"When people believe in you, it really makes a difference"
Marielle Wiegmans knows better than anyone else what challenges an entrepreneur faces. As a corporate finance advisor, it is daily business for her to help start-ups, among other things. "To be successful, you have to have the right people around you. If someone believes in you, that really makes a difference!"
That's exactly why Marielle has faith in PlusPlus' entrepreneurs. "When I read the projects about ambitious women who want to build a life, I see a culture with strong survival instincts. The motivation is high, and the fact that they have gained the trust of an investor helps their chances of success. When you get a loan, it does something in your mind, because there are people who believe in you. Then things succeed and you radiate that."
A horse and people person
Marielle Wiegmans is a cheerful, hard-working woman. An average day begins for Marielle with muddy boots in the muck to groom her ponies. "I love animals. I occasionally take in pitiful animals; I love to be around them in the early morning. An hour later I reappear as a lady to start my working day," she says with a laugh.
In her work, she sees many young entrepreneurs passing by. "In these times it is not very easy to get funding for a company, but when I believe in the proposition I like to spend a lot of time looking for investors. If the start-up has the goal of making the world a little nicer, I get all excited!"
In addition to her work as a financial advisor, Marielle invests a lot of time in fundraising. She founded ‘Parapaard’, an equestrian fund for the disabled, 9 years ago. "Connecting is in my dna. I am a horse person, a people person and good with money. I can help and I want to help." The athletic businesswoman believes that you should do what’s within your power to make the world a little nicer. "I am lucky to have my parents’ genes, enough experience, energy and perseverance. It takes effort sometimes, but you don't do it for yourself."
As the daughter of an entrepreneurial family, Marielle participated in fairs from an early age. Her parents owned a watersports company in Breukelen. "I really liked the trade. In boats I was a little less interested. Yet I met my husband Hans at a boat show and we started a watersports company together. Extraordinary how easy the banks were back then in providing loans," she says looking back. "It was hard work with the necessary perseverance and guts. Meanwhile, I kept working in options exchange, to create a little buffer. I gained a lot of experience there."
"It's my job to arrange financing for companies, but it's so much harder to raise money for a charity," sighs the money expert. "Peddling keeps you humble. Raising a thousand euros is hard work in the fund world. You have to pull out all the stops. In my experience, people are often nice to talk to and compliment you for doing such a good job. But to actually get the money is not easy."
For Marielle, the fact that our purchasing power is now a little weaker seems no reason to gloom. Impact investing also continues to have a future. "You need people with a 'heart'. We Dutch are perhaps inclined to save our own skin first. Pooh, what worries we have. But compare our problems with the rest of the world. I hope that in these times the awareness grows that not everything can be taken for granted and that there is another world with much bigger problems. Better times will come again someday."