Charlene Lambert

The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on the past year, to remind us of all the things that we are thankful for. This has been a fantastic year for WBII, as we have continued to be a valued network for international women entrepreneurs in The Hague region. And it would not have been possible without all of us!

Looking back

The numbers are impressive:

  • We held eight successful networking events at the Carlton Ambassador Hotel, a Festive Lunch at the Hotel School, and an informal lunch at Sushi Morikawa;
  • We continued to offer two ‘Start Your Own Business’ seminars, this year for the first time in collaboration with Webster University Leiden;
  • We held a full day Digital Marketing workshop in June, in collaboration with Google and Webster;
  • We organized a joint event with WIL – Women in Innovation and Leadership – who are students at Leiden University College;
  • We refreshed and refurbished our office, and hosted four mentoring circle meetings there with Rise & Lead, and four afternoon ‘Borrels’ with our members;
  • We attended two trade shows with our members;
  • We supported and participated in at least two of our members’ leadership events, including with Ebere Akadiri (Rise & Lead) and Heleniq Argyrou (Women of Truth);
  • We participated in two events for internationals hosted by The Hague International Centre (THIC);
  • We attended the Vrouwen Podium’s ‘Princessendag’ at the Dutch parliament;
  • We prepared a briefing document on the topic of the importance of women’s entrepreneurship;
  • We have improved and streamlined WBII’s administration, sent out 10 monthly newsletters to over 2000 contacts and members, and maintained an active social media presence.
  • This work is all done on a volunteer basis, including by the WBII Board, and the many members who have stepped up and helped to organise, speak at and participate in these events. We continue to believe that an organisation such as the WBII is an important network for international women who are looking to develop their business ideas and advance their careers, and you all deserve a heartfelt ‘Thanks’ for participating and joining in this endeavour!


While the main purpose of WBII is to directly support its members to start and grow their businesses, over the years, it has become increasingly apparent that WBII also has as an important ancillary task, which is that of advocacy. By reaching out and working with other organisations, WBII has found its voice and can use to this support you and women entrepreneurs in the Netherlands to be well recognised and to achieve all that is possible.

This year in particular, and at the request of Dutch MP Femke Merel van Koten (Independent) — whom Dymphna and I met in September at the Vrouwen Podium meeting in The Hague — WBII has presented briefing documents to her on the topic of the importance of women’s entrepreneurship. Femke had asked us for information that she could take forward to the Dutch parliament, and WBII was able to accomplish this in collaboration with the NVR (Dutch Women’s Council) and the WEP (Women Entrepreneurship Platform), of which WBII is a member.

The year 2020 is also particularly important for women’s advocacy because of the United Nations Women conference coming up in New York in March. It is also the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration calling on governments, institutions, businesses and civil society to advance women’s opportunities in global value chains. We will be watching what happens over the coming months and sharing more information on this important topic.

Happy Holidays!

As the year draws to a close, and we tally the more than 30 activities and the many other accomplishments that have successfully been completed, we can indeed say that 2019 was a fruitful year. It’s important to remember that this was all possible because we worked together. Because of this, we look forward with confidence and optimism to the next decade. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy and peaceful holiday season, and all the best in the New Year — see you in 2020!!