Kroes. Inspiring Fifty is one of 16 organisations in the Netherlands who has signed the Code Pact Manifest, which sets out the below targets:
1. Give all children a chance to learn programming
2. Enable children to understand the technology that is in their environment
3. Create digitally-literate children at schools
4. Facilitate after-school programming activities
5. Schools to help with the professionalisation of teachers
6. Schools to provide good quality infrastructure
7. The increase of parental involvement
8. Broaden and strengthen the image of programming
UK Prime Minister’s Office Hosts Europe’s Most Inspiring Women Technology Leaders To Help Bring About Positive Change In The Digital Economy
On Friday 6 March the UK Prime Minister’s Office, in collaboration with Inspiring Fifty, hosted a roundtable discussion and reception at 10 Downing Street to celebrate the fantastic achievements of Inspiring Fifty Europe, a selection of the most inspiring women working within the European technology community.
Hosted by Baroness Joanna Shields, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on the Digital Economy, and held in the run up to International Women’s Day, the event focused on the initiatives that governments can undertake to improve Europe’s digital economy as well as debating the opportunities and challenges for females in the technology sector.
“Bringing together these extraordinary technology and digital trailblazers from across Europe was such an incredible experience, as I strongly believe that we must encourage more women and young girls to enter this vital sector in our economy” says Joanna Shields. “It was a privilege to meet and mentor such an amazing group of women who will become the next generation of female tech leaders. Britain is leading the way in digital innovation, and it’s important for us to open the doors here at 10 Downing Street so that we can ask the right questions, learn from the challenges and experiences of others, and foster collaboration. This allows us to create smarter policies which will enable entrepreneurs and businesses to thrive.”
This event follows hot on the heels of the recently announced list of finalists for Inspiring Fifty: Europe, most of whom were in attendance. Inspiring Fifty is a pan-European programme that identifies, encourages, develops, and showcases women in leadership positions within the technology sector.
“It is still far too uncommon to find women working within the technology sector, and especially in leadership roles. Remarkable progress has been made over the past few years but there is still so much work to be done” says Joelle Frijters, Co-Founder of Inspiring Fifty.
“These technology role models may work in different countries across Europe but what was clear from the roundtable discussions is that many of the barriers and challenges remain the same: a lack of women at board level; the investor community is male dominated with too few women receiving the funding they deserve; it’s extremely difficult for women to re-enter the workplace after having children; coding is not part of the curriculum in most schools; and a distinct lack of visible female tech role models in the media are just some of the issues discussed. We are excited to work together as a group, and alongside our respective governments, to help overcome these challenges. It’s vital that we help pave the way for future generations of women in this thriving industry.”
The need for governments to foster collaboration and continue these important discussions was acknowledged by all in the room, with Neelie Kroes, Netherlands Special Envoy for Startups, stating “What an inspiring and powerful group of women through all layers of the Tech world. Inspiring each other is the best way forward and to make the difference. We need to welcome these women during the Dutch EU presidency 2016.”
The roundtable was followed by a mentoring session organised by Girls in Tech, an international network raising the visibility of women in technology and innovation. Over 40 young women keen to build successful careers in the tech sector travelled from across the UK to seek advice from their role models.
Attendees of the roundtable event included Colette Ballou, Founder and CEO, Ballou PR; Catherine Barba, Founder of Catherine Barba Group; Dr Sue Black, CEO at Savvify; Paola Bonomo, Independent Board Member; Judith Clegg, Founder and CEO at Takeout Consulting; Elaine Coughlan, Co-Founder and General Partner of Atlantic Bridge Capital; Sherry Coutu, angel investor; Nancy Cruikshank, Founder of MyShowcase.com; Amélie Faure, Venture Partner at Serena Capital; Joelle Frijters, Co-Founder Improve Digital & Inspiring Fifty; Maelle Gavet, CEO at Ozon; Corinne Goddijn-Vigreux, Co-founder and Managing Director of TomTom NV; Josephine Goube, co-managing director at Girls in Tech; Karen Hanton, Founder and Chairman of Toptable; Stephanie Hospital, Advisor, Board Member and Founder of One Ragtime; Laura Jordan Bambach, Creative Partner at Mr President & Co-founder of SheSays; Stephanie Kaiser, Head of Studio at Wooga; Neelie Kroes, Netherlands Special Envoy for Startups; Anita Krohn Traaseth, CEO at Innovasjon Norge (Innovation Norway); Barbara Labate, Co-Founder of Risparmio Super; Avid Larizadeh, General Partner at Google Ventures; Geraldine Le Meur, Co-founder of LeWeb; Nicola Mendelsohn, Vice-President of Europe, The Middle East and Africa Operations at Facebook; Victoria Morrison, Marketing Director, TH_NK; Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke, Founder & Managing Director of Women’s WorldWideWeb (W4); Janneke Niessen, Co-Founder Improve Digital & Inspiring Fifty; Louise O’sullivan, CEO at ANAM Technologies; Kathryn Parsons, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Decoded; Lara Rouyres, Founder and CEO, Selectionnist; Jennifer Schenker, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Informilo; Joanna Shields, Digital Advisor to the Prime Minister of the UK & Chair of Tech City; Ola Sitarska, Co-founder at Issue Stand, Organizer of Makerland; Wendy Tan White, Founder and CEO at Moonfruit; Camilla Ley Valentin, CCO and Co-Founder, Queue-it; Sarah Wood, Co-founder, Unruly; Gabriele Zedlmayer, Vice President & Chief Progress Officer, HP Worldwide.
