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Starting an online business magazine

Starting an online business magazineEntrepreneur Simone Brummelhuis is head of The NextWomen, a successful business magazine about female internet heroes.

Here she describes how she has made a career promoting the business world's leading women.

How and why did you set up thenextwomen?

I got the idea after a meeting with entrepreneur networking group thenextweb in 2008.

During the meeting, it was mentioned that they felt there weren’t enough “quality women” in the tech world who were worth inviting to their conference.

I really wanted to prove them wrong and so set about starting The NextWomen, to highlight all these female internet heroes.

We started by writing an awful lot of content, interviewing female entrepreneurs, partnering with a lot of events and companies and organising a lot of events. We promised to be about business, knowledge, news and networking and not about empowerment and work and balance, as that follows naturally.

We planned to only develop the media company and become a female version of Business Week.
But our target audience requested something in addition: events, community building, workshop and then a mentoring program.

We now reach 60,000 readers, 10,000 women in our community, organized 20 events, published 800 articles, and have helped thousands of women to forge invaluable business contacts.

Give a brief description of your business background. What, if any is your specialism? Where did you gain your business skills?

I completed two law degrees at the University of Amsterdam, and received a scholarship to study for a Masters in Law at Columbia University.
I then worked as a lawyer with Dutch firm Loyens & Loeff. Eight years later, I started my own publishing company, Brummelbooks, whilst still working as a lawyer.
I developed the Dutch user-generated content restaurant guides Dutch Zagat IENS and in 2005 I bought Europeanmuseumguide.com which I plan to develop further.

What types of female-run new start-up businesses are doing well in the current economic climate? Why do you think this is?

We just did some research in Holland about the 250 most successful women entrepreneurs. That research showed that recruitment companies were strong as well as high-tech entrepreneurs as they are good at getting funding for their ideas.

Where do you see your business going in future? Do you have any plans for expansion?

We would love to expand the network internationally. We’re already working on the NextWomen business club and mentoring program, and we are developing the media side of the company with online magazines in various countries, video and print publications. I know that we are going to be the big business matchmaker for female entrepreneurs.

If there was one single person who inspired you to succeed in your business, who was it?

I am inspired by experts, like my Professor in Corporations at Columbia University, Harvey Goldsmith, Media Publisher Oscar Kneppers and CEO of Spreadshirt Jana Eggers. And I get very inspired by my own children, the Generation Y.

I am also an information freak who reads everything!

What's the weirdest/most unusual female-start up business you've heard about?

What Sarrah Murray did with Buddi, the personal tracking device.
It went from being a method of keeping an eye on your kids to becoming a handy tool helping police to catch criminals

What tips for success would you give to first-time female entrepreneurs starting a new business venture?

Keep your own job for a while you set up your first business- it takes 10 years to get anywhere financially with a new venture.

Get some quality advice, get a mentor, make lists what to do this week, this month and don't be shy about asking people what you want.

Think big. And if you want to follow the finance route, try the Astia program.

Who do you think is the most inspiring female business figure or entrepreneur in the public spotlight?

We just got 20 people signed up for our mentoring program, and I am truly impressed by each of their skills and business acumen.

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