Support the 8th edition of the Entrepreneurial Woman Project
LPCC: What is the reason which led you to decide to support the 8th edition of the Entrepreneurial Women Project?Christian Heinen: IQ-EQ is always keen to support any business initiative which promotes gender diversity in the business world. Having been a member of the Luxembourg-Poland Chamber of Commerce for some years now, we have followed this project since its inception, and have witnessed its evolution into an all-round training and coaching experience. It has been fantastic to see how the project has boosted women’s confidence and provided the support they need to start their entrepreneurial journey. This is a unique project in Luxembourg and one that we wanted to support. We have seen in the past year how the Covid-19 crisis has discouraged many people from launching their business, with many choosing to delay the beginning of their adventure as an entrepreneur. This is especially true for women, who have arguably faced additional challenges these past months. I am delighted that we have supported this project in such a difficult context. I hope that our first prize will give this year’s winner the financial assistance she needs to get her project started. LPCC: What is IQ-EQ’s position on gender diversity? Christian Heinen: IQ-EQ feels very strongly about Diversity and Inclusion topics. Last year we reviewed our Diversity and Inclusion agenda and carried out a Group Inclusion survey to identify our potential gaps. It was clear that the lack of women in our leadership roles was an area on which we had to make some progress. A strong Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategy is now a must-have, and it is essential that this strategy lives and breathes across all levels of the organisation. In Luxembourg, our staff is composed of 53% of women out of nearly 400 employees. Despite this, our senior leadership team is primarily composed of men. While this is unfortunately a familiar story in our industry, we refuse to accept this as a market issue and to leave it there. Instead, we chose to challenge ourselves, in line with our company values of being authentic and bold, and to take some action around this. First, we tried to analyse and understand why the situation is as it is. When it comes to the recruitment process for senior positions, we realised that only 10 to 20% of the applicants are women. This clearly shows that there is a structural issue to start with. Then, if we cannot recruit outside of our organisation, we thought we’d look internally at our own talent pool, creating our ‘Elevate’ programme. ‘Elevate’ is an internal female leadership development programme accessible to women of all grades, locations, positions and backgrounds. This programme aims to break any ‘glass ceiling’ that could prevent women within IQ-EQ from accessing leadership roles, providing them with a development path to become our leaders of tomorrow. LPCC: What advice would you give to this year’s candidates for the Entrepreneurial Women Project? Christian Heinen: There is a strong entrepreneurial culture within IQ-EQ, which encourages every employee to think and act as an entrepreneur on a daily basis. The advice I would give to this years’ candidate would be the same advice I’d give to any person I’ve worked with along my career: Persevere and be persistent in the pursuit of your dreams.