“Self-confidence is the most important intrinsic value to become successful and to be able to deal with setbacks and to overcome disappointment”, Says De Meyere.
Carine De Meyere has been working globally to empower entrepreneurs and invest in suitable businesses. She has been entitled, “Woman of the World” for her global leadership efforts. She builds cultural bridges world over to make business possible. Here is our conversation with Carine.
Tell us about you as “Woman of the World”, and the story behind this title.
Ever since I was a little girl, with three different nationalities in my DNA Dutch, Norwegian and English, I dreamt of an interesting and inspiring life in business where I am relatable globally. I feel at home wherever I go. I can communicate in many languages and have strong cultural adaptation to ensure people in business and people in general are able to connect with me openly.
I work toward woman empowerment and invest in women-owned, women led businesses. I have been involved with many female empowerment platforms years before I launched my own. It is called, “Women of the World platform”. Every woman is a woman of the world for me! It is a feeling that grows while building up self-confidence through acquiring knowledge and enjoying life. I have created a platform for women that enables and empowers women from all countries, from all nationalities and from all ages. It is a truly diverse and inclusive platform, which would feel like a global matriarchy! Our next women leadership program happens in Dubai this October, where we will welcome women from nine different countries – investors and entrepreneurs.
What do you believe is the greatest achievement in your life? How did you make it possible? Share few facts from your journey.
My greatest achievement was the idea for the first truly Interactive Children’s Museum in the Netherlands KIM – Kids in Motion. It was my first social entrepreneurial endeavor, following my two years study at the Harvard University. I wanted to create a space where technology and education would naturally come together with an educational interactive playground and learning center for children aged between 4 -12. This would allow them to connect with their unique talents through our carefully curated and created interactive exhibitions. As a young mother, I felt that education and creative skills were going downhill in the Netherlands. Therefore, I took to the mission to find a solution for this. I built a team of very knowledgeable individuals, and partnered with another lady with experience in work relevant to a museum.
I created a very strong advisory board with ‘powerful and influential’ people to ensure we brace hurdles. We raised €600.000 from various impact investors. We were ready to launch when the financial crisis hit in 2008! As a founder and CEO, I decided to postpone our launch hoping life would return back to normal soon. Later, we decided to commercialize our IP. Therefore, we sold our content and exhibitions to major museums in the Netherlands and our ideas transformed the museum world from within! As it turned out we had created exhibitions for a target group (young parents) and age group (children) which had been totally forgotten by the museum world!
I think I am most proud of my flexibility and agility to pivot to another direction with our team! In the Netherlands, I am still known as the woman who wanted to create a monument of love for children – KIM – Kids In Motion! I believe the world is a constantly changing arena and for a child to succeed in life, it needs to be comfortable with change instead of having the fear of the unknown.
As an angel investor what have been your preferences?
I aim to invest in businesses owned by female entrepreneurs with a social or environmental impact. I am open to invest in a business that uses technology as a solution and as a catalyst for change. I work closely with entrepreneurs and mentor them, after I invest in their business. I work as an active investor and take deep interest in business growth.
How many different kinds of startups have you been able to support? What are your priorities in terms of picking a startup to invest in?
I have invested in about ten startups so far! 80% founded by women and 20% by men. For me it is important to feel passionate about the entrepreneur. It is very difficult to connect with a business owner who does not have passion for what he or she is doing. Before I decide to invest, I want to see how well they are at fundraising and how they deal with setbacks!
What advice would you give to women led businesses and how women should start, grow, and prepare for fundraising as a founder?
Here is what I advise: Every woman must build up an influential network around her. She must look for ambassadors, who can represent her in places when she is not present. She must find a mentor and a sponsor. They will act as her eyes and ears, watching out for her and guiding her.
I advise women entrepreneurs to stay true to their promises, avoid over selling themselves or over-predicting with their pitches. It is much better to start small and to meet targets than to create big expectations and fail. Each country treats entrepreneurs differently when it comes to building up your reputation, therefore, choose the market to launch a startup and play the game. It will increase your chances of winning. For example, in the UAE I know it is still very difficult for female entrepreneurs to raise capital! I have invested in some female entrepreneurs and I have learned that the ones who were smart enough to bring a man to the fundraising meetings were more successful than others! I am part of the Steer Co. of the FemaleAngels2022 movement, where we inspire women to become investors in other women.
What are best practices for scaling up business in the present times in your experience?
I think it is very important to choose your markets carefully. With the current globalization, yet also pressing global issues, you need to be able to pivot to countries and markets, which may actually thrive by the global issues.
I am a strong believer that when a woman has knowledge of technology she is naturally empowered and ahead of her competition. Therefore, build a close relationship with technology.
Give one message to our readers.
Be the change you wish to see in the world! Be your own brand, use your own products, live your own dream and only accept investments from people whom you respect or whose business was an inspiration for you! Don’t sell your soul to investors who want to piggyback on your great idea!!
How can readers connect with your brand?
You can find me on LinkedIn and I am happy to schedule a call to help you raise money for your startup venture.