The journey of a first-time (female) entrepreneur

Follow the journey of Suzanne Snel

Meet Suzanne Snel, our new Entrepreneur in Residence. She got selected to join our program after she participated the Pressure Cooker in december 2019. She started together with Thomas Rijpma, Bram Haenraets, me & Sverre Gravdahl, whom you can also see on the picture above. Suzanne wrote an interesting blog about her journey of a first-time entrepreneur. You can read her personal story below. 

Startuplife week 1: Finding the right cofounder and battling imposter syndrome

First week as Entrepreneur in Residence at Holland Startup! As I am currently in the first phase of starting a business – the Ideation phase – I have two main priorities: finding the right co-founder and finding and validating an idea for my business. In this blog, I dive into this week’s challenges of finding the right cofounder and battling impostor syndrome, and provide a few recommendations I picked up this week.

The founder's dilemma

What if you want to become an entrepreneur, but you have no partner, idea or money to start with? Holland Startup tackles this “founder’s dilemma” by providing support to match with a cofounder, find and validate your idea and provide funding to make it happen. This way, they enable young entrepreneurs to shape our society! 

Ideation phase: Finding the right cofounder

We started in a batch of four – two sets of potential cofounders – and quickly received the group nickname “The Fantastic Four” (I have to admit I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I have no idea if I can take it as a compliment). If there is one thing I heard over and over again these past weeks, it is the importance of finding the right cofounder.

If cofounding is like a marriage, I am currently dating. This week, we did a few exercises to get to know ourselves a bit better and communicate these insights to our potential cofounders. The one displayed below was particularly interesting, as we had to draw our strengths, hobbies, allergies and what we are looking for on a piece of paper, and then present the drawings of someone else. This sure caused a few laughs, but also, a much better understanding of each other and – to a lesser extent – ourselves.

Sverre and I will build on this coming week by filling out these 75 questions to ask your cofounder and discuss the results. The sweet spot as I understand it is to find someone who has similar values and motivations, but complementary skills. Let’s see if these questions will be useful to establish this.

The psychological journey: Battling impostor syndrome

Although being surrounded by all these smart and (on their way to be) successful entrepreneurs could be inspiring, it also contributes to some insecure thoughts. “Do I really deserve to be here? Am I capable to build a business? I don’t even know where to start!”

A bit of impostor syndrome is normal in any new job, let alone such a life-altering career move as becoming an entrepreneur. So I try to allow these thoughts to come and also kindly escort them out again, as they will definitely not serve me. As I read in “feel the fear but do it anyways”, fear is part of every journey (or at least every journey worth taking). It is welcome in the car, but never allowed to steer the wheel.



If you are interested in entrepreneurship, I would highly recommend the “How I Built This” podcast. Every episode focuses on a different entrepreneur. Through conversation, we find out how they rolled into starting their own company, what they learned throughout their journey and how it impacted them in business and life. A “must-listen-to” for every starting entrepreneur!

Check it out >


The book “Running Lean” by Ash Maurya gives a lot of practical tips around validating and iterating your business idea in a way that ensures speed and flexibility.

Order here >


Are you busy with work and life, but also spending time on tasks in and around the house that are not giving you any joy? Then the NearOnes app is definitely something to try out. NearOnes is the place where people meet for help with everyday tasks like babysitting, cleaning, groceries, errands and petcare. NearOnes founders Yvonne and Toni also started out as Entrepreneurs in Residence at Holland Startup and are passionate to change the current perspective of living together in bigger cities and bring the “heitje voor een karweitje” back to town.

Download on app store > Get on Google Play >

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