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Queen Máxima and Prime Minister Mark Rutte joined Inspiring Fifty’s flagship event on diversity

We were delighted to be joined by Queen Maxima and Prime Minister Mark Rutte from the Netherlands as well as leading women in technology from across Europe at our flagship event ‘Inspiring Perspectives’ co-hosted with StartupDelta in the Netherlands last Wednesday (25 May).

The daytime event took place at the world-renowned art museum Mauritshuis in The Hague, and brought together inspirational female role models from across the European technology scene.

Together we 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.

We were honoured to be joined by both Queen Máxima and Prime Minister Mark Rutte, demonstrating what an important topic  diversity is – and our guests were able to pose questions and spend time debating the diversity issue with them both.

We were also delighted to be joined on the day by inspirational speakers: 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 – while other guests delivered their own ‘inspiring perspectives’ on diversity during our ‘The Floor Is Yours’ sessions.

After a packed day with inspiring talks and networking, we celebrated a successful day with dinner at Vondelpark 3 in Amsterdam.

Inspiring Fifty co-initiators Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters said of the event: “It was an honour to be joined by guests from Europe and indeed across the globe. It was a truly inspirational day for us – and we hope our guests felt the same. And this is just the beginning – we will continue to collaborate with these inspirational role models to make change for the better, coming up with actions to really make a difference.”

Thank you to our partners Atomico, Facebook and Improve Digital for their support.

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London, 11 March 2016: 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 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, 28 September 2015: Facebook is hosting an event with Inspiring Fifty this Wednesday 30th September to celebrate inspirational women in the Dutch technology sector and highlight the importance of diversity.

The networking event will take place in Amsterdam and is hosted by Facebook head of southern Europe Paola Bonomo who Inspiring Fifty recently named one of the fifty most inspirational women in the European technology sector.

The event provides the backdrop to discuss the importance of diversity in the technology sector, following the recent launch of Facebook’s ‘Managing Bias’ programme which will be introduced by Facebook Vice President EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn.

Other inspirational speakers include TomTom co-founder and managing director Corinne Vigreux and Inspiring Fifty co-initiator Janneke Niessen who share their views on diversity, and the opportunities and challenges faced by women in technology.

Inspiring Fifty co-initiators Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters said: “We’re delighted to co-host this event with Facebook. At Inspiring Fifty we are passionate about celebrating role models, and we hope together we can debate and shape ideas to bring about positive change to the gender balance in the technology sector.”


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.

Belgium Office

UK Prime Minister’s office and Inspiring Fifty to host roundtable

The UK Prime Minister’s Office is hosting a roundtable with Inspiring Fifty this Friday 6 March, celebrating the achievements of the top fifty women in the European technology community.

The roundtable will be hosted by Baroness Shields, chair of TechCityUK, and will focus on the initiatives the women think Governments can undertake to improve Europe’s digital economy as well as debating the opportunities and challenges for females in the technology sector.

The event brings the women together for the first time since they were named as the fifty most inspiring in the European technology community by Inspiring Fifty, a pan-European initiative that identifies, encourages, develops and showcases females in leadership positions within the technology sector.

The roundtable will be followed by a mentoring session where young girls keen to build successful careers in tech will get to pose questions to their role models. Both events will take place at 10 Downing Street.

UK-based Girls in Tech is partner of the mentoring session and is recruiting girls keen to take part. “We are thrilled to offer this unique opportunity to our Girls in Tech members and honoured to partner with the Prime Minister’s Office and Inspiring fifty for the occasion”,said Josephine Goube, co-managing director at Girls in Tech – an international network raising the visibility of women in technology, entrepreneurship and innovation through monthly events and programmes.

Girls In Tech is launching a leadership mentoring programme in the spring of 2015 following the event. It is thus timely and good news to see the Government and Inspiring Fifty supporting women leadership and partnering with us to make this initiative a sustainable one“, added Goube.

Inspiring Fifty co-founders Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters said: “We are hugely excited to host this event with the Prime Minister’s office, bringing together a formidable group of women to debate and shape ideas to improve Europe’s digital economy and the role of women within that. We are also delighted to be partnering with Girls in Tech to provide young girls the opportunity to meet these incredible role models to inspire a new generation of female leaders and entrepreneurs.”

Inspiring Fifty Netherlands Launch a new inititiative

Inspiring fifty, a new initiative to showcase female role models in technology and business in the Netherlands, was launched today during a day-long TedxWomen event at the Okura Hotel in Amsterdam.

Co-founder of Inspiring fifty Janneke Niessen said: “By putting the spotlight on role models we hope to inspire women to choose a career in technology, have ambition in their careers and achieve the ultimate goal of bringing about positive change at all levels, including in female leadership in technology.”

The initiative has been endorsed by Vice President of the European Commission leading the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) Neelie Kroes.

High profile guest speakers at the launch included European Commission Director, Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technologies (DG CONNECT) Linda Corugedo Steneberg, Dutch Olympic 2012 gold medallist Kim Lammers and Accenture Global Managing Director Resources Strategy & Industry Transformation Anja Montijn-Groenewoud.