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Erica Van Engel
My vision and values are based on a few beliefs:
#1) The future can be better than the present and I have the power to make it so.
#2) The fastest way to change society is to mobilize and empower the women who believe they can.
#3) Entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to handle the challenges we are facing in today’s world.
My career is characterized by change; change in direction and change in meaning. I started in the fashion industry and worked for several technology businesses. After that, I gained a broad experience as an office manager and policy advisor in the social and public sector. In the year 2000, right after giving birth to my daughter, I almost died from the autoimmune disease Sarcoidosis. It was that experience that made me realize that I had two purposes in life. The first was to raise my daughter and the second was to do something meaningful, yet not knowing what that purpose should be.
And it took me some time to find it. During a sabbatical in 2003, I started an internship agency that matches Dutch students with organizations in my country of origin: Surinam. This idea arose from the conviction that knowledge contributes more to the development of developing countries than giving money. Our advocacy for internships in Surinam led to more than 1.000 students choosing for Surinam. This not only resulted in the transfer of knowledge and workforce but also in € 5.000.000 per year in income for the local entrepreneurs, tourism sector and local citizens who rented their house to the students. This is how I entered the world of social entrepreneurship.
As I was asked to do lectures and speeches on how I started a business with a social mission over and over and was paid to do so, I started a consulting agency. I also started coaching others who wanted to start a business based on their beliefs.
From my own experience and great examples from around the globe, I know that it’s possible for any business, small or large, to change the world. “This world” can be your office, your industry, a community in your area, or one at the other side of the globe.
Research shows that women are more likely than men to pursue a social mission in business. We perform well as entrepreneurs and more than men, we (re-)invest our earnings in the welfare of our family and community.
On the other hand, it appears that women often suffer from limiting beliefs when starting and growing a business. Women have more trouble to set big goals and conceive scalable concepts. And women tend to set back because of the fear to fail.
It’s such a waste if you let limiting beliefs hold you from pursuing your purpose. The world needs you, now more than ever. And therefore I'm committed to supporting you in building a conscious business with clarity and confidence.
Let’s make a difference.
One business at the time!