Celebrating International Women’s Day

International Women's Day: Spotlight on female entrepreneurs.



Mark your calendars for March 8th. It’s time to celebrate International Women’s Day.  

In today's challenging world, the push for gender equality is more vital than ever. It's not just about fairness, it's about shaping a future where everyone thrives. By ensuring the rights of women and girls in every part of life, we're paving the way for stronger economies and a healthier planet. 

This year, we're rallying around the theme "Inspire Inclusion." It's a call to action for all of us to roll up our sleeves and contribute to a world where equal opportunities and rights aren’t just ideals, but reality. It's a powerful day to look back at the strides we've taken, face the challenges that still lie ahead, and spark real talk and action about making inclusion our reality. 

We’ll showcase five amazing businesswomen and share some ideas on how to celebrate International Women's Day on your own.  



Cristina Chiriac – CONAF (Romania) 

Cristina is a powerhouse in Romanian entrepreneurship, with a strong focus on uplifting women through her leadership at CONAF (National Confederation for Female Entrepreneurship). Launched in 2018, during Romania's centennial, CONAF has been a pivotal force in amplifying women's voices and supporting their progress in the business realm. 

Even before spearheading CONAF, Cristina was a beacon of entrepreneurial drive, taking on pivotal roles and founding the National Association of Entrepreneurs in 2012 to support small businesses. Her commitment also shines through her work with the Federation of Employers of Women Entrepreneurs (FPFA), a unique body championing female innovators in Romania. 

At CONAF, Cristina continues to advocate for women's vital role in driving Romania's economy, where 38% of entrepreneurs are female. She's at the forefront, addressing challenges like outdated societal norms and unjust laws to create an environment that truly respects, supports, and invests in the future of women. 

Cristina's dedication also extends to Rethink Romania, a think tank she co-founded – a hub for ideas on entrepreneurship, emphasising the transformative power it holds for individuals, society, and the entire country. 



Nikkie Plessen – N Brands (Netherlands) 

Nikkie Plessen's journey is a blend of passion, entrepreneurship, and fashion innovation. Beginning her career as an actress, her ongoing love for Dutch and International fashion was ignited when she presented TV’s "Project Runway”.  

She launched NIKKIE in 2012, infusing her personal style into elegant, feminine designs for women wanting a mix of high-end and high-street fashion.  

In a meteoric rise, NIKKIE quickly became a leading Dutch brand before expanding internationally. This success was followed by the equally popular children's brand NIK&NIK, cosmetics line N BEAUTY, lifestyle label N HOME, plus much more, including supermodel Kate Moss' own clothing line, "Selected by Kate Moss". 

Bringing all the brands together under the umbrella N BRANDS, Nikkie’s hugely popular clothes and lifestyle products are now available in N BRANDS stores across the Netherlands, in Belgium, and from the hugely popular webshop at NBRANDS.com.  

Today, Nikkie is more than a designer. She's a savvy CEO, leading her growing fashion empire with the same dedication that once charmed audiences on screen. 



  

Marialena Baklatzi – MIELĒV (Greece) 

Marialena's path to the boardroom sprouted in her family's rose garden. There, surrounded by the scent of roses and the tradition of making rose water, her passion for nature and its treasures blossomed.  

Although she initially ventured into law, followed by roles at the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees as well as packaging and technical fabrics company Thrace, her entrepreneurial spirit was calling. After a deep dive into cosmetology and fuelled by unwavering determination, she developed her first face creams for family and friends, sowing the seeds for MIELĒV. Following a further three years of extensive research and development supported by a team of internationally renowned scientists and dermatologists, she launched MIELĒV in 2020. Named after the French verb “je m ‘élève” meaning "to elevate oneself," MIELĒV celebrates the connection between nature and wellbeing. True to Marialena’s vision, MIELĒV blends the purest, organic, nature-derived ingredients with a commitment to ethical beauty that celebrates a conscious and responsible approach to skincare.



Dina El-Mofty – INJAZ Egypt (Egypt)

As one of the most influential young Arabs on the global stage, Dina helps build communities, invests in untapped potential, and guides others to realise their dreams.  Following recognition, including the Young Achiever of the Year award and the Top 50 Award for top-performing women, Dina founded INJAZ Egypt – a beacon for change. Partnering with businesses and schools, INJAZ Egypt provides a suite of educational programmes designed to empower young people and give them the confidence, financial skills and entrepreneurial spirit to succeed in the world of work. Dina's impact also extends beyond Egypt's borders. INJAZ Egypt is a proud member of the global Junior Achievement network, the world’s largest and fastest-growing economic education organisation, reaching millions of young people. As part of the regional network INJAZ Al-Arab, INJAZ Egypt also extends its helping hand across 14 countries, facilitating invaluable mentorship from accomplished Arab business leaders. Though Dina has recently handed over the reins of INJAZ Egypt to concentrate on her latest project, Soulful, her legacy continues to transform the lives of young people across the Middle East and North Africa region.



 Michelle Kennedy – Peanut (UK)

Michelle’s not just the CEO of the buzzing social media app Peanut. She's the mastermind behind a global community for women.  It all started in 2012, when Michelle, expecting her first child, scoured the internet for support but found nothing. Recognising the power of online communities and armed with her vast experience as former deputy CEO of dating giant Badoo and work with female-focused Bumble, Peanut was born.  With accolades including Apple’s Trend of the Year 2021, TIME100’s Most Influential Companies 2022, and Fast Company’s Most Innovative 2023, Peanut has become the safe go-to space for more than 3.5m women looking for friendship and support across every life stage – from fertility and pregnancy to motherhood and menopause. But Michelle’s impact doesn’t stop at Peanut. She’s also the force behind StartHER, a micro fund laser-focused on supporting women and underrepresented entrepreneurs of every background.   StartHER’s mission? To shake up the funding landscape and cultivate the next generation of trailblazers. 



How to celebrate International Women’s Day



International Women's Day isn't just for those in executive roles. It's about applauding the heroes who power every corner of your business. Here are some budget-friendly International Women’s Day event ideas to recognise their talent, spark teamwork, and build a more inclusive future.

Host a "Women in Business" showcase 

Shine a spotlight on the women who make your business or community thrive. Think about an event or online showcase featuring panel discussions, Q&A sessions, or networking opportunities where successful female entrepreneurs and leaders share their experiences, challenges, and advice.  

Implement a mentorship or professional development programme 

Launch a mentorship programme pairing experienced female professionals in your company with rising stars. Or offer professional development opportunities such as workshops, courses, or webinars tailored to support and benefit women's careers. 

Community engagement and support 

Team up with women-led local businesses or charities for the day. Organise a market exhibiting products from local women artisans or host a fundraiser for a charity championing women's causes.  

Internal recognition and celebration 

Celebrate the day by recognising the achievements of the women in your company. Consider an awards ceremony, feature their stories in internal comms, or give them a shoutout on your social media, helping to foster a culture of appreciation and respect. 

International Women's Day is more than a date. It's a chance to spotlight the incredible success and impact of women everywhere. The stories of these inspiring people echo the strength, determination, and boundless potential of women across the globe. 

However, let's not forget inclusivity isn't a one-day affair. By working together, we can cultivate an environment of acceptance, acknowledgement, and encouragement where equality isn't just a slogan but an everyday reality for everyone. 

For more business advice, and for guidance on making your business more digital, speak to our V-Hub Digital Advisers.

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