The ultimate guide for female entrepreneurs and women in tech
Amsterdam is home to a network of organisations and communities that are committed to promoting equality and diversity in the workplace. Their events and initiatives are designed to support female entrepreneurs and talent on their career journeys, bolstering their dreams, passions and projects, and helping to make them a reality.
Career equality in Amsterdam
Within Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and globally, there is a need for fresh ideas and new faces at the table to help tackle a number of societal challenges and demands. Topics such as climate change, political divisions, increasing inequalities and the role of smart technologies in everyday life are creating spaces for entrepreneurs and businesses to fill with new tech innovations and smart solutions.
But it is widely acknowledged that within this sector, although a lot of progress has been made, there is still a long way to go to secure gender equality in the workspace and in the tech sphere as a whole. The Dutch Government’s Taskforce for Diversity and Inclusion in the Digital Sector has outlined that currently only 18% of those working in IT in the Netherlands are women and the number of female CEOs is even lower, at just 6% – figures that this taskforce hopes to raise by 2025.
To reach new levels and take on the most pressing issues, both locally and globally, it is essential that female talent is tapped into and that women, from all backgrounds and walks of life, have a fair shot at grasping career opportunities, are given a voice, offered a seat at the table and occupy decision-making positions.
Amsterdam-based EQUALS is an organisation that celebrates equality and diversity in the workforce and is committed to furthering career and entrepreneurship opportunities for women in tech, and across a wide range of other industries. Its range of initiatives, events and trainings seeks to create a movement that champions and supports its female members and partners to excel and achieve their goals – creating opportunities that bring out the best in everyone.
Read on to discover more organisations and programmes, both in and around Amsterdam, that are cheering on female talent and helping to further the movement towards equality.
Events for female entrepreneurs and women in tech
Despite the continued challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, events have been able to continue, both in person and online. Female entrepreneurs and women in tech can access these events to broaden their industry knowledge, widen their professional network and gain support from others in the same field.
The Self-Made Summit is an annual business event in Amsterdam for women that are looking for knowledge, advice and support to help them on their business growth journeys. In the meantime, the event organisers also host a podcast that provides helpful advice while amplifying the voices of various successful female founders.
AmplifyHER creates an environment where women can grow their confidence by networking and connecting with others. The event’s schedule includes a mix of storytelling and knowledge-sharing sessions to inspire and motivate women on their career growth trajectories.
TEDxAmsterdam Women has continued to inspire through online events continued during the global health crisis. In true TED fashion, the TEDxAmsterdam Women event offers a stage where women can present new ideas and inspire change through motivational speeches and presentations.
The Women in Technology World Series is a platform that offers free webinars where women in a variety of industries, and from a number of big-name companies, can share their knowledge, experience and best practices on a number of inspiring topics, from AI developments and digital transformations to navigating a career in tech.
Girls’ Day is an event hosted by VHTO, an Amsterdam-based foundation that supports gender diversity in science, technology and IT from a young age. On its Girls’ Day event, many companies open their doors to girls age 10-15, hosting workshops and exciting activities where participants can meet women in the industry and learn more about STEM opportunities.
When it comes to driving forward the movement of equality and diversity, there is strength in numbers. In Amsterdam, there is a healthy ecosystem of organisations and initiatives that are designed to help women on their career journeys and to make gender equality in the workplace a standard across all industries. Within these communities, female entrepreneurs and those in tech can connect to strengthen their position in the field and craft out new opportunities for all.
TLNTHub is an online platform that connects female creatives to companies seeking to hire new talent. The website showcases the work of these creatives and posts new job opportunities online for those looking for a new opportunity.
Meetup provides an online space where those with similar interests, personal or professional, can connect. On this platform there are various groups for women in tech to learn, connect and network. Among these are She’s Coding, Amsterdam Women in Technology and Ladies that UX Amsterdam for those living and working in the city.
The Professional Women’s Network (PWN)is an online networking platform that aims to accelerate gender-balanced leadership in the workforce. Membership grants users access to a number of online resources that inspire and motivate.
Amsterdam-founded non-profit S#E (SheSharp) strives to create more working opportunities in tech for women from under-represented backgrounds. Through online events such as hackathons and webinars, the organisation pushes its mission of securing diversity and inclusion in tech.
The Next Women is a growth network for female entrepreneurs looking to level up their careers. Understanding of the challenges that women can face, tech entrepreneur Simone Brummelhuis founded the platform to promote equality in the industry and connect other women in tech with helpful and supportive resources.
