‘This Academy is a balloon full of oxygen’

At the Young Lady Business Academy you’ll take big steps towards your dream

Where do they teach self confidence, perseverance, persistence, creativity and being goal oriented? Essential traits that are key to make your dreams come true according to Elske Doets, Dutch Business Woman of the Year 2017, but they are not taught at any school. Entrepreneur Doets decided to change that and founded the Young Lady Business Academy in 2017.

‘The Academy arises from my dream to give a boost to young women who are uncertain of whether they should follow their ambition,’ says Doets. ‘To make them strong enough to get to the top. Our world will be a safer, more humane and peaceful place for it.’

‘That I am not alone with my big dreams at the Academy, but part of a group of  highly ambitious girls, is so cool,’ says Lisanne Rohde (16). Thanks to her classmates and the atmosphere of the week, she fully realizes now that her dream of becoming a CEO is not impossible, even though she sometimes feels it is. ‘That inner voice saying “I can’t do it” didn’t stop me at the Academy.’

Key to success
Merel Poppeliers, the winner of the Academy 2.0, confesses that she wasn’t all that confident when she started the Academy. She grew more self assured once she understood what entrepreneurship is about: ‘To be successful, the Academy taught me, it’s not the “What” but the “Why” that is key. It is great that my breakfast service delivers delicious, cheerful and personalized breakfasts. But that is not what makes it unique, or successful. The real product, the real reason that I am doing this, is to make my customers feel happy and loved. When you understand the underlying drive of your entrepreneurship, you are much more that just a breakfast service and you have found your key to success. This insight has brought me so much!’

Better world
Essentially, the Academy is an unique meeting of personalities, talents and ambitions. From young to older, from established career women like Neelie Kroes and Annemarie Jorritsma to girls that dream of following in their footsteps. They all learn something from one another, Doets is no exception: ‘Engagement isn’t a value that I was brought up with. So to see the marvelous ideas for a better world that the young ladies are presenting, is novel and exiting to me.’ Take Marlieke van Schalkwijk (21) who’s company ‘Hidden Talents’ helps refugees to find their way around the bureaucracy so they can get to deploying their talents faster. Doets: ‘Getting girls with such great ideas closer to their goals fills me with a great sense of accomplishment. Giving back to them makes me a more evolved person. That is why the Academy makes me happy.’

So much faster
We get back a lot, that at the Young Lady Business Academy you make enormous strides in a short amount of time. And that at the Academy you learn more in one week then you do in a whole year (or two) at school. The Academy is lauded for it’s positivism, solidarity and unconditional support in the group. Young lady Cerise Kooijman: ‘I am lucky to have supportive parents, but some of the others get negative feedback from their friends and family. For them this Academy is a balloon full of oxygen.’

You don’t have to be perfect
A lot of young women hesitate to apply for the Academy, because they feel they need to work on themselves, or that they lack experience, or they are simply scared of being surrounded by highly ambitious girls for a week. To them Doets extends an extra warm welcome: ‘It is a misunderstanding that you have to be perfect to be part of the Academy. Perfection is boring even. Every talents comes with doubts and insecurities. That is the same for everyone. At the Academy we peel of that layer of feelings, so your talent gets to shine brighter.’

Dreams within reach
And then there are the young women that are self confident, but feel that their dream is too undefined. Or too big. Doets wants them to know: ‘Because of all the women in top positions who contribute to the Academy, we have a vast network. We offer young women the opportunity to spend time at the top and see what their dream to be in a top position is like in real life. And if you are having doubts about your Business Proposal, at the Academy you’ll get all the encouragement and feedback to make it better.’

Are you looking forward to bringing your dreams within reach in an inspiring setting? Apply now! The deadline for sending in the application form at is June 2nd 2018.