Below you can find the short stories of some amazing female entrepreneurs based in Switzerland. If you are interested in more information about them, please visit #aspireme Photo Exhibition!
Dr. Carole Ackermann - Diamondscull AG - www.diamondscull.ch
Even though Carole’s “sales career” started early, she followed a classic business career until she was 35. She studied Business Administration, did a PHD and worked in the corporate world until a Management Buyout after which she became an entrepreneur. Today she is investing in startups, as well as leading one as its CEO.
Tasneem Ahmad - Tasneem‘s Indian Pakistani - Cuisine Made Easy - www.indian-pakistani-cuisine.com
Tasneem is eager to bring together the cultures of East and West and her cookbook is only a start. With her creative touch, she looks forward to realizing ideas ranging from textile design to jewelry. She also wants to source spices, discussed in her cookbook, in a sustainable manner to benefit those who produce them.
Marina Altman – ReWinner - www.climate-kic.org
Marina’s husband had a vision – Marina turned it into a reality. She always had an interest in sustainability and development. When her husband suggested reusing building material from Switzerland and delivering them to markets in Eastern Europe she was onto a “ReWinner”.
Audrey Sourroubille Arnold - Lotus Power Health - www.lotuspowerhealth.com
Audrey holds a master degree in accounting & audit. After 10 years in corporate finance, she had a burnout. Coupled with her idea that there had to be another way to manage her endometriosis pain and extreme fatigue, she started her new career path. Audrey is now a certified Health Coach.
Nadine Benedick & Simone Ospelt - Key of Aurora AG - www.keyofaurora.com
Nadine and Simone both grew up in entrepreneurial families and are passionate about fostering conscious consumption behaviour with KoA, an e-commerce company for bespoke and crafted goods. Their passion and hard work brought them the nomination “one of the 50 top start-ups to invest in” by Bilan and Venturelab.ch.
Michelle Burke - Michelle’s Cupcakes - www.michellescupcakes.ch
At the beginning Michelle baked cupcakes only for friends or sold them at markets, then a few years later she finally found a place where she could open her own store. When stepping into Michelle’s Cupcakes shop one may have the feeling to be at a romantic Hollywood movie scene or shall I dare to say in heaven? Colourful baking accessories, vintage decoration and amazing cupcakes - a place many women dream of to own. So did Michelle and she made this dream come true.
Nicoletta Casanova - FEMTOprint - www.femtoprint.ch
Nicoletta is a dynamic entrepreneur that will probably never be completely satisfied by the status quo and will drive for change. Her latest venture, FEMTOprint, develops an innovative and compact platform for the production of micro-devices out of glass with features down to the nano-scale. Her role is primarily that of making single great persons a great team, and while supporting everybody from behind the scenes, she is also the first person at the forefront.
Lisa Chuma - Women‘s Expo Switzerland - www.womenexpo.ch
Lisa recognized that there are a significant number of female business owners who could grow their businesses if provided with a platform that reaches out to the right audience. Her business, the ‘Women’s Expo Switzerland’, comes from her own personal experiences where women were her role models growing up.
Dr. Carol Franklin - Forests for Friends AG - www.forestsforfriends.com
Carol (63) studied literature, moved to reinsurance and then was the CEO of WWF. Then one thing leaded to another and today she became the owner of a farm in Panama with teak tree plantations, 660 sheep, a worm warm, 45 employees, butcher & carpenter shop and a certified Agriturismo. Carol doesn't plan as she finds it more fun, she learns more and she can grasp upcoming opportunities she couldn't if she planned.
Dania Gerhardt - Amazee Labs AG - www.amazeelabs.com
She studied economics and started a classic accounting career within a big audit firm. She started her own company, Amazee Labs, a web consulting and development firm - when she was 27. Also because as a mother of two she says it is easier to combine family life with a challenging job.
Véronique Goy Veenhuys - Equal-salary foundation - www.equalsalary.org
Véronique’s wish was to be able to share her time between work and family. Moreover, she couldn't stand being limited in her career because of motherhood. Therefore after giving birth to her daughter she founded her first company “Drap de Coeur”., then her second “equal-salary”, which she is now developing as a Foundation with the support of the Swiss government. Among others, she was awarded with the „coup de coeur“ of Ashoka‘s Impact Program 2013 and the LENA award from Business Professional Women (BPW) in 2010.
Séverine Götz & Sabrina Zbinden - Truefood GmbH - http://marthassalad.ch/
Sabrina and Séverine met in a PR agency where they were encouraged to work entrepreneurially. In 2011 during their road trip they met Martha on a Californian farmer‘s market. Inspired by her fresh and tasty food they decided to bring casual fast food to Switzerland. Sabrina and Séverine were always wondering where to get a tasty salad in Zurich‘s Kreis 4. Because they could not find one they started Martha’s Salad. They began with catering, now already have a take-away and dream of having their own restaurants in several cities.
Nicole Herzog - Haufe-umantis - www.umantis.com
Nicole is co-founder of Haufe-umantis AG, a software company for talent management, which was founded 14 years ago. She is among those few Swiss entrepreneurs whose company managed to have a successful exit. Today she is a member of the Administrative Board for Haufe-umantis AG, and besides that she presides over the Administrative Board of SHERPANY. She also advises startups with regard to company formation and provides them with support in their search for financing.