Lean In Netherlands is the national branch of the global Lean In Network, an organisation founded by Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Meta. Together, these networks aim to ‘learn, grow and take action’ through their programmes and initiatives to create a more equal society where women occupy more leadership roles.
The Amsterdam chapter of the worldwide organisation R Ladies hosts monthly meetup sessions covering a variety of business-driven topics – creating a safe, supportive and productive community for women in business to connect.
Female Ventures is an online community of over 650 ‘female friends’ where women across multiple cities in the Netherlands can reach out to for advice or mentorship on anything business and career-related. A virtual space where women can unite in support of one another.
She Matters is a specialised recruitment agency that was founded in Rotterdam but is active countrywide. They link female talent to job opportunities in engineering, business services and IT to strengthen female representation in these traditionally male-dominated industries.
Ran by a network of committed volunteers, Empower Amsterdam helps non-native Dutch job seekers to find employment opportunities. The organisation runs free coaching sessions to help participants set a plan in motion and start their career path in the Netherlands.
The Amsterdam hub of global organisation Future Females runs frequent business networking events for entrepreneurs looking to learn new tips, tricks and skills to help them grow and thrive professionally.
The uptick in remote working and shared working spaces has grown dramatically. HashtagWorkmode has embraced this change, launching six ‘female-focused co-working spaces’ throughout the Netherlands. Their offices can be found in Utrecht, Rotterdam, Groningen, Apeldoorn and Amsterdam (where there are two locations).
Acknowledging the lack of IT specialists in the Netherlands, High Tech Tea formed to create awareness, promote role models and inspire women to pursue careers in IT and tech. The platform’s range of online webinars and workshops offers a pool of knowledge for women looking to embark on new opportunities in the field.
Female x Finance has partnered with a number of banks and other financial organisations to boost the presence and authority of female talent in the finance sector. Active in six cities throughout the Netherlands, and with over 600 community members, their platform is designed to guide women to success through their supportive online and offline network.
Education is key to promoting new opportunities for female talent in tech, as well as in other areas. Luckily, the Dutch capital has a number of schemes and courses that give women access to trainings that help them to re-skill, re-train or heighten their existing talents.
Techionista offers Microsoft-certified courses for those interested in learning more about the world of data and AI. Their certificates provide a boost to CVs for women looking to break into, or advance, within these industries.
Code to Change is a training programme for women who aspire to a career in the tech sector. The company aligns itself with Goal 5 of the UN’s Sustainable Goals: achieving gender equality for all women and girls. Their Academy teaches students the skills and techniques needed to operate within the modern digital era.
Zidi Circle is a business incubator and accelerator that supports diaspora entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs through trainings, coaching and funding. Founded in the Netherlands in 2014, the organisation has since grown and is now active in 15 countries, having assisted 324 founders and businesses so far.
Hack Your Future provides a free computer programming training course to connect refugees and other disadvantaged groups to the tech labour market. Partnered with many large-scale Dutch employers, the educational platform helps 85% of its graduates to find work as a developer.
FEM-START’s goal is to bridge the funding gap for female-founded startups. Their community and trainings provide women with the knowledge and confidence they need to secure funding for their projects and ventures.
Le Wagon teaches people the skills they need to change their lives. Since 2013, through immersive coding bootcamps, they have been teaching web development and data science in 44 cities and 25 countries. The world's most acclaimed coding bootcamp according to student reviews on Switchup and Coursereport, they have helped more than 12,500 graduates kick-start their tech career, upskill in their job, or launch their own startup.
Without funding, many great ideas and innovations will go unnoticed and unactioned. To reach equality and diversity in the workforce, and within the tech industry specifically, easier access to funding needs to be made available for female entrepreneurs. In Amsterdam, there are a number of organisations that help connect women to funding opportunities to further their ventures.
Trying to challenge the fact that only 1% of venture capital are currently given to all-female startups, the Borski Fund seeks to invest in women-led businesses to promote gender equality and fair opportunities. They’re proud to only offer financial investments to companies with gender-diverse teams.
Fundright – alongside Dutch VC firms and TechLeap – has created a roundup of the top 200 gender-diverse startups in the Netherlands. The guide showcases talent and success stories, while advocating for equal funding and career opportunities for all – including all genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations and disabilities.
The Angel Initiative is on a mission to encourage and empower more women to invest in startups and new businesses. Its creators are a diverse group of investors who want to offer support to women looking to build their investment portfolio.
Organisations within Amsterdam and outside of the Dutch capital have made great strides towards securing a more equal and diverse future – empowering female entrepreneurs and women in tech through knowledge sharing, financial opportunities and supportive communities. We’re excited to see what’s next on the horizon for these organisations and the female talent they champion.