Carmen Breeveld, your passion is to connect governments with Investors. Why you chose the path you are on?
After I had my first child at the age of 31, I founded my first company. It was the first HR Recruitment Agency in the Netherlands. I studied Human Resource Management after I graduated from the University for Teacher Education, during the evenings while I was working in an HR department in the security sector. I was head of HR at the age of 27 and I had noticed that I could manage things very easily after I was appointed as HR Manager of the department. There was no budget available for education and training of the middle management and I did something extraordinary to create a budget for the development of my management. It was during a period of economic crisis with lots of unemployment in the Netherlands. I went to the Labour office where people had to register their unemployment and I proposed a plan to integrate these people into the security sector which was very well accepted. There were financial resources of10.000 Dutch Guilders for each person that I reintegrated in a new job. It didn’t take me a lot of time to decide that I could integrate a group of 50 people, which immediately gave me a budget of 500,000 guilders. With this budget, I could educate 50 people and provide them with a job and I could use part of the money to educate the whole middle management to increase their management skills and sales skills. This was very unusual for the company especially to the other HR colleagues, since HR people rarely leave their offices to go outdoors to look for opportunities. This is how I discovered that I have an unusual profile for an HR person. Later I was asked by a leading assessment agency to go through their assessment because they wanted to know the competence profile that enabled me to do what I had done. This was the first time for me that I was told that I have without a doubt a 100% entrepreneurial profile.
After I had successfully worked for four years, the company decided to change their top management. As I was not happy with the new management I left the company. That was my last job as an employee. During my maternity leave, I had the time to think about my career and make the necessary preparations to start up my own company in 1996. Since my business model was focused on guiding HR managers to their next step in their career, start-up costs were quite low due to the sizeable network that I had built up in my secondary function as president of the HR Association in my province. I had invested € 6,000 to develop a brochure, logo, corporate identity and the registration of my company at the notary. The first assignment was worth € 90,000 and the second one was worth € 300,000. Compared to my salary of € 60,000- at that time, one can imagine that I never returned to a regular job in HR. Every year my turnover doubled, leading to the nomination and award of the European Business Award in 2003.
It may sound a bit slack, but creating a high-quality network is the basis for all success.
You are passionate about your work, what drives your vision?
After 18 years of recruitment & search business, I have been through an enormous transformation personally as well as businesswise. The business was not very challenging anymore and I was determined to find another business model and service that would make me get out my comfort zone again. For that reason, I decided 3 years ago to change my focus to international trade & investment. Many investors are looking for good investment projects and many SMEs are looking for private investors to grow their businesses. Since the banking crisis that evolved in a financial crisis and an economic crisis etc. etc., I saw the opportunity for myself to change my business model to connect the businesspeople with the investors. Because of my strong focus on businesswomen, I have decided to focus on women as well as developing countries that are aiming for private investors. I had to change the name of my company, website, image and branding of my company. It took me some time to transform, but at the moment I’m on the right track. I have several offers from foreign businesses outside The Netherlands that want to hire me for this reason. It’s a blessing to be able to connect SME’s and foreign governments to big investors and see how one action can change the lives of millions of people, especially children.
3) What is the closest cause to your heart?
I want to use my extensive network to create a better world. With the services of the Dutch Investment Partner, I have set up a business model that can be used to achieve such goals.
My passion is to keep on connecting governments to investors and have a bigger impact on people’s lives in a positive way. I can do this the rest of my life, because the competencies that I possess, will be fully used to get things done and besides the fact that it creates a new business, it also gives me the opportunity to make a big difference in people’s lives and give them a chance to not only survive but also a chance to develop themselves and their families.
What current projects are you working on?
The current projects I work on are confidential, but I can roughly assume that I am currently working on the following transactions.
Purchase of a Premier League Team for a foreign investor.
The search of a Dutch launching customer for a mobile detection system to enhance the security at airports and harbours.
The search of Dutch parties for a biomedical machine that is applicable in a preventive way at security services.
The progress of a business development plan for tourism in the Dutch and British Caribbean area.
The search of business partners in Milan, Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao and Saint Lucia of multiple entrepreneurs.
What is your vision for an enhanced world? What needs to happen?
In my opinion, there are a number of important issues that politicians need to focus on over the coming decades, taking into account the aging of Europe and the explosive population growth in Africa.
1. Redistribution of food
2. Develop and invest from backward areas to prevent refugee flows
3. Developing deployments of current refugees in Europe
4. Global approach to Industrial innovations to prevent environmental disasters
5. Promote tolerance and celebrating differences instead of fighting each other
What are the 3 key steps you took, and which could inspire other
people to change their lives for the better and ultimately our collective world?
a. By being successful in my entrepreneurship, I have become a role model for women and minorities who have increasingly started to doubt their own competences because talented people get fewer opportunity’s in society
b. Teaching minorities to increase their visibility, thereby also increasing their chances
c. Promote entrepreneurship, allowing people to create their own opportunity’s to grow their economic independence
What do adults have to practically do to inspire younger generations?
Adults have to inspire younger people by:
– giving them more responsibilities
– coaching them where necessary and allowing them to take the lead
– solve problems by having their new interventions tested
– do not try to show the old solutions to them for new problems
How do you keep the balance in your busy life and what is your idea of a dream holiday?
I keep the balance in my life by making a good planning, where I combine the long working days with quality time for my family, which usually takes place at the weekend. In addition, we regularly try to go on a short or longer holiday with the whole family to the tropics, where all the attention is paid to the family. I am blessed by the fact that I need little sleep and therefore can do mountains work on a day and can make 2x as many hours as the average person.
What is your earliest childhood memory?
I spent my childhood in the tropics and then emigrated to the Netherlands. I had a nice childhood where there was plenty of room for sports, entertainment and time for friends outside the regular school hours.
What is your favourite food?
My favourite food is South East Asian food and Surinamese food which is a combination of South East Asian and Creole kitchen.
Who most inspires you?
Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey.
If you could be anyone in history for a day – past or current –
Who would you choose to be and why?
Barack Obama to experience what issues appear on your desk during one day.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I have developed my new business internationally and I work mostly from a sunny location and I do many things virtually.