'Dream big or go home' or what happens if you put hundreds of European female entrepreneurship ambassadors together in one room in Warsaw…

Conference female entrepreneurship Warsaw
A walk through the park after the conference for female entrepreneurship ambassadors in Warsaw
The conference: a lot of women and some (camera) men :)

'Entrepreneurship. You are not born with it. You develop it by courage, self-confidence, attitude and by not thinking to climb the mountain but by actually climbing it'.

This was the first line I copied in my conference notebook as I knew ‘she’ was right and as I always say ‘when you’re right you’re right and you better write it down for it to be printed, not so much on paper, but into your head’.

This time the truth came out of the mouth of Joanna Drake, Director at the European Commission of the SME department and speaker at the conference and I was about to find out that she was not going to be the only one sharing great wisdom and pride at the conference on a that cold November morning. 

No women in sleek business attire but mainly hands on women from all over Europe with a business to run and a story to tell. Stories can be very powerful and therefore some are stuck in my head such as the one of the Norwegian furniture business located on a small island only connected by ferry with the main land, or the one of the water pumping business of a woman in Cyprus who proved her point to her father that also daughters could step into their fathers footsteps, or the one of the women from Malta who put together money in order to give loans to starters as regular banks tend to be reluctant to do so.

Especially striking to me was the fact that it was uncommonly easy to instantly connect with most of these women, despite their age, business, family situation, country, language and so. So maybe it’s true what they say that there might be an entrepreneurial gene after all which would explain their will to survive and to take care of themselves and of others, their determination, their longing to be free and last but not least their lust for life!

‘You are an entrepreneur or you are not and it’s not because you have no business yet, that you are not a true entrepreneur’. I was thinking about myself and how it took me almost 40 years to live up to who I really am and always have been: an entrepreneurial, active, creative, curious woman always looking for what’s next ☺

‘Business is making money on ideas that others think doesn’t make sense at all’ made me smile. It reminded me of only 1 year ago when precocious Belgians warned me that there were more than tour guides enough in Ghent and that there would be no place for me and that I had no chance to make money out of it and that there wouldn’t be a market for private customized tours….well here I am in Warsaw feeling like a fish in water ☺

Warsaw was a warm welcome homecoming to driven, likeminded people with a positive attitude. No complaining but looking for solutions, handing over tips & tricks from one EU-country to the other one, all this in this relatively new EU country Poland.

‘Symbolic’, I thought the next day when tour guide Boktan (I could not resist taking a tour of course ☺) told us about the many destructions and deaths Poland had been suffering throughout the Second World War and Communism. It was still palpable in the old center of Warsaw which, although carefully rebuild, couldn’t take away an underlying sense of missing of those who were gone not so many years ago.

The EU, once founded to prevent further wars in Europe, I thought, is not a little luxury we business women can rejoice for a day or two but truly a necessity to us all and that hopefully for many years to come.

Kristel Vereecken


Dag kristel, het was weer een

Dag kristel, het was weer een plezier om jouw gedachten te mogen leren kennen, als postief punt voor 2011 noteer ik alvast mijn kennismaking met kristel vereecken, die straffe madam van gent ! Bedankt en tot binnenkort. Nadine

Thanks Kristel for putting

Thanks Kristel for putting words to what many of us felt during that great meeting in Warsaw! Anne

Nice blog Kristel, and you

Nice blog Kristel, and you write a very good review from our days together with all the inspiring women in Warsaw. I´m glad we got to know each other, and allready looking forward till next time! Regards and hugs from the norwegian furniture repairwoman :)

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