Speed Mentoring -The start of inspiring events

The first ever Speed Mentoring event took place on April 13th in The Hague. Expatstimes organised the event which focused on mentorship and guidance. The participating audience were young professionals, entrepreneurs, and expatriates.

Opening speeches were held by Expatstimes’ Prashant Shukla and Johann Stan. Our guest mentors were able to introduce themselves and touch upon their professional and personal experiences. Rachel Smets, Ajay Sharma, Mohamed Ittidar and Maurice Zondag were all gracious enough to accept our call to help and offered their time and expertise when it came to mentoring the participants and leading the open floor Q&A sessions. 


Topics such as quick presentation dynamics, as well as professional issues and goals were all discussed.
With a relaxed and friendly atmosphere the mentoring, and thereafter, the networking part of the event were widely appreciated and acknowledged by all who attended. Refreshments and light snacks rounded off an enjoyable evening!

It delights us to say the event was an overwhelming success. We are in the throes of planning our next speed mentoring event due to the first one being so outrageously popular! Watch this space and We hope to see you in our next events.

All details were correct at time of going to press. No responsibility can be held for any omissions or errors contained herein. The companies featured on this blog are unpaid.

Our full disclaimer can be found here.

Why Speed Mentoring?

Hello and welcome to the information page about the Speed Mentoring event. In this post, I will explain what the event is,  why we brought live to the event and how the speed mentoring event will work.

So why did we want to organize this event? That is a simple question answered by our Co-founder, Prashant Shukla. He said: “a lot of start-ups fail these days due to one reason. They do not get the right mentoring”. He also said “you do not only need one mentor, you need a mentor in different specializations of the market. For example, when I started Savana Solutions I needed a legal person for contracts but I also needed a marketing person to help me with improving my marketing strategy and many other mentors whom could help me in their different specializations. So for a startup, it is important to have the help different people with different specializations. With the speed mentoring events we are trying to make a group of mentors whom are always willing to help start-ups”. And with this event we want to help the start-ups and the mentors to connect and learn from each other.

What is the event exactly? The Speed Mentoring event is an event in which we will invite four or five mentors. They are all professionals in different parts of the market. The event will have up to 30 attendants, they will all have the chance to ask at least one question that they think is really important for a start-up or other part of business. The mentors will then all answer the questions that are in their professional segment as specific as possible. This will help the entrepreneurs to get the most reliable information as possible, so they can implement this information in their new ideas.

How do the mentors answer all the questions in such a short time? We came up with the idea that everyone needs to write their question on a post-it or paper and then place it on a wall. Then the mentors have time to look at the questions and pick out the once that are in their segments of their expertise. Then the mentors will repeat the question in front of everybody and answer it as specific as possible. This way everyone will also get the answer to question they might not have come up with but they still wanted answers on.

For our first event we are happy to announce:

Mohamed Ittidar 

Mohamed Ittidar is a certified coach from Robbins Madanes School of Coaching.  He specializes in guiding expats to add value to their organizations and loved ones by helping them to solve the challenges in personal, family and work-related areas. Mohamed’s international academic background and years of global professional expertise in many industries put him in an outstanding position to contribute to the international community and inspire its residents to make meaningful connections.

Rachel Smets

Rachel is a speaker, lecturer, language instructor, and bestselling author of ‘Awaken Your Confidence: 15 People share their Journey to Success.’  Living and working in several countries for many years, she developed a passion for cultures and languages. Intercultural awareness and conversational languages are her favorite topics to teach online and offline.
She graduated from the University of Maryland (US) with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and achieved her master’s degree in management from the University of St Andrews (UK). Born and raised in Belgium, she currently resides in the Netherlands.Rachel enjoys motivating and inspiring people to awaken their confidence and become the person they want to be.

Maurice Zondag

Maurice Zondag is a self-made man and philanthropist in the etymological sense. He helps people as a personality coach how to find and create your own happiness. He believes that everyone has the right to their happiness as a core necessity in life. From the lessons of his life and the wisdom that comes from every life before us, called history, he now is able to give people the tools so they may find and create their own happiness. He also is a professional public speaker on subjects like happiness, leadership, and communication. In his spare time, he is a theater producer, writer and actor. His enthusiasm is inspiring and motivating to make the change you need in your life.

Johann Stan

Johann is a patent examiner, speaker, entrepreneur and mentor. Johann has a Ph.D. in computer science and graduated the Insa Lyon engineering school. He worked as consultant for the World Bank, evaluated project proposals for the European Commission and did research for the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. Over the years he developed a passion for organizing and moderating scientific conferences and various types of events, such as TEDx. Therefore, Johann has gained valuable insight into every detail related to event organization. In his talk, Johann will argue why event management is a useful skill for any expat. He will also share his tips for a successful event, including how to find speakers, how to build a team and how to curate content.

Ajay Sharma

Ajay Sharma is established entrepreneur, International Speaker and does impact innovation investment and holds board positions in corporates. Ajay is also president of Rotary Club The Hague Metropolitan club (First English and international club of Netherlands). Ajay is founder and CEO of ASR ventures (Invest in Impact Innovation), Chief Regulatory, partnerships and Investment officer for TOBLOCKCHAIN (Dutch Blockchain Powerhouse), Global growth Advisor and Director to Sampoorna (Social Impact enterprise), Associate partner in BSS Holland (Defence security solutions).
Ajay is educated engineer (DEI India), MBA from TIAS NIMBAS business school, LLM (Masters in Law in International finance and Banking) from Liverpool, and above all M&A and corporate restructuring studies from Harvard Business school, Boston.
The idea of Expatstimes associated with Speed Mentoring event is to help as many new startups as possible together with the municipality of the Hague. If you have a comment or an idea to improve the event send an e-mail to

All details were correct at time of going to press. No responsibility can be held for any omissions or errors contained herein. The companies featured on this blog are unpaid.

