A project in the rural communities of Gaasterlân-Sleat and Nijefurd is undertaken for women who consider starting up their own business. Tuition and network meetings started in January of this year, giving the 25 female participants the badly needed support before they will take the plunge to self-employment.

In the idyllic historic town of Workum I catch up with Silvia Hania of the Solyda Foundation, Hélène Schlingmann of Bureau Mainstream Support, Age Kramer of Plattelânsprojekten (Country Projects) and four of the women taking part in the Minding Your Own Business project: Els Rowies, Marjolijn Goossen, Jitske Mous and Wybrich Plomp. Before long we talk about country culture, in which the man’s farming business traditionally takes centre stage. A familiar picture to Els Rowies from Flanders, who has been living in Friesland for the last 23 years: ‘Women are often following their husbands in their business. I have done so myself. My husband has an installation firm for which I have been doing the books for many years. Even though I am not an office person at all! I realise it was my own ch…

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