Published on Forbes
Being a woman entrepreneur with a high-growth business ain’t easy in the U.S. — the #1 country in the world for women entrepreneurship according to Gender GEDI — but it’s even harder in the Europe.
Gender GEDI is diagnostic tool that comprehensively identifies and analyzes the conditions that foster high potential female entrepreneurship development. Broadly speaking, Entrepreneurial Environment focuses on assessing the “entrepreneurial spirit and culture” of a given society as well as the presence of institutions to support entrepreneurial startups.
The conditions for high-growth entrepreneurship for women in Europe lag the U.S. (83). Sweden is the the highest rated European country at 73. France only reaches 67, Germany 67 and the U.K. a sad 54. The top score any country can receive is 100, said Ruta Aidis, CEO and founder of ACG, Senior Fellow, George Mason University and author of the report. It is a relative score based on 30 metrics. “Areas where the U.S. could improve include increasing the percentage of growth-oriented female startups and product innovation amongst female startups,” she continued.
But some women-led companies succeed. Improve Digital is an Amsterdam-headquartered advertising technology provider in Europe. It was founded in 2008 by Joelle Frijters and Janneke Niessen and has made Deloitte’s list of 500 fastest-growing technology companies for five straight years.
“My business partner and I have been on the receiving end of bias from investors on more than one occasion,” says Niessen, CIO at Improve Digital. “Consciously or not, most picture a successful entrepreneur as a young white man.”
One reason for the low interest in women entrepreneurs in Europe is fewer role models. Having role models directly enhances the aspirations of women to start their own businesses. The other missing piece is support for growth through access to ideas, opportunities, and resources that come through networking.
To encourage more women to become leaders in the technology sector, Frijters and Niessen created Inspiring Fifty, which showcases female role models. Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg are great, but not close to home. Through Inspiring Fifty’s own events, speaking at other events, writing articles, and participating in workshops, Frijters and Niessen want to motivate, educate, and inspire millions of women across Europe and around the world.
Role models alone won’t turn the tide, however. Access to capital is critical. The more female investors there are, whether angel investors or venture capitalists, the easier it will be for women to get their companies funded. In 2010, fewer than 5% of European angel network members were women versus 13% in the U.S., according to EBAN a European Trade Association for business angels within Europe, and the Center for Venture Research respectively. The numbers differed significantly among countries. For example, France and Poland report that almost a third of their angels are women.
Through perseverance and making the right connections, Frijters and Niessen raised money from angels, venture capitalists, and a corporation for which Improve Digital is a strategic fit. As hard as it was to raise early stage money, it was even harder to raise Series A and beyond. Raising anything above $5 million is difficult. Over $10 million is very difficult, said Frijters.
Like role models, women investors are only one piece of the solution. Of course, their availability is another piece. If you don’t know female (or male) investors, you’re not likely to get their attention. Women need to expand their networks, according to an Astiawhitepaper. The deals that are likely to get funded are the ones recommended by a trusted friend or those the investors seeks out themselves.
Published on The Guardian
The UK is home to more inspiring women in technology than any other country in Europe. But why do they all flock here and how can we encourage more of them?
Inspiring Fifty is a pan-European programme that encourages, develops, identifies, and showcases women in leadership positions within the technology sector. Now in our second year, we spent 2014 asking our extended network of professionals, journalists, and social media followers to nominate those women who stood out as an inspiration to others. Hundreds of nominations came in, highlighting leaders across every country of Europe but one country stood out above the others. The UK had 17 women nominated, more than any other.
We received nominees from every single country in Europe but I believe there are some clear reasons why the UK had so many more than anywhere else.
First off, there is the size of the market. Given the history and scale of the UK technology scene, it’s not surprising that so many of our finalists call the country home. The results of this programme simply serves as another clear sign of how strong and vibrant the UK tech market is.
