Seldia Special Edition Newsletter

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Reding & Barnier open Seldia Exhibition

Tuesday, 19 February 2013 – The European Parliament exhibition space was swarming with Members of European Parliament, EU officials, stakeholders and interested parties wanting to take a glimpse at Vice President of the EU Commission Ms. Viviane Reding and Commissioner Mr. Michel Barnier. Invited by Seldia to open the event on Women Entrepreneurs, both delivered uplifting, refreshing and provocative key note speeches in which the concept of women entrepreneurs as vehicles to economic growth and prosperity were echoed.

Following a kind introduction by MEP Malgorzata Handzlik, MEP Lidia Joana Geringer de Oedenberg and Executive Director of Seldia, Maurits Bruggink, Ms. Viviane Reding set the tone to what was going to be a very lively and eye-opening evening.


Maurits Bruggink, Viviane Reding, Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg, Malgorzata Handzlik, Michel Barnier

“Some people dream of great accomplishments whilst others stay awake to do them” Viviane Reding

After stating that only one third of the self-employed are women, Reding listed the still existing barriers to women entrepreneurship. The Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, Reding claimed, aims to “change and reignite the culture of entrepreneurship in Europe” by tackling such obstacles. The European Commission, it was said, is “pulling many leavers to create a successful environment for successful women entrepreneurs”, a policy toolkit which ranges from improved social protection for women to increased awareness through the European SME Week, not forgetting budgetary and funding issues for initiatives. It was with this positive message of what the Commission can and will do, that the Vice President gave the floor to Mr. Barnier.

Opening with the same bleak statistics, Barnier acknowledged that the need to increase the number of women entrepreneurs was urgent, paramount and necessary for Europe to prosper. The creation of a “real single market”, Barnier said, would not only propel women to undertake entrepreneurship but would also induce a more “sustainable, innovative and strong” environment in which women-led businesses could thrive.  Critical of the quotas of women in politics and women in administration, Barnier claimed that the lack of women role models was something too that needed tackling, reminding us all that, though the momentum exists, “collective effort” and “determination” is still needed to see change. 

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Direct Selling Leads in Women Entrepreneurship

Seldia, the European Direct Selling Association, is proud to have been the organisers of such a successful, inspiring and thought-provoking three day event. ‘Women Entrepreneurs: 5 Pillars for Growth’ was and still is an important project for Seldia, a project that Seldia wholeheartedly commits to. The exhibition space, open to EU stakeholders for three days prominently showcased why direct selling is such a powerful vehicle in fostering entrepreneurship. With European sales of 17,8 billion euros and employing over four and a half million direct sellers in the EU alone, the direct selling industry made an informative campaign of its important contributions to the European economy. With 85% of direct sellers being women, it is no wonder that Seldia was not only present, but also the main driver behind this event.


Direct Selling Panels and Videos at the Women Entrepreneurs Exhibition

The exhibition was supported by the WFDSA, with Executive Director Tamuna Gabilaia personally attending. ‘‘Women Entrepreneurship: 5 Pillars for Growth” saw direct selling representatives come together for a good cause. With both the French FVD Executive Director Jacques Cosnefroy and Polish PSSB Executive Director and Seldia Vice-Chairman Miroslaw Lubon present, alongside Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, NL International, Nu Skin and Oriflame, the direct selling industry stood behind the message resolutely.


Jacques Cosnefroy and Michel Barnier


Tamuna Gabilaia, Maurits Bruggink and Viviane Reding

It is Seldia’s aim to further the positive momentum that kicked 2013 off with the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan, bringing to the forefront the urgent need to address the still existing barriers that hold women back. The figures published by the European Commission are clear: Europe lacks women entrepreneurs.  Women only constitute 34.4% of the self-employed workforce in the EU and their share in start-ups remains around 30%. As Vice President of the European Commission, Ms. Viviane Reding, put it, “women are the largest untapped potential for entrepreneurship in Europe”, a message that resonated throughout the entire week.

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Seldia Video

Seldia exhibited a video that encourages women to become entrepreneurs by highlighting in particular the benefits of flexible working hours as is the case in direct selling. The video was made by Video Plus Europe for Seldia with the support of two corporate Members. To watch the video click on the image below. 

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Photos of the Events

All the photos of the various events can be found on Seldia’s facebook page! You can get there directly by clicking on the image below. 

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New Seldia Corporate Member

We have the pleasure to announce that  Kyäni  has become a new corporate member at Seldia.

Kyäni is an Idaho Falls based health and wellness company offering high-impact nutritional supplements. The Kyäni product range features Kyäni Sunrise, Kyäni Sunset, Kyäni NitroFX and Kyäni Nitro Xtreme. Kyäni also provides a lucrative business opportunity. For additional information about Kyäni and its products, visit www.kyani.net.

