#Entrepreneurs — 05.07.2016

Women Entrepreneur Program: Who Are the Businesswomen Taking Part in the 2016 Edition?

Close-up on the women entrepreneurs who take part in a week-long programme comprising lectures and classes delivered by faculty members of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Non-executive non-independent director , GREENYARD FOODS

In 1987, Veerle De Prez, together with her brother Hein Deprez, laid the foundations for what would later become the UNIVEG Group. In 2003 and 2004, the takeover of PELTRACOM and AGROFINO, two companies in the horticultural sector, took place, afterwards being named as Peltracom.In 2005, Veerle Deprez took an important stake in PINGUIN (a Euronext listed company), later on called GREENYARD FOODS.

The 3 groups of companies merged in 2015, the whole group being called now GREENYARD FOODS. GREENYARD FOODS is a global market leader in fresh and prepared fruit & vegetables, as well as growing media.

The groups is the business combination of Pinguin (ranked n° 2 in frozen), Noliko (ranked n° 5 in canned fruit & vegetables in Europe), Univeg (ranked n° 2 in fresh fruit & vegetables worldwide) and Peltracom (ranked n° 3 in Europe).

GREENYARD FOODS has operations worldwide and serves a global customer base including most of the leading retailers in Europe. The group counts close to 8.200 staff active in 26 countries worldwide, with a combined turn-over of 3,9 €bn.

Veerle de Prez has been active in the food sector for almost 30 years.

Managing Director for European Business Development, AFINITI

Afiniti is a mature start up (founded 10 years ago, commercial since almost 4 years) that uses applied artificial intelligence to enhance human interactions in large enterprises by efficiently pairing customers with employees based on predicted interpersonal behavior.

Cecilia has just joined Afiniti, as Managing Director for European Business Development, with her first objective being develop Italian business/operations.

What excites her most is: being part of such a disruptive technological change, have the chance to "create" the Italian operations from scratch and hopefully being able to contribute to the success story of the start up.

CFO / Member of the Board,  FARPLAS GROUP

Ahu Serter is a serial entrepreneur and investor with a focus on investing in technology, smart transportation and women led businesses.

Ahu started her career as a hedge fund manager in New-York, she is now the Chairman of the Board of Farplas, a Fortune 500 Company, a conglomerate comprised of companies in automotive, appliance and tourism. She also founded Farplas’ CVC, F+ Ventures, investing in start-ups for disruptive innovation in the field of smart transportation, especially in companies that combine automotive, electronics and software competences for more sustainable mobility alternatives. Throughout her career, she founded or invested in companies such as art hotel brand, Casa dell’Arte, Hotels of Arts and Leisure, Mata Automotive, producer of luxury car interiors for Tesla, Aston Martin, Hecha Cookware for modern gourmets.

As a female entrepreneur/investor and mother of 3 daughters, she felt that female potential is greatly overlooked. Named after her youngest daughter Arya, she founded ARYA Women Investment Platform where she brings successful women investors, men and fathers of daughters to invest in ambitious female entrepreneurs. Since its inception, the beginning of 2014, ARYA invested more than $500K in women-led businesses.

Ahu is the recipient of the Enterprising Women of the Year 2015 award in the $100 M+ category. Ahu holds a B.A. in management from Bilkent University, Ankara and received her M.B.A. in Investment Management from Pace University, New York. She speaks Turkish, German, English and Spanish. She splits her time between her offices in Istanbul and in Boca Raton.

Kam Shim LAU
Year of creation: 2004

Having studied and worked in both the U.K and U.S, Kam Shim returned to Hong Kong in 2012 to join her family’s business that is focused in the retail sector. Since then, she has worked on modernizing and upgrading the department store experience for the customers, bringing in new brands to the store and overall assisting in developing business strategy in the years to come. At the current moment, she is also responsible for forming their corporate ESG strategy that will further enhance an environmentally responsible culture within the company.

CEO, Schmidt Group

Schmidt Group is a family firm set up in 1934 by Anne Leitzgen’s grandfather Hubert Schmidt.  Today the Group is the 5th largest European manufacturer of fitted kitchens, under the brand names Schmidt and Cuisinella, and also makes bathrooms and other interior furniture. She joined the company in the year 2000 following a number of years working in advertising agencies.

Anne held a range of positions in this family company – including marketing, sales and human resources –  before taking on the CEO challenge in 2006. Her watchwords are teamwork, and the importance of sharing common unifying values with staff, external partners and customers.