The second factor is the ecosystem. For start-ups to thrive and to grow into mature enterprises, the ecosystem is extremely important. The UK is closer to the US, and many US companies consider the UK their European entry point, and, later, as the hub for pan-European operations. Given its size, the market also attracts more venture capital, which drives more start-ups and more tech exits.
This all serves to create a self-reinforcing cycle: more start-ups, more VC money, more talent. The UK government also shows it is ahead of many other countries. Coding is already part of the standard curriculum and there are beneficial tax rules for angel investors. Taken individually, each of these is a relatively small step. However, when taken in aggregate, they demonstrate the country’s commitment to long-term technology growth.
Most importantly, there is a strong cultural aspect behind the UK’s ranking in Inspiring Fifty. I am neither sociologist nor political scientist, but it is my fierce belief that role models matter, and I think the UK has benefited from some very strong female role models for a very long time.
That brings me to the question I’ve been asked most frequently since we began discussing the programme’s results – what can we each do, individually, to advance the cause of women in tech? The answer is simple. Reach into your own network and find a girl, a young woman, a student at any stage of her education, or even young professional. Then, simply listen. What is her path like today? What does she believe possible in her life? Why does she believe that? Day to day, what are the real barriers she faces, internal and external? What has carried her this far? How far does she believe she is allowed to go?
A few minutes of listening will lead to hours of invaluable dialogue and an immeasurable amount of learning and reflection for all involved. Help them explore what’s possible, challenge their preconceptions and insecurities, and point to the relevant opportunities and role models that are all around us. Then, take it a step further. Advancing diversity is not just a women’s issue. Explore the barriers faced by other groups; engage your friends and colleagues on their points of view; and most importantly, start to challenge the way you see the world today.
It is my sincere hope that, one day Inspiring Fifty is no longer necessary, and the diversity issue in the technology field is put to rest – regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other classification. As an industry, we’ve only scratched the surface of the overall diversity challenge, and it will take more than our initiative to drive the change we all seek.
Published on BPIFrance
L’association Inspiring Fifty Europe a sélectionné le 5 février dernier 50 Européennes pour leurs réalisations dans le domaine technologique. Parmi elles, 9 françaises, dont Stéphanie Hospital. Portrait d’une femme inspirée.
Formée au management à Grenoble, Stéphanie Hospital a débuté sa carrière dans le numérique à Wanadoo, en 2001, après avoir travaillé pour des fonds comme Europatweb. Elle a gravi les échelons de l’entreprise jusqu’à occuper la vice-présidence d’Orange Digital, pour laquelle elle a géré l’acquisition de Dailymotion par Orange et mis en place des partenariats avec Google, Facebook, Twitter et Microsoft.
Aider les entreprises du numérique
En 2014, elle quitte son poste chez Orange Digital pour se lancer dans une nouvelle aventure : One Ragtime, un nouveau fonds d’investissement qui se concentre sur l’innovation. Soutenu par Jean-Marie Messier, le fonds investira environ un million d’euros, selon le magazine French Web, en Europe et en Israël, puis aux USA et en Asie. Il accompagnera les entreprises du numérique et les « stars de l’internet de demain », assure Stéphanie Hospital.
Vice-présidente du board de l’Iinteractive Advertising Bureau Europe depuis mai 2013, la nouvelle entrepreneuse, qui reste administratrice de Dailymotion (dépendant du groupe Orange), agit aussi en tant que conseil pour myThings, société spécialisée dans le « programmatic marketing ».
Exemples à suivre
C’est pour toutes ces réalisations dans le domaine du numérique qu’elle a été repérée par Inspiring Fifty, une association européenne qui salue les entrepreneuses, chefs d’entreprise, universitaires et décideuses du secteur technologique. « Beaucoup de femmes de technologie cherchent des exemples à suivre et se tournent actuellement vers les têtes d’affiche comme Sheryl Sandberg de Facebook, explique Janneke Niessen, la co-fondatrice de l’association. Nous avons pensé qu’il était nécessaire de mettre en valeur les nombreuses femmes de technologie talentueuses et trop souvent négligées plus proches de nous. »
Published on Wired
Barbara Labate di RisparmioSuper e Paola Bonomo, business angel che ai giovani dice: “Il futuro sarà dei creatori, non dei consumatori”
“Celebrare le Inspiring Fifty nel settore tech europeo serve proprio a stanare, per così dire, certi modelli che sono presenti anche in Europa e a fare in modo che diventino più conosciuti”. Parola diPaola Bonomo, socia e director di Italian Angels for Growth con vent’anni di esperienza nella consulenza manageriale. Paola è una delle protagoniste che compongono il quadro di Inspiring Fifty: il gruppo delle cinquanta donne appartenenti a vari settori dell’economia tech – dall’imprenditoria all’università, alla politica – scelte nel panorama europeo per la loro capacità di ispirare altre donne a seguire lo stesso percorso professionale.
