The Women’s Business Initiative International pulled off a truly inspirational event for International Women’s Day!
Unique for an IWD celebration, attendees included Men and Women; students, entrepreneurs and corporate executives.  The event partners among the business community included the West Holland Foreign Investment Agency, T-Mobile, New Business School Amsterdam, GMW Advocaten, FVB, and Matzinger Notaris.
Speakers from diverse sectors presented their unique perspectives and aspirations on the topic of Women and Opportunity.  Jaws dropped as 30 year old Marietje Schaake , confirmed as an official D66 European Parliament Candidate just the day before, wowed us all with her views on leadership, the generation gap and her personal commitment to initiating change through the political process.  She will be one to watch!
Annick Nazambimana, of Oxfam- Novibrelated her recent experience working with a very committed group of women in South Sudan, to secure funding and realize an educational project for girls in remote villages.  Annick shared their secrets for success; total ownership of their own project, attention to detail, and the tenacity to basically kidnap her until their idea was transformed into a fundable proposal.

[vimeo 3773843]

New in 2009, the WBII introduced the Entrepreneurial Initiative Awards to recognize three core values; Ambition, Social Innovation and Networking.
Corina Waaijers, owner of the new Hotel Mozaic in The Hague received the Ambition Award and shared some of her adventures in buying, rebuilding and opening a new boutique hotel.  Amusingly, yet sincerely, she said she didn’t think she had done anything special, just exactly what anyone would do who dreamed of opening a hotel since she was a teenager and did so at the age of 31. The students of New Business School Amsterdam were particularly charmed by Corina’s account of her initiation into entrepreneurship.
Debritu Lusteau of Meleya Coffee was recognized for Social Innovation.  In addition to her lofty goal of branding Ethiopia, she collaborates with students of the New Business School Amsterdam, (a few joined her onstage) and students in Ethiopia, where she had flown back from earlier that day after a week of working with students from both countries.
Deborah Valentine, a hand in the Hague , was awarded Networker of the Year 2009. Although her business is still in the early stages, she connects people in a meaningful and authentic way and will succeed because networking is her way of life, not an event or transaction.  Deborah was so surprised by the award, that she was left speechless and that never happens!  These women are all awe inspiring examples of Women and Opportunity in action.