“The students and young entrepreneurs you can interact with here are enormously inspiring because of their diversity. No matter where they were born, they all share the same dream of running a business. It’s just that there’s another layer of culture on top.”


“I want to give something back to the people who’ve shaped me, and Vlerick is a major influence in that respect.”

“It wasn’t until 1997 – I’d already turned 30 and Accent Jobs had only just got off the ground – that I did my first training course on entrepreneurship: the SME Challenge. After that, I continued to invest in training every year and now I’m a real Vlerick girl (laughs).” I deliberately divided up my donation, because I want the beneficiaries to be really involved – skin in the game.

“At the same time, business people of my generation can also learn a lot from the young generation. Digital technology is self-evident to them. They don’t even call it ‘digital’ any more. They don’t buy locally either, but worldwide. The ease with which they make all the different pieces from all over the world fit together is something I find equally astonishing.”


“Someday I hope to be one of the funders myself”

Beauty by Ciza makes skin and hair products for people with a darker skin colour. “With my background being in science, I felt that I lacked the financial know-how to be able to run my business well. An MBA at Vlerick is not only what I needed in terms of content; it’s also extremely rewarding because there are students of more than twenty different nationalities on the course. Can you imagine how many vibrant ideas and different perspectives that opens up? It’s truly a unique experience.”

“My parents couldn’t afford to pay all the fees for my MBA, so the funding was a lifeline for me. What I find amazing is that I'm able to exchange ideas with donors and friends in an informal, friendly way. Someday I hope to be one of the funders myself and support people who need a helping hand. And in the meantime, I’ll continue to build my business. Maybe it won’t be the next Unilever – or maybe it will (laughs) – but it will definitely be a Lailalever.”


In 2020, we’re calling upon 20 top women to invest in the next generation of 20 female leaders.

Want to find out more?