L’iniziativa nasce nel 2013 da un’idea di Janneke Niessen e Joelle Frijters, che hanno voluto lanciare una sfida al settore tecnologico: quella di riuscire a dimostrare che il fiuto per l’innovazione non ha nulla a che fare con il cromosoma Y e anzi, come del resto è ben visibile oltreoceano, le donne non hanno nulla da invidiare ai colleghi uomini. Pensata inizialmente solo per i Paesi Bassi, la lista delle Inspiring Fifty ha raccolto l’interesse di esperti di settore, giornalisti e del pubblico sui social network: nel 2014 l’elenco ha ampliato il suo raggio e oggi si rivolge a tutto il continente europeo.
IN AMERICA C’E’ MARISSA MAYER, IN EUROPA?
“In America ci sono migliaia di ragazze e giovani donne che studiano informatica, che pianificano il lancio di una startup o che aspirano alla carriera manageriale in un’azienda tecnologica perché hanno davanti a sé esempi famosi come Marissa Mayer e Sheryl Sandberg – racconta Paola Bonomo a Wired – Ma anche in Europa ci sono esempi che vanno da Stephanie Kaiser (sviluppatrice di videogiochi) a Natalie Massenet (fondatrice di Net-à-Porter) a Neelie Kroes (già Commissario europeo per l’agenda digitale, ora incaricata speciale del governo olandese per lo sviluppo delle startup): se mostriamo la varietà e ricchezza delle loro carriere, possiamo rafforzare la determinazione delle giovani donne e motivarle a superare gli ostacoli che incontrano”.
Le Inspiring Fifty rappresentano ben 16 Paesi del Vecchio Continente. Per l’Italia, oltre a Paola Bonomo, c’è la co-founder di RisparmioSuper Barbara Labate. Startupper d’esperienza con un primissimo progetto, nel settore mobile, lanciato nel 2004, dal 2010 lavora all’app per la spesa low cost che ha già conquistato oltre 300 mila utenti e vanta 200 milioni di download.
L’11,5% DEGLI ITALIANI TRA 11 E 17 ANNI NON HA ACCESSO A INTERNET
Essere d’ispirazione è una bella responsabilità perché, come riconosce Paola Bonomo, “è ancora più importante che essere influenti: se sei influente le persone vogliono seguirti, se sei ‘inspiring’ vogliono anche diventare un po’ come te”. Ma in un Paese come l’Italia, in cui il digital divide non risparmia nemmeno i Millenials – secondo una ricerca IPSOS per Save the Childrenl’11,5% degli adolescenti italiani non ha mai avuto accesso a Internet – qual è il consiglio per le nuove generazioni, di ragazze ma non solo, che possono dare le Inspiring Fifty? “Il futuro sarà dei creatori, non dei consumatori – conclude Paola Bonomo – Da questo punto di vista i genitori che non identificano nel digitale un’opportunità per i figli, ad esempio perché ignorano quali competenze saranno richieste nel mondo del lavoro di domani, stanno negando loro un pezzo di futuro”.
Published on Mandmglobal
Facebook’s Nicola Mendelsohn, Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet and Dutch politician Neelie Kroes have been named in a new list of the 50 most inspiring women in European technology.
Inspiring Fifty has compiled a list of the 50 most inspirational female leaders working in tech in Europe, including entrepreneurs, academics and policy-makers.
Among those to make the list are Facebook vice-president EMEA Mendelsohn, Net-a-Porter’s Massenet, former European Commission vice-president Kroes, Lastminute.com co-founder Martha Lane Fox, and Unruly co-founder Sarah Wood.
The judging panel comprised Shari Yoder Doherty, partner at venture firm Atomico; Ellenore Angelidis, diversity director at Amazon; CNN’s business anchor Nina Dos Santos; UK government advisor Russell Buckley; and Inspiring Fifty founders Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters.
The final list included entrants from 16 countries across Europe. The UK did best, with 17 British women making the list. France provided the second-highest number, with nine, while Germany was in third place with six.
“Many women in tech seeking female role models currently look towards the most visible, the headline-makers, like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer,” said Niessen.
“However, as amazing as those women are, we felt there was a need to showcase the many accomplished, and all-too-often overlooked women in technology closer to home.”
Frijters added: “We strongly believe that female role models are central to bringing real and lasting change to a sector that too-often exhibits inequality and, broadly speaking, suffers from diversity imbalance.
“Beyond their contributions to tech and innovation, there was one very important characteristic many of our nominees and finalists shared: a passion and dedication to give back to others – men and women alike – helping a new generation find success in technology and, ultimately, leaving as their legacy an industry in better shape than they found it.”
