Today is women’s day, and we came a long, long way from the February 28th, 1909, when the American women celebrated women’s day for the first time. Back then we had just got our rights to vote, and since the 40s the percentage of women working went from 20 to 80 percent. Now we see the increase of women in leadership roles and opening their own businesses. The world is within our reach, we just have to go and grab it. This is the case of Marielle Sijgers, the co-founder of Seats2meet, and that’s why I interviewed her today.
Hi Marielle, first of all, happy women’s day! As a successful entrepreneur yourself, what is your advice for other women who want to do the same?
Don’t make yourself apart from men. Just be sure you have the needed talents in the market for now, and the future. Most of them come even more naturally for most women, like the ability to be open, collaborative & willing to share with other parties.
What made you want to be an entrepreneur?
I can positively state that entrepreneurship is something I grew up with. I was raised in Almelo (a city in the east of the Netherlands) with my brother and sister (who are respectively four and five years older than me) by two very entrepreneurial parents in a real middle-class family.
We lived in the center of Almelo (obviously above one of our stores). My parents were always searching for innovation and continuously monitoring the dynamics of the city. Their motto was: when you don’t act, nothing will change. In business, my parents were always looking for the right shop formula which satisfied the needs of the people in Almelo at that time.
We as children were involved in ‘running the business’ at an early age. Every Thursday evening and Saturday, we would have our own popcorn stand in front of my parents’ store. That’s how I learned to count money at the end of each day. Back then, I was thrilled with a daily revenue of 46 guilders 🙂
What was a defining moment in your career?
That has to be about 20 years ago, two years after I started my career as an employee. I decided that from that moment I would either become a business partner in the company or I’d go on and be an entrepreneur elsewhere. It happens that I was working together with Ronald van den Hoff, my business associate nowadays. We shared the same vision in what the future of society looked like. Besides this, we found that we have very complimentary qualities. I always realized that I wanted to use my talents and capabilities to the max and by doing this as an entrepreneur I can really make the impact I’m aiming for!
And what do you see in your future?
I want to keep evolving, working on my skills and personal development, basically being the best version of myself for myself and the people that I care for, every day. Cada dia es una fiesta is the name of our holding company. This means that I really want to keep on working on the things that I love to do. Usually, you’re also good at these things. By owning our own company we create the best circumstances for people in our network to also get the best out of themselves. To see people connect, collaborate & grow as an individual, makes me a very happy person! I intend to keep on doing that!