(L-R) Giulia Iannucci, moderator; Itzel Lerma; Charlotte Christensen; Mariana Florea, The NETWORK President; Simone Diensthuber; Anh Quyen Ngo-Li; Credit: Jazmin Campbell

Luxembourg-based international professional women's association The NETWORK held an event dedicated to women entrepreneurship on the evening of Wednesday 26 April 2023 at Le Village by CA Luxembourg in Luxembourg-Bonnevoie.

The event, entitled "Building a Business: Women and Entrepreneurship", took the form of a panel discussion, moderated by Giulia Iannucci, founder and CEO of KnowThyBrand Women. The panellists were Itzel Lerma, entrepreneur and business mentor, Charlotte Christensen, founder of Anyallergyfood and Social Business Incubator mentor, Roberta Miller, Ambassador for SheBuilds Global Initiative, Anh Quyen Ngo-Li, Communication Manager at microlux, and Simone Diensthuber, social service worker and member of the Women's Business Network (FrauenWirtschaftsNetzwerk). The latter was visiting Luxembourg from Austria with her colleagues.

After presenting their backgrounds, the panellists offered their tips for women wishing to embark on an entrepreneurial journey. They all agreed on the importance of building a strong network and asking for help when needed, supporting other women but also sharing the good and the bad experiences that form part of this journey. They spoke about the value of creating a solid business and financial plan before taking the leap, as well as understanding one's worth and knowing when to say "no".

For those wishing to learn more about starting a business in Luxembourg, the panellists suggested that the House of Entrepreneurship might be a good place to start. For those who would like to develop their idea further, nyuko is an accelerator for startups and microlux grants microcredits and provides coaching as well.

In terms of qualifications, the panellists recognised the value of training courses but also stressed the value of "learning by doing". Some of the panellists noted that women entrepreneurs may never feel 100% ready but it is important to just start, as long as one feels passionate about their business idea. Others cautioned that the process takes time and suggested it might be wise to keep one's day job at least until having tested the market.

As for how to stay relevant after starting one's business, the panellists agreed on the need to listen to one's clients (and even competitors) and adapt to the changing needs of the market.

At the end of the panel discussion, Roberta Miller launched a call to action, encouraging professional women in Luxembourg to consider mentoring women in emerging markets. This would be in the framework of the SheBuilds Global Initiative, an accelerator that connects women entrepreneurs in such markets to global opportunities.

The event also included two pitches (as has become tradition at The NETWORK's events), offering attendees a platform to present their businesses or ideas.

The Romanian Ambassador to Luxembourg, Alexandrina-Livia Rusu, and the Austrian Ambassador to Luxembourg, Melitta Schubert, were among the special guests at this event, which concluded with networking over drinks and finger food.