Published on SiliconRepublic
Two Irish women are among those honoured in the Inspiring Fifty list of the Most Inspiring Women in European Tech, which pays recognition to a mix of entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics and policy-makers.
Among these influencers, leaders and role models are Elaine Coughlan and Louise O’Sullivan.
As co-founder and general partner at Atlantic Bridge Capital, Coughlan has supported technology businesses in Ireland, Europe and the US and serves as a non-executive director on the board of a number of Irish software companies.
O’Sullivan is CEO of Anam, a company that provides software for mobile network operators. Outside of her career in telecoms, she has also been a restaurateur and set up businesses in music and the media.
Europe’s digital champions
Inspiring Fifty, a not-for-profit pan-European organisation, works to identify and showcase women in leadership positions within the technology sector. Last year, the programme highlighted 50 top women in business and technology in the Netherlands, but this latest search extended across Europe, seeking out the most inspiring women in the technology community.
In all, 16 countries are represented on the list, with the UK leading the pack with 17 finalists, followed by France with nine and Germany with six.
Among the UK’s many representatives is Dr Sue Black, founder and CEO of Savvify, a social enterprise aimed at empowering people through technology. Last year, Dr Black brought her #techmums initiative to Ireland through An Cosán’s Young Women in Technology Programme and she returns this summer to speak at Inspire 2015.
The Inspiring Fifty team is proud to announce the results of its yearlong search to find the most inspiring women within the European technology community. The not-for-profit organisation identifies, encourages, and showcases women in leadership positions within the technology sector, and is kicking off 2015 with its first annual pan-European Inspiring Fifty list.
The Inspiring Fifty: Europe initiative follows the tremendous success of the prior year’s Inspiring Fifty: Netherlands, a search to identify and showcase that country’s fifty most inspiring women in technology and business. Throughout 2014, Inspiring Fifty asked its extended network of professionals, journalists, and social media followers to nominate those women serving as role models and standing as an inspiration to others. What came back was an amazing list of women from across the technology spectrum, including entrepreneurs, business leaders, academicians, and policy makers.
“The response was simply tremendous; we were overwhelmed by the calibre, breadth, and diversity of the nominees,” stated Russell Buckley, one of the members of the organisation’s judging panel. “We were incredibly impressed by the achievements of all of our nominees, and it was a nearly impossible task to narrow it down to just fifty.”
Judges included business and technology influencers from across Europe and the US, including Shari Yoder Doherty, Partner at venture firm Atomico; Ellenore Angelidis, Diversity Director at Amazon; Nina Dos Santos, Business Anchor at CNN; Russell Buckley, serial entrepreneur-turned-investor and UK Government Advisor; and Inspiring Fifty founders Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters, both entrepreneurs and co-founders of European tech company Improve Digital.
“Many women in tech seeking female role models currently look towards the most visible, the headline-makers, like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer,” says Janneke Niessen. “However, as amazing as those women are, we felt there was a need to showcase the many accomplished, and all-too-often overlooked women in technology closer to home.”
Hundreds of nominations came in, highlighting talent across every country in Europe. In the final fifty, 16 countries were represented: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the UK. The UK led other countries with seventeen finalists; France followed with nine, Germany with six, and the Netherlands with three.
“Given the amazing response to our call for nominations, it is clear that the European technology scene is not only thriving, but is home to some incredibly talented – and inspiring – women,” says Joelle Frijters, judge and programme co-founder. “At Inspiring Fifty, we strongly believe that female role models are central to bringing real and lasting change to a sector that too-often exhibits inequality and, broadly speaking, suffers from diversity imbalance. Beyond their contributions to tech and innovation, there was one very important characteristic many of our nominees and finalists shared: a passion and dedication to give back to others – men and women alike – helping a new generation find success in technology and, ultimately, leaving as their legacy an industry in better shape than they found it. ”
The following list of the Inspiring Fifty: Europe 2015 finalists is arranged alphabetically. It in no way reflects any ranking or scoring by programme judges.
Published on The Drum Inspiring Fifty, a pan-European programme to identify the continents leading women in the technology sector, has identified 50 individuals who best showcase qualities as influencers, leaders and role models.
Amongst those making the grade from the UK are Facebook’s Nicola Mendelsohn, Unruly co-founder Sarah Wood and co-founder of Mr President and SheSays Laura Jordan Bambach. Picked out by a panel of judges including investors and representatives of tech firms such as Amazon they were deemed to embody the best-of –the-best.
Product of a year-long hunt the project saw professionals, journalists and social media followers invited to nominate women they felt to be the most inspirational.
Inspiring Fifty co-founder Janneke Niessen said: “Many women in tech seeking female role models currently look towards the most visible, the headline-makers, like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer. However, as amazing as those women are, we felt there was a need to showcase the many accomplished, and all-too-often overlooked women in technology closer to home.”
