Sophie Mitchell announces the winners of the 2018 entrepreneurial women awards
Photo: LaLa La Photo
A budding Indian entrepreneur was awarded first prize at the Luxembourg Poland Chamber of Commerce’s entrepreneurial women programme for her innovative solution for dog owners.
Photo: LaLa La Photo
Supriya Sodhi, who has lived in Luxembourg for the past two years and has a marketing background, received a €3,000 cheque for Dogstays.lu, a platform where dog owners can leave their pet with other dog owners while they go on holiday.
“It’s a problem that exists everywhere if you have dogs. When you leave town, you don’t have to leave them with a stranger, you can leave them with a person you like,” Sodhi told an audience in a prizegiving at Arendt House on Monday 12 November.
Sodhi told Delano after the prizegiving that her site was already live, but she plans to launch it as a business in January 2019 in Luxembourg. “I know that it’s needed because I was running the dogstays website myself,” she said.
Second prize of €1,500 went to The Beauty Crew, a home visit beauty service by Danelle Caruana and Michelle Bog, while third place and €1,000 was awarded to Catharina Salata’s Organic Station, delivering organic snacks to offices in Luxembourg.
The ceremony formed part of the chamber’s general meeting and marked the end of the fifth edition of the Entrepreneurial Women Project, which has counted 150 participants drawn from 50 nationalities. The project offers 50 hours of workshops entirely in English related to establishing a business in Luxembourg.
Prior to the prizegiving, Marie-Christine Mariani, who founded steel company MCM in Dudelange 20 years ago, talked about being a woman working in a male-dominated sector.
“At the beginning, the clients asked me ‘where’s your boss?’,” she said, explaining that back then she would lie, saying he had to be with his family. Only later did she reveal to customers that she was the boss.
She explained that the first ten years were the hardest, because she struggled to get finance from banks, find loyal staff and juggle family needs. “The past 20 years, I never took money out of the company, because I need it to grow the company,” she said.
The firm, which employs 24 people, recorded a turnover of €74m last year. Mariani was awarded the BIL 2013 Woman Business Manager of the Year.