A pioneering social entrepreneur responsible for bringing the People’s Postcode Lottery to Great Britain has been honoured by Heriot-Watt University.
Dutch businesswoman Annemiek Hoogenboom received an honorary degree today (Dec 4) in recognition of her business leadership and charity work in Scotland and overseas.
She was presented with her new academic title of Doctor of Letters by Professor Mushtak Al-Atabi, Provost and CEO of Heriot-Watt University’s Malaysia campus, as part of the Winter Graduation programme being held this week.
After accepting her scroll in front of fellow graduands at the Edinburgh campus, Annemiek said: “I am humbled and honoured to receive this Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters alongside an illustrious group of over 400 great scientists and graduates. With People’s Postcode Lottery we have been able to support lots of great, important, but very different causes set up by aspiring individuals.
"This degree is a tribute to our collective aspiration to do good and will strengthen my mission to empower girls and women and help transform communities. It’s more important than ever for people everywhere to rise together for peace and a climate safe world."
In 1983, Annemiek and her partner Boudewijn Poelmann founded Novamedia, a company with a social purpose that established the People’s Postcode Lottery in the Netherlands. When they decided to expand to the UK in 2005, they chose to base themselves in Edinburgh.
Since then, as well as creating many high value jobs, she has overseen the donation of more than £1bn in Great Britain and Germany to good causes. The Postcode Lotteries Group is, collectively, now the third largest private philanthropic donor in the world after the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Foundation.
With their support, Heriot-Watt University partnered with the charity TheirWorld to set up a refugee Master of Business Administration in Lebanon. The programme was the first of its kind in the world and welcomed its first graduates just 12 months ago.
In 2019, Annemiek received one of the highest honours bestowed on a Dutch citizen, the Knight of the Order of Oranje-Nassau, for her dedication to human and women’s rights and protection of the planet.
This year, she helped establish the National Family Centre, a charity based in Edinburgh which distributes surplus goods from online retailers to needy families across the UK. This is a scale-up of a pilot study, supported by Annemiek, in Fife.
Congratulating Annemiek on her Honorary Degree, Professor Al-Atabi said: “Annemiek’s innovative approach to education, ethical business leadership, and philanthropic work exemplify the positive impact purpose driven leaders can have on society.
“We are proud to now welcome her as an inspirational figure within our global University community.”
A total of 12 graduation ceremonies are being held at the University’s Edinburgh campus between the 2nd and 5th of December marking the academic achievement of students from the Edinburgh Business School and the School of Social Sciences, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, School of Energy Geoscience Infrastructure and Society, and the School of Textile and Design.