BNP Paribas in Asia Pacific News & Press
July 4, 2016 -

Launch of the 2nd annual BNP Paribas Wealth Management ‘Women Entrepreneur Program’ at Stanford Graduate School of Business

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Some 30 women leading international fast-growing businesses in Europe, Asia, the US and the Middle East will be attending the 2016 round of the exclusive Women Entrepreneur Program run from 3 to 8 July by BNP Paribas Wealth Management and the Women Initiative Foundation on the Stanford Campus in California.

A group of 30 women entrepreneurs from 12 countries, working in various sectors including digital services, the media, publishing, beauty products, gastronomy and the medical field, will take part in a week-long programme comprising lectures and classes delivered by faculty members of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

“Participants will benefit from excellent academic teaching, with a programme specifically geared to the real issues facing entrepreneurs. They will have the opportunity to network and share their aims and aspirations for international growth, innovation and leadership and even pursue business opportunities with each other,” underlined Sofia Merlo, Co-CEO of BNP Paribas Wealth Management, adding: “This innovative programme run in cooperation with the prestigious Stanford Campus illustrates the commitment of BNP Paribas Wealth Management to promoting entrepreneurship among women.”


The training programme designed by Stanford University, with its mix of knowledge and skills acquisition and personal development, is tailored to meet the needs of these highly accomplished businesswomen. The format combines classroom courses with workshops, round-table mentoring sessions and company visits in Silicon Valley.


The courses will be delivered by recognised experts on such topics as strategic leadership, negotiation, unlocking synergies and exploiting business opportunities. The basic aim of the programme is to help the participants to acquire further management skills and learn to identify external growth opportunities.


The programme also provides unparalleled opportunities for international dialogue and networking. With over a dozen nationalities represented, this unique gathering offers participants the chance to benefit from the experience of other outstanding businesswomen from all over the world.

“This programme is one of a number of initiatives devised and supported by the Women Initiative Foundation, whose mission covers three main areas – training, economic studies and mentoring – designed to assist and promote entrepreneurship among women both in France and around the world,” explained Martine Liautaud, President of the Women Initiative Foundation.

Close-up on businesswomen taking part in the 2016 programme



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.

Besides the food sector, the last 15 years she spend also time in port related companies as a shareholder or advisor.



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.



4 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.


5 Anaïs BARUT

Co-founder and CEO, DAMAE Medical


A graduate of both the HEC business school in Paris and the Innovation-Entrepreneurs stream of the Institut d’Optique Graduate School – a Paris-based institute focusing on optics and its industrial and scientific applications – Anaïs Barut specialises in the management and commercialisation of innovative technologies. At DAMAE Medical she is responsible for the business model and commercial strategy and for implementing key partnerships. In 2015, Anaïs was named by MIT Technology Review as one of the top ten French innovators under 35.


DAMAE Medical is currently developing a medical instrument which enables dermatologists to take in-depth pictures of the skin in a non-invasive manner in order to show up any anomalies. Without having recourse to invasive biopsy techniques, a practitioner will be able detect a skin condition even before the first signs manifest themselves on the surface.


6 Marie-Hélène DICK

Chair of the Board of Directors, Panpharma Laboratories


Founded 25 years ago by Marie-Hélène Dick’s father Pierre Richard, the Panpharma Group develops, produces and sells a wide range of injectable medicines to hospitals and clinics in France, Germany and over 80 other countries under the brand names Panpharma and RotexMedica.


Panpharma employs 500 staff and has an annual turnover of €150 million. In France, Panpharma is market leader in the field of antibiotics with a 40% market share.


Marie-Hélène has been head of Panpharma for twenty years. She is also Chair of the Supervisory Board of Virbac, the world’s 8th largest veterinarian pharmaceuticals company. In 2013 Ernst &Young named her ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’.



Founder and CEO, MinuteBuzz


MinuteBuzz is a straightforward independent media site which offers the most entertaining and impressive topics from the Internet on a daily basis.


Company CEO Laure Lefevre manages the company and takes care of sales.


Facts and figures on MinuteBuzz: over 15 million visits and 7.5 million unique visitors per month; 68% of site traffic comes from mobile, and 70% from the social networks; MinuteBuzz has 436,000 Facebook fans, 35,000 followers, a fast-growing Instagram community and is on SoundCloud and Vine.



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.