Published on LondonLovesBusiness
As well as the top 50 from all of Europe
Inspiring Fifty has just released its list of the 50 most inspiring women on the European technology scene.
And we’re delighted to note that some 17 of them are based right here in Blighty (listed below).
These women are those “serving as role models and standing as an inspiration to others”, the not-for-profit behind the initiative explains.
Inspiring Fifty’s index draws on a year’s worth of asking tech professionals, journalists and social media doyennes to make their nominations. The judging panel of entrepreneurs, investors and execs from Atomico, Amazon, CNN and Improve Digital then whittled the long-list down to 50 women across Europe.
“Many women in tech seeking female role models currently look towards the most visible, the headline-makers, like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer,” says Janneke Niessen, co-founder of Inspiring Fifty and of European tech company Improve Digital.
“However, as amazing as those women are, we felt there was a need to showcase the many accomplished, and all-too-often overlooked women in technology closer to home.” Hear hear.
Here are the 17 most inspiring women in UK tech
We’ve added in their Twitter handles too, so you can tweet them congrats. You’re welcome!
Alice Bentinck, Co-Founder, Entrepreneur First; Code First: Girls –@Alicebentinck
Avid Larizadeh, General Partner, Google Ventures; UK Lead, Hour of Code – @avidl
Belinda Parmar, Founder, Little Miss Geek; CEO, Lady Geek –@belindaparmar
Joanna Shields, Investor and Digital Advisor to UK Prime Minister (below) – @joannashields
Judith Clegg, Founder and CEO, Takeout Consulting and The Glasshouse – @judithclegg
Justine Roberts, Founder and CEO, Mumsnet and Gransnet –@Justine_Roberts
Karen Hanton, Investor and Former Founder of Top Table
Kathryn Parsons, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Decoded (below) –@KathrynParsons
>> Kathryn’s predictions about how tech will change your world in 2015
>> All about her company, Decoded
Laura Jordan Bambach, Creative Partner & Co-founder, Mr President and SheSays – @laurajaybee
>> Martha’s predictions about how tech will change your world in 2015
Nancy Cruickshank, Founder, MyShowcase.com – @cruickshankn
Natalie Massenet, Founder, Net-a-Porter
Nicola Mendelsohn, Vice-President EMEA, Facebook – @nicolamen
Sarah Wood, Co-Founder, Unruly (below) – @sarahfwood
Sherry Coutu, Entrepreneur, Non-Exec Director, Investor and Advisor (below) – @scoutu
Dr Sue Black, Founder & CEO, Savvify; Mentor, Google Campus for Mums – @Dr_Black
Wendy Tan White, Co-founder and CEO, Moonfruit (below)-@wendytanwhite
Published on Management Today
Is that some 35 Women Under 35 alumni MT spies…?
In case you hadn’t noticed, MT is pretty big on inspiring women in business. So this list celebrating European women working in technology was right up our street, not least because it features several alumni of another list – our annual 35 Women Under 35.
The UK dominates the list, with big hitters including ex-TechCity boss Joanna Shields, Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts and Facebook’s head in EMEA Nicola Roberts taking 17 out of the 50 slots.
Former 35 Under 35-ers Lastminute.com founder Martha Lane-Fox, Unruly co-founder Sarah Wood, Decoded boss Kathryn Parsons and the founder of startup accelerator Entrepreneur First Alice Bentinck also made the list.
The list was compiled by Inspiring Fifty, a programme set up by Dutch entrepreneurs Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters ‘that identifies, encourages, develops and showcases’ women in tech. And it’s most definitely A Good Thing – despite leaders like Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook and Marissa Mayer at Yahoo, tech is still a massively male-dominated sector. The more female rolemodels who can inspire and encourage young girls and women to aim for a career in tech, the better.
While we’re talking female rolemodels, if know any talented, ambitious businesswomen aged 35 or under (as of 6 July 2015), nominate them (or yourself) for this year’s 35 Women Under 35.
Published on Sprout
De Inspiring Fifty, het lijstje met 50 meest invloedrijke vrouwen uit de techwereld, is dit jaar opgeschaald naar Europees niveau. Volgens een jury horen Neelie Kroes en TomTom-coo Corinne Vigreux tot de Nederlandse toppers (v) uit de technologie.
Eind 2013 stelden Joëlle Frijters en Janneke Niessen, oprichters van Improve Digital, voor het eerst de Inspiring Fifty op, de lijst met 50 topvrouwen uit de technologiesector waarmee ze wilden laten zien dat leiding in tech helemaal niet het exclusieve domein is van mannen. Belangrijk, vinden Frijters/Niessen, want de rolmodellen op de toplijst kunnen vrouwen inspireren ook met technologie te gaan ondernemen.
