From 13 to 19 May, 15 Georgian women entrepreneurs visited the Netherlands. And what a great week it was! Brilliant Entrepreneur opened the week with a full day of training. First, we caught up on all the developments and progress the women had experienced over the last three months. Their talent clearly helped them to come up with innovative ideas and work more efficiently. Touching and inspiring stories were shared. In the afternoon we had two inspiring speakers on delegating ownership and on pitching. Immediately after the session, the women started practising their pitches in front of an interested group of guests. It was the start of a lively network session that ended with singing and dancing.
Talents and dragons
After identifying their unique talents in our workshop in March 2018 in Tbilisi, they started recognising moments of talent in their work and private lives more and more often. Being aware of their uniqueness increased their self-confidence and brought structure to their work. During the workshop in March we also reflected on what prevents them from showing their talent to the full, the so-called dragons that accompany everyone. The participants said that the training had really helped them become aware of these dragons and to share with others. They found ways to recognise when the dragons took over and ways to tame their dragons.
Delegating leadership and ownership
In the first workshop in Tbilisi, the participants talked of how difficult they found it to delegate parts of their work to others. If they delegated, they mainly distributed tasks, which means that they, the entrepreneur, still bore responsibility. In order to grow their business this needs to change. This is why we invited Karin Bakker to work with them on delegating responsibility and ownership. We started with an eye-opening exercise that made clear how we are all control freaks and that we have to let go if we want to delegate successfully. The main exercise was about assisting employees to come up with their own solutions only by asking questions. It was quite hard not to give solutions and advice. A seed was planted for sharing responsibility; it is now important to let it grow. We will reflect on this issue in the final workshop in October.
Although Pitch Queen Nathalie Mangelaars recently injured her ankle, making her walk with crutches, it did not stop her from providing a pitching workshop. She revealed that the Brilliant Entrepreneur groups were among her favourites so she did not want to miss this opportunity. Under her guidance, the group brainstormed on how to make their pitches livelier and more effective. The results were immediately clear after the training when the participants presented themselves to the external guests who had come in for the networking session. It started with lively discussions and ended with singing and dancing Georgian songs.
We conducted our training in the beautiful location of Scheveningen, literally on top of the sea. Slowly, the morning fog disappeared and the view emerged. Just in time for our surprise. The ladies hoped and guessed that they would have a meeting with the former Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili, who now apparently lives in the Netherlands. Instead we took them on the Wonderwheel, 15 minutes of being a tourist during the fully planned business week.
For the rest of the week, the women entrepreneurs visited many companies and met many people so that they could exchange knowledge and experience and lay the foundation for business deals. This was organised by Handelsroute. This part of the event received good evaluations by the participants. Many mentioned the main lesson as being that networking and sharing experience can bring a lot. They felt that Dutch business people were very open. Furthermore, their interest in Corporate Social Responsibility increased, especially when they realised that it is not necessarily difficult and costly to set the first steps in motion towards more socially and environmentally responsible business.