Our full disclaimer can be found here.

Expats in The Hague Facebook group – Rules

Welcome Expats and new member of the Expats in The Hague group.

We are glad that you are here and encourage you to ask and answer questions with regards to all things Holland! The group was set up by internationals to help those settle into their new lives in The Netherlands. The group is a Q&A group, our admin team and members have a wealth of information and experience when it comes to life in The Netherlands.

**English is the only language to be used in the group**

By being a member of the EITH Facebook group, you agree to be contacted with regards to any & all events, promotions and advertisements that will be hosted/placed by EITH and their affiliates/associates.

Remember to keep it classy in the group, if your Mother wouldn’t want to see it, we don’t either.

The group does not accept commercials, adverts, promotions etc. posts of any kind. We have an affiliated Facebook group where you can advertise your services/business for free ~

Should you wish to feature an event on this group, please contact the admin team first, your event will be deleted if it does not have prior approval.
Second-hand goods for sale and real estate listings of any nature, are not accepted in this group and will be deleted.
If you wish to carry out a recruitment drive, please contact the admin team first.

EITH has the right to monitor all content and reject or remove any inappropriate or offensive content, and the right to block the user. Abusive, defamatory or obscene, fraudulent, deceptive or misleading in violation of ant intellectual property right of another, are what is classed as inappropriate and/or offensive by EITH.

Should you, as a member, be offended by anything or need clarification, please report the post, or contact a member of the admin team.
The group moderators and admin team respond to messages as and when possible. We all have our “day jobs” too! Please be patient with us!

Happy Holland living!
Yours, Expats in The Hague and Expatstimes

Noomi – Creating light within refugee camps


Suzanne Ros, Derisa Chiu, Emilie Langlois and Roxana Macovei are 3rd year Industrial Design Engineering students at The Hague University with the vision to create light for children in refugee camps. These young and bright minds have developed an egg-shaped product, Noomi,  which stores energy through movement. It enables children to kick and throw the Noomi around and afterwards it can be switched on to function as a light source.

Help them get funded by voting for them through the following link. This competition is held by the municipality of The Hague and has closed.

We had the chance to interview one of the founders of Noomi, Suzanne Ros, read more about Noomi below.

Why did you choose to name your creation as Noomi and how would you describe it to a layman?

Noomi started as a university design project with the topic of bringing renewable energy into refugee camps, which don’t have access to constant electricity. And so, people use kerosene lamps and candles for light which in turn bring risks such as respiratory diseases and fire hazards.

Our answer to these problems is Noomi –  a toy that generates energy through play (thus being user powered), which is stored inside in a battery which can later be used as a light. This serves as an entertainment to children and also as a source of light.

The name for Noomi came through the idea of the moon.  No matter where you are in the world, the moon is always constant and shines.  Because we are designing for another world, we flipped moon, so, ‘noom’. And then the ‘I’ symbolises the individual user; the focus. And so, Noomi!

Why an unconventional design of the toy?

The process of Noomi to come to its design and shape is the result of integrating the feedback from user tests and design.  Because Noomi is designed to be more than just a toy, there are features such as the geometric surface for improved grip.  The abstract shape came from a test that we found our target group (age 6-9) like to be challenged, the abstract shape of Noomi brings a challenge in uncertainty in what direction it will bounce.  Some may say that Noomi resembled some sort of dinosaur egg or a pomegranate seed form; this can be seen as a symbol for good hope, new life.

How do you think this will help in the longer run and how do you see yourself take this forward?

Noomi is a simple concept that has the potential to create a big impact.  In the long run, we feel that Noomi can bring psychological benefits for the children, and provide an activity that also has reward.  Eventually, the hope is that Noomi can grow and develop. We want to continue with social design and bring products or services that make a difference in the lives of people and/or the environment.

Tell us a little about your team and how easy or difficult was it to translate thought into action, especially in the Netherlands.

The Noomi team started with the four of us; Suzanne, Roxana, Derisa and Emilie, all coming from all over the world (Netherlands, Romania, Taiwan and Mauritius).

The great thing about The Hague is the international aspect.  English is spoken almost everywhere.  Studying in English and having one Dutch member in the group meant that in all communication areas, there were no issues.

Noomi is currently in a competition organised by the Hague government called the Hague innovators 2017.  Here, Noomi is competing against two other student projects with a prize of €10,000.  On top of this, there is a public prize award for one of the nine teams which has the most votes on the page.  For all readers to come together and support Noomi by voting, liking them on Facebook and even sharing Noomi.  The more people that know about Noomi and support the project is a big step towards success.

If there is anyone who wants to support Noomi further regarding business inquiries or advice/comments, you can contact them through their Facebook page or email.

All details were correct at time of going to press. No responsibility can be held for any omissions or errors contained herein. The companies that appear in this article were interviewed or featured by our editor Vatsalya Balasubramaniam. They & their adverts appear in this article for free. All images are supplied by Noomi. Our full disclaimer can be found here.

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