One of our ambitions at the MIC Brussels is to empower girls and women in entrepreneurship and IT. During the next weeks, through the series of portraits “Women, IT & Entrepreneurship”, we will bring in the spotlight inspiring key-actresses of these worlds. We are dedicated to have more women take the step and become successful IT entrepreneurs!
Julie Foulon : Women’s different perception can be real assets for startups
It feels like we don’t need to present Julie Foulon anymore. At the same time, her energy in entrepreneurship and technologies in Brussels is an inspiration and needed to be part of our series of portraits. Besides being active in the startup ecosystem of the Capital, she is also a strong supporter of gender equality in her fields and received last week the “Gender Award” by Good Planet for her dedication in supporting women and girls in technologies.
A different approach to technologies
After a short experience in the bank industry, Julie Foulon founded her first web enterprise in Charleroi. While her studies were pointing towards finances, she had learned how to code on her own and had grown a deep interest for technologies. “I had constructed websites for companies and, while it was not my initial formation, I felt I was closer to what I liked. After two years, I founded Girleek.”
Girleek created a sensation. For the first time, there was a local resource for girls and women in high technologies. Julie Foulon explained: “it was important to me to give that access of information for other girls. I felt that something was missing and that there was a different approach between women and men towards technologies. Also, that helped girls realize that the IT world could also be girly.”
Meanwhile, she jumped into the tech community with the Betagroup that she managed for three years. This community of tech enthusiasts and many more organizes events every month for entrepreneurs to pitch their startups and create a sense of community in between the Belgian startup ecosystem.
Her last big step was Molengeek. “The place is one reason aims to attract and gather all types of entrepreneurs.” More than a co-working space, Molengeek gives an easier access to technologies and entrepreneurship in areas that are generally overlooked. One more time, she is driven by a democratization of these trends.
Girls in high-technologies
While her confidence seems endless, was there any moment where being a woman might have been a barrier during her path? “Not really, but we do, as women, have to stand together to help other girls and women. I believe that women and men have of course a different approach to technologies but this does not mean that there is one better than another. Today, it is true that women have generally less access to the digitalized world than men. They think that that kind of environment will not match with their needs and I am here – with other women in Brussels– to remind that it is not the case. We absolutely need to take our role of women in tech in order to help the younger generation to take part of this. For example, at Molengeek, there are girls who took a big step to come until there – they sometimes come from very traditional environments. It can be an intimating place if you are not used to it and some of them are shy. I can somehow be a role-model there and invite them to gain confidence and speak up.”
Does she have any advice for women and girls who are reluctant to step in these worlds? “If you want to start your own business, don’t do it alone but, most of all, do it with the right persons. I think that technologies are real opportunities for women, they should take it and I am sure that this difference of perception could be a real asset for startups.”