Published on Dutchcowgirls
Nadat Inspiring Fifty eerder al op zoek ging naar de 50 meest inspirerende vrouwen in de technologie-sector in Nederland, hebben ze nu ook een lijst gemaakt met de 50 meest inspirerende vrouwen in Europa.
Een jaar lang is een team van Inspiring Fifty op zoek geweest naar de vijftig vrouwen. De organisatie identificeert, stimuleert en presenteert vrouwen in leidende posities binnen de technologische industrie. De lijst van 2015 is de eerste editie van de lijst die jaarlijks moet gaan verschijnen.
Russel Buckley, jurylid: “De input was werkelijk overweldigend: het kaliber, het formaat en de diversiteit van de genomineerden overtrof onze stoutste verwachtingen. We waren enorm onder de indruk van de prestaties van alle genomineerden en het was bijna onmogelijk om deze stortvloed aan kandidaten terug te brengen tot slechts vijftig.”
De jury bestond uit invloedrijke namen uit het bedrijfsleven en de technologie in de VS en Europa, zoals Ellenore Angelidis, hoofd diversiteitsbeleid bij Amazon; Nina Dos Santos, business anchor bij CNN en Russel Buckley, meervoudig ondernemer-annex-investeerder en adviseur van de Britse regering.
Hoe geweldig de vrouwelijke rolmodellen in de krantenkoppen ook zijn, wij vonden dat de tijd rijp was om ook de vele succesvolle, helaas vaak onopgemerkte vrouwen in de technologie dichter bij huis te laten zien,” vertelt een van de initiatiefnemers Janneke Niessen.
De vijftig vrouwen zijn gekozen uit honderden nominaties uit heel Europa. In de uiteindelijke top 50 zijn zestien landen vertegenwoordigd: België, Denemarken, Duitsland, Finland, Frankrijk, Ierland, Italië, Nederland, Noorwegen, Polen, Rusland, Spanje, Turkije, het Verenigd Koninkrijk, Zweden en Zwitserland. Met zeventien vrouwen uit het Verenigd Koninkrijk is dit land het best vertegenwoordigd. Daarna komen Frankrijk (negen), Duitsland (zes) en Nederland (drie).
De Nederlandse vrouwen die in de lijst staan, zijn:
Meer informatie over de lijst en de vijftig vrouwen is te vinden op de website van Inspiring Fifty. De infographic hier onder laat zien waar de vrouwen op de lijst vandaan komen.
“Gezien het geweldige aantal reacties op onze oproep voor nominaties, mag het duidelijk zijn dat de Europese technologie bloeit als nooit tevoren, en dat het een sector is met een aantal ongelooflijk getalenteerde -en inspirerende- vrouwen,” aldus Joëlle Frijters, inititatiefnemer.
Public speaking: learn to love it
I would urge my younger self to seek professional speaker training much earlier in her career. The benefits would have been huge. While I didn’t exactly shy away from the opportunities that were presented to me, I was never overly confident and I certainly didn’t push myself out there. When I did find myself in a position where I was expected to speak eloquently on a panel or as a keynote, it would be hugely daunting. The nerves would build up days before the actual event, and at times were bad enough to turn a good presentation into an average one.
Then in early 2013, something changed. I was attending a tech conference in Amsterdam and I asked the event organiser why there were so few women on stage. His response made my blood boil. “Women are generally bad speakers,” he said, straight-faced. This was my trigger moment and from that day forward, I vowed to prove him wrong by becoming a more confident, inspiring speaker myself and to strive to correct the gender imbalance that’s so pervasive in the tech sector.
The first step was to seek professional training. Not only did this give me the confidence I needed, but the simple tips and tricks I learned ensured I was always ready to present with conviction. Skill led to desire, and more speaking opportunities followed. This in turn boosted my profile, and a virtuous cycle set in. All of this culminated in one of the proudest moment of my career – my very first TED Talk.
‘Fake it ‘til you make it’
I have learned over the years that being too modest will not do you any favours as an entrepreneur.
I learned this the hard way, in a sector where my European business was in direct competition with big US tech companies. I would spend months with my team driving new innovations; building, testing, refining and retesting, all to ensure it was perfect before market launch. The main problem? My US competitors would beat us to the punch, announcing their intention to launch a similar piece of tech (sometimes before they had even built it), effectively stealing our thunder and making us look late to the party.
Today, I would tell my younger self to be much bolder and to build on confidence and conviction, as well as passion and intellect. Always stay true to yourself, but remember that, more often than not, perception becomes reality.
Be your own advocate
I wish I had a better understanding of how the media worked when I launched my first company. To have a fighting chance, you need to take control of your image in the industry and in the relevant trade media. Optimist that I am, I had naively assumed that great work would automatically be noticed and rewarded.