Co-founder and CEO, Monbento

Emilie Creuzieux started out as a physiotherapist but in 2008, through her partner, who is a designer, she discovered the bento box – a traditional Japanese on-the-go lunch container for busy people.

In March 2009, with her partner and another friend who took on the role of web project manager, she embarked on an entrepreneurial venture, setting up Monbento. Her company specialises in creating and selling on-the-go tableware to meet people’s increasing need to eat outside the home. Monbento’s unique products have earned three world-level awards in the design field.

The company has so far created 13 jobs in France, a figure that is expected to double as turnover rises. Monbento products are sold in over 400 specialised shops in France, plus major chains such as Galeries Lafayette. An e-commerce site has also been set up. Exports now account for 60% of sales, with a subsidiary in Hong Kong and another in New York. The company enjoys the support of a strong international community, stretching over 40 countries, has its own blog and is on the social networks, boasting 16,500 Facebook fans.

Monbento now aims to widen its range of products, expanding into luggage, and also intends to expand its distribution network overseas, to find growth drivers, such as magazines and food trucks, and to open its own stores.


10 Anne-Marie GABELICA

Founder, OOlution


A biochemistry graduate and agronomist, Anne-Marie worked for 7 years in the cosmetics sector before taking the plunge into entrepreneurship in April 2010 when she founded her own brand. Convinced that there is a viable alternative to traditional cosmetics, she creates customised treatments which are easy to use as they come ready-made, without any need for mixing. Anne-Marie takes an uncompromising attitude to the safety and quality of her treatments, with 100% natural sourcing of her ingredients, and pursues the additional aim of giving everyone the opportunity to gain insights into what lies behind the cosmetics we use.

Anne-Marie is today recognised in France as a true innovator and future-oriented entrepreneur and is a regular expert contributor to the media. Since February 2014 she has been running a spot on entrepreneurship in ‘L’entreprise BFM’ (BFM Company) on the BFM Business channel. She regularly publishes articles giving advice on cosmetic products on websites as Fé and has since August 2015 appeared once a week as a beauty/well-being expert on the French consumer affairs programme ‘La Quotidienne’ broadcast on the France 5 channel.


11 Fabienne LICHENTIN

Managing Director, Câblerie Daumesnil

In 1974 Fabienne Lichentin, together with her husband, took over a company trading in electric wires and cables, whose customers are wholesalers in France and abroad.

Fabienne serves as Managing Director of the company. She is also Vice-President of the Women Chief Executives Network in the Seine Saint-Denis area north-east of Paris, and Advisor on French overseas trade to the local council.


Câblerie Daumesnil is a major force in the market due to its broad range of stock (on a 6000 m² site at Bobigny in Seine Saint-Denis) and competitive prices. The company has an annual turnover of €30 million. In late 2013, Fabienne Lichentin launched a new range of products – the Menil lighting range – and won the national prize awarded by the French SME association’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Club in the ‘Export’ category.

12 Murièle ROOS

Founder, Femme Majuscule

Murièle Roos is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the French magazine Femme Majuscule, which is aimed at businesswomen aged 45 and over. Launched in March 2011, it comes out every two months with a print run of 90,000.

When she launched into her entrepreneurial adventure with Femme Majuscule, Murièle took a rather risky bet. She moved from marketing, where she had been working as a high-flyer in major companies for over 20 years, to the role of magazine editor, where she was out on her own and had to be self-financing.

Her starting point was the observation that, from a demographic, social and economic perspective, businesswomen over 45 are pretty much ignored by the traditional media. However, not only are there a lot of them – over 50% of all adult women in France in 2014 were over 50 years of age – but these women are mature, experienced people, many with dynamic business and private lives, often full of ideas about what they want out of life, modern and adventurous, and they demand to be heard and recognised.

This is how Femme Majuscule came to appear in newspaper kiosks all over France and on the website Murièle Roos’s magazine is a vehicle for reaching out to this group of women and meeting their needs.



CEO, H51


Julie Guerrand is CEO of H51, a holding company which was set up in 2011 to manage the majority stake in Hermès International and preserve the family shareholding in this luxury goods group for future generations.
Since 2012, she has held a number of positions in the Hermès Group, including Head of Acquisitions.


Julie began her career in the banking sector, working for 8 years in the M&A division at Rothschild. She worked as an analyst, then Head of Private Equity for four years. She sits on the investment committee of the family office, which she co-founded and also has a seat on the Board of Directors of a number of large companies, both private and public.