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Exhibition Events

Lunch Debate

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 – As part of the Exhibition’s programme, a lunch debate was organized in one of the exclusive MEP salons. The focus of the discussion was on “The importance of Government and Education Programmes for Women Entrepreneurs” and featured three expert speakers and a second part in which Members of Parliament and participants could take the floor. With over 100 participants and 11 MEPs attending the turnout was already the first message: there is something important to talk about! The first speaker was Paula Fitzsimons representing the Irish EU Council Presidency and national director for her organisation ‘Going for Growth’. Ms. Fitzsimons explained that Europe had a lower rate of new business start-ups than other parts of the world. She earned special applause when she shifted to focus from increasing the amount of businesses to concentrate rather on growth. “The key to all this is getting more women not only to start a new business but to build it,” she said.

Paula Fitzsimons

As a second speaker Diana Filip, deputy CEO of JA-YE took the floor. Diana has been working several years with Junior Achievement Young Enterprise, the largest provider for entrepreneurship education programmes in Europe. Diana explained how important it is to introduce entrepreneurship to young people. During the lunch debate this point was once more underlined when a group of young girls dressed in scientists coats entered the room – they were part of an interactive 3D printing workshop at the exhibition space.


Diana Filip

As a third speaker Isabelle Rabier, CEO of the direct selling company Dermance made an impression on the audience as she recalled her own experiences when setting up her business. She underlined that the climate now is clearly less favourable but that already back then, the main concern has always been access to finance. Isabelle criticized the French government’s lack of involvement to support business start-ups and her clear cut message was published the following day in one of the most renowned EU Affairs Newspapers. 
You can find the Article here


Isabelle Rabier

MEPs and Participants join the debate

The second half of the lunch event bore witness to the interventions of Members of the European Parliament Ms. Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP, Sweden), Ms. Oomen-Ruijten (EPP, Netherlands), Ms. Marian Harkin (ALDE, Ireland), Ms. Teresa Jimenez Becerril (EPP, Spain), Ms. Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland) and Ms. Mary Honeyball (S&D, UK). Many of the participants also had important views to share, some being from the Brussels scene and many others travelling a long way to represent some of the over 28 partnering organisations that joined Seldia for the exhibition. The open exchange between female MEPs and participants was somewhat of a novelty in the MEP salons and came across as very genuine as many of the MEPs pledged their support for the cause and told participants that they were always approachable on this matter.


MEPs Ms. Pietikäinen, Ms. Oomen-Ruijten, Ms. Harkin and Ms. Jimenez

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SME Intergroup Breakfast

Thursday, 21 February 2013 – The third and last day of the exhibition bore an intensive programme. Starting with a breakfast discussion organised by Seldia and the European Parliament’s influential SME Intergroup, a crowd of over 50 gathered to hear what MEP Edit Herczog, Director of SME and Entrepreneurship DG Enterprise, Joanna Drake and CEO Fédération Pionnières, Frédérique Clavel and her colleague Estelle Bouriez (a former direct seller) had to say. Being an all-party group and formed by individual MEPs to discuss informal cross-party views on specific issues, in drawing on members of various committees, the so-called Inter Group is accessible to all and immune to party politics.

MEP Edit Herczog adresses participants

The Vice-President of the SME Intergroup, Ms. Herczog (S&D, Hungary) opened the session by recollecting the history and successes of the group. After summarising the most recent developments in women’s rights at European level, the attention was turned towards Joanna Drake who explained the recent advancements of the European Commission. It was Drake who remarked on the fact that the new Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan targets all potential entrepreneurs regardless of age, background, gender and origin. Drake, in response to Seldia Executive Director Maurits Bruggink’s question, reported that as opposed to men, women are found needing to rely heavily on male dominated networks, something which could change if strong national and European networks for women emerged.

In taking the floor, the representatives of Bruxelles Pionnières disclosed significant and symptomatic information regarding the number of requests the non-for-profit organisation receives yearly. With more than 3,000 applications, Bruxelles Pionnières has managed to successfully support more than 80% of these, a figure which shows just how much women entrepreneurs turn to bodies for advice and guidance.


Joanna Drake and Estelle Bouriez

After the SME Intergroup Breakfast Seldia invited the exhibitions’ partnering organisations for a meeting in which the EU’s Female Ambassador’s Network was discussed. As the European Commission had stopped its funding, the network has now the chance to be re-launched. Seldia Executive Director Maurits Bruggink chaired the meeting and was invited by participants to continue and lead on possible initiatives that would unite women friendly groups by giving them a platform in Brussels in which to cooperate more closely.


Seldia gathered over 28 partner organisations (For more information see the event’s website www.women-entrepreneurs2013.eu)

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Troy Dooly is recognized internationally as an influencer in the areas of personal branding, leadership development, marketing campaigns, organizational expansion, and corporate launch strategies. Dooly is a speaker, results coach, and radio host. He is a founding member, show host (Beachside CEO) and News Director of the Home Business Radio Network. He is a founding member, and currently serves on the Board of the Association of Network Marketing Professionals