The truth is that you need to be smart and active in promoting what you do, and you need to make sure you approach the media in the right way. Early in my career, I let some good opportunities pass me by because I got carried away with tech jargon when trying to tell journalists about my business.
Simply put, journalists want a smart person to tell them a concise, compelling story. So make sure you are prepared and don’t waste their time.Perhaps most importantly, never, ever be afraid to have an opinion. Stick your neck out every once in a while, challenge the status quo; be controversial. Not only is it good intellectual exercise, it’s almost always entertaining.
Janneke Niessen is a serial entrepreneur, technologist, and innovator. Most recently, she co-founded Improve Digital and is co-initiator of Inspiring Fifty, a non-profit organisation advocating for women in the technology industry.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day 2014, The Drum spoke to some leading women in industry to find out how the digital revolution has – or hasn’t – empowered women.
On a global level – not just within our industry – digital, mobile and the internet have enormous potential for women’s empowerment. We have easy access to platforms which provide vast opportunities to start companies, search and share information, interact, collaborate, network, and have our voices heard like never before.
The digital and technology sector has helped lead the recovery in the UK with 27 per cent of all new jobs created coming from within that sector. The digital economy is rising all the time with so many great opportunities, however, it is still very much a male dominated industry with too few women entering the fray, both in the UK and Europe. We also have too few women in senior roles within the sector who are visible.
This is why we have launched Inspiring fifty. Backed by the European Commission, it is an initiative to showcase top female leaders working in the European technology scene, to serve as inspiration to other women.
We know that many women in tech who seek female role models currently look towards the most visible, headline-making personalities – vice-President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer. These women are incredible role models who have without doubt helped change the perception of women in technology.
However, there are many accomplished, fierce female women in tech who are leading the charge, bringing about positive change in female leadership and proving that working in tech is not just for ‘geeks’. It’s time to highlight this amazing talent and provide more female role models ‘closer to home’ to change the perception of women working in tech among both men and women, ultimately to inspire others to rise to the top and encourage a younger generation of girls to enter the field.
In late spring this year we will launch the European Inspiring fifty list, start nominating here! You can follow us @InspiringFifty
We are thrilled to announce that Lenny Gerdes, the editor of Dutch women’s magazine RED, will host the Inspiring Fifty launch on 6 December.
Gerdes has been at the helm of RED magazine for three years and with the magazine content focusing on key issues for women around work, careers, initiative and self-development, this makes Gerdes the ideal presenter for the Inspiring fifty event.
Gerdes herself has had an inspirational career. Prior to working at RED, Gerdes launched teen glossy Cosmo Girl in 2003, then led women’s glossy Elegance before launching Mama Magazine in 2008.
The exclusive lunch event takes place at TEDxWomen Amsterdam on 6 December where the top Inspiring fifty female role models in tech and business in the Netherland will be unveiled.
We are proud to announce that the European Commission Director Linda Corugedo Stenberg will be showing her support for Inspiring Fifty as a guest speaker at our launch event.
Corugedo Steneberg will present at Inspiring Fifty’s lunch on 6 December where the top fifty inspirational women in tech and business in the Netherlands are being unveiled.
Born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, Corugedo Steneberg joined the European Commission in 1996 and joined DG CONNECT in April 2011. DG CONNECT helps to harness information and communications technologies in order to create jobs and generate economic growth, and build on the greater empowerment which digital technologies can bring in order to create a better world, now and for future generations.
DG Connect works with the Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes who has also endorsed Inspiring fifty.
Inspiring Fifty is delighted to confirm that Olympic gold medallist Kim Lammers will be guest speaker at the Inspiring Fifty lunch at TEDxWomen Amsterdam.
Lammers is Olympic champion, World Champion, European Champion, not to mention ‘scorer of all time’ in the Dutch hockey league. She will present ‘How to turn bronze into gold’, speaking about her own inspirational success story with the Dutch hockey team who won gold at the London Olympics in 2012.
Alongside at least ten other teams in London, the Dutch team had all the opportunities to win gold: the talent, the will and the skill. Yet there is always only one winner.
So how do you achieve gold? Kim will share her exciting, inspiring and motivating story to the Inspiring fifty women in tech and business and the journey for her and her teammates on the way to Olympic glory.
Inspiring fifty will be unveiling the top fifty inspirational women in tech and business in the Netherlands at an exclusive lunch at TedxWomen.
The lunch takes place during a day-long TedxWomen event on Friday 6 December at the Okura Hotel in Amsterdam. Guests at the lunch, hosted by Inspiring fifty founders Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters, will include the fifty female role models – selected by a group of industry experts for their inspiring career in technology or business in general – who can share their experiences to inspire others and connect with other women.
For more information on TedxWomen visit www.tedxamsterdamwomen.nl