Dragica Kahlina - gluggergames - www.kahlina.com
Dragica is a sound artist, physicist and female entrepreneur. When she was 14 years old her brother-in-law helped her win a tech contest. This was the first time when she saw a computer, a Commodore 64. While other children just played on it, she had the urge to understand how it worked and wrote her first program on that day. Today she is coding and designing sounds and music for games.
Dr. Teresa Valerie Mandl - T.V.T Swissconsult GmbH - www.tvtswiss.com
Teresa founded her own company at 23 because she did not want to take over her father’s business right away. Then she interned at some large corporate companies where she realized that she did not only like to see parts of the business. In order to see the process from A to Z she became an entrepreneur.
Gabriela Manser - Goba AG - www.mineralquelle.ch
As a kindergarten teacher Gabriela attended a conference in a children’s hospital. For some reason she was afraid to hold up her hand to speak up and say her opinion. After that incident she realized she needs to change something. So she started further education which made her more confident and eventually allowed her to take over her family’s business. In 2005 she became Female Entrepreneur of the year and received the Prix Veuve Cliquot award.
Graziella Michel - skillharbour - www.skillharbour.com
Graziella has never thought about being an entrepreneur, she lived the normal life of a working mother. Then on one day she had an idea, she fell in love with it and said: “Why not? Let’s try something new!” And so she founded her own company, skillharbour, a platform where people can share their skills with each other without paying for it. The core value of skillharbour and what motivates Graziella is the following: “Do what you love for people who love what you do!”
Lea Montini - Mooris.ch AG – http://mooris.ch/
Lea has always stumbled upon things with wonderful stories. Stories she likes to tell. That prompted her to start her blog, leamontini.ch and then Mooris, an online shop with selected lifestyle products.
Olga Mykhailova – QualySense - www.qualysense.com
Olga is the Co-Founder of a company that manufactures agricultural robots; able to sort grains, beans and seeds according to their biochemical and visual properties. When she met her Co-Founder, they had an instant click because they shared one passion – Food! Her Co-Founder being an Aerospace Engineer and Olga’s background in Finance - the birth of a company was inevitable.
Gudrun Ongania - VEG and the City - www.vegandthecity.ch
Gudrun used to work as a change and project management consultant for many years, then when the moment was right, she changed her black&white costumes to a more colourful world and opened her online shop, later a walk-in store, VEG and the City. The concept is so new and fascinating in Switzerland, that also professionals from the gardening industry visit her courses to learn more about what this energetic 33 year old woman means with urban gardening.
Borislava Palanchova - audiolize GmbH – www.audiolize.net
Borislava is an energetic, 23 year old young entrepreneur, who is devoting all of her time to her company, audiolize GmbH. With her team she created a platform, where people can listen to or audiolize articles from online newspapers. The business is in its initial phase, but it is on its way to revolutionize the way we are consuming our daily amount of news.
Nadezhda Rodionova - Nadia Beauty Studio
The 33 years old Nadia has a colorful international background, as she was born and grew up in Latvia, opened her first beauty salon in Norway and the second, Nadia Beauty Service, in Zürich. Setting up a business is never easy, especially in a foreign country, but with her determination she managed to make it happen without any difficulties.
Stella Schieffer – PolyPort – www.polyport.ch
Stella is a highly accomplished individual having been educated at some of the world‘s top institutions. So when she decided to co-found her business, PolyPort - offering efficient transportation and delivery solutions – eyebrows were certainly raised! However Stella‘s profile has grown rapidly in the entrepreneurial community where she is becoming a role model for others who look to her for inspiration.
Sandra-Stella Triebl - Swiss Ladies Drive GmbH - http://ladiesdrive.tv/
Already in kindergarten Sandra-Stella (41) divided up the groups because she loved taking over the initiative and responsibility. It was clear for everybody that she would go her own way. And even though she claims not to have any goals she has already achieved a lot. She built up two magazines, an event series, a Ladies club and a creative agency. And one can be sure that there is more to come from this passionate entrepreneur.
Sunnie Tölle - Inspire 925
Sunnie by name, Sunnie by nature - Her persona is infectious and her drive for change, apparent in her tone and body language. After writing her thesis on ‘Assessing the Economic Value of a Positive Work Environment’ at Yale University, Sunnie decided to focus her attention on how companies can better engage their employees in the workplace. In doing so, she set up her company Inspire 925 which seeks to inspire employees from 9am to 5pm.
Maebellyne Ventura - Clever Biscuit - www.cleverbiscuit.com
Maebellyne is a ‘go out and get it’ kind of person. Originally she was a psychologist working with criminal ex-offenders with personality disorders. However, after a year she realized that it was not what she wanted as the results of her work were hard to see. After evaluating her choices she started to learn about digital marketing on her own and created a blog to attract and convince employers to hire her. Today at the age of 26, she is a Digital Marketing Manager at a global recruitment agency and co-founder of Clever Biscuit, a company that creates intuitive web-based applications.
Valérie Vuillerat - Ginetta GmbH - http://ginetta.net/
Valérie never planned to become an entrepreneur. But while writing her thesis she noticed that she liked project work. Afterwards she brought her thesis into fruition. Then she received the first project orders and started building up her own business back in 2000. From a young age Valérie wanted to be independent and earn her own money. She started at 13 years old by selling sweets at her swimming pool’s kiosk. Today aged 37 she has 16 employees at her company, Ginetta, a leading UX (User Experience) agency. 10 of the employees are women but not because she looked for female employees.