BiD Network Team

Meet the team

The BiD Network team consists of a small group of enthusiastic and driven staff. With a lot of dedication and fun we help entrepreneurs in emerging markets. The team of BiD Network works from the head office in Amsterdam the Netherlands and a local office in Kampala, Uganda. Guided by the Supervisory Board, based in the Netherlands. Together, the team works to complete its mission: preparing emerging market entrepreneurs for investment.


Netherlands Team


Gert van Veldhuisen
Gert is a driven serial entrepreneur and committed impact investor. After his first successful exit in 2008, he became an angel investor, reinvesting part of his profit in impact businesses in Asia and Africa.
Laura Smeets
Investment Director
Laura is responsible for managing the investor network of BiD Network of over 200 informal and institutional investors. She has a Masters degree in both International Business and Development Studies and has a passion for entrepreneurship in emerging markets as she feels that is the key to economic progress. Most of her career Laura worked in Africa; initially as a market researcher for Philips in Tanzania, then as marketing manager for the start-up d.light design in East Africa, and lastly she co-founded Route67, a marketing consultancy agency experienced in creating, piloting and scaling-up business plans in the field of renewable energy in East and Southern Africa. Laura works with BiD Network since 2014.
Marens Beckers
Fundraising Director
After a finance and marketing career at Unilever, Marens lived in different African countries, using her marketing and business skills to accelerate growth of impact businesses, notably in renewable energy. She co-developed one of the most successful solar light campaigns in Tanzania. Right now Marens is the fundraising director.
Alyanne Boon
Marketing Officer
''Businesses with a positive impact on society and the environment are key for the future of our planet. BiD Network enables the development of these impactful businesses in emerging markets via impact investing.''

Alyanne is the marketing officer at BiD Network’s head office in Amsterdam. She is responsible for the marketing & communications and events organised by BiD Network. She holds a MSc in Marketing Management from the University of Groningen. After graduating she travelled through South America as a tour leader for a travel agency. Back in the Netherlands she worked for a social enterprise, aiming to accelerate the implementation of the circular economy and she worked as a marketer at a foundation for handicapped children, enabling her to bring in expertise with non-profit marketing.

Shimi Wilson
Intern Impact Study
''I want to work with inspiring change-makers who have the drive to solve societal problems. I believe that investing in social enterprises is the best way to positively impact the world and create sustainable change.''

Shimi is responsible for the ‘10 years of BiD Network’ Impact study during his internship. He is relishing the opportunity to get inspired and loves learning about all the different innovative ways entrepreneurs have come up with to change their communities. Besides studying his Fast-track Bachelor, he is most proud of achieving an A in A-level mathematics. He is a winner of an achievement award in his contribution to psychology at Exeter College and a musician for musicals, festivals and open mics. Shimi his long-term goal is to involve himself in international business, specifically social entrepreneurship.

Rahil Hanif
Finance Officer
''Seeing how many jobs are created via BiD Network by growing and connecting SMEs shows the importance of impact investing.''

Rahil is the finance officer at BiD Network and has been responsible for the financials of the foundation since 2009. He holds a BEc from the Hogeschool InHolland in Amsterdam. He worked as a financial administrator at Abraxas Finance & Accounting and the National Association of First Help Psychologists. Gaining practical experience in accounting for non-profit organisations.

Uganda Team


Martha Muhairwe
Finance Officer
“There are very many businesses with social impact in developing countries like Uganda; there is however a gap where these entrepreneurs can not access financing to grow their business; that is where Bid Network comes in to Bridge this gap by matchmaking these entrepreneurs with impact investors.”

Martha is the Finance officer; she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management; is currently pursuing an MBA and her Accountancy Certification. She is responsible for the financial Management of the BiD Network Uganda office. Martha is a financial analyst for the Entrepreneurial financial sets to best prepare them for the investors.

Clare Byaruhanga
Business Development Officer
“Impact investment as a purposeful way of extending finance to enterprises in the developing world, ensures that the benefits of an investment no matter what size are enjoyed by multitudes. I believe this is an effective way of making a difference, thus my passion in promoting BiD Network’s activities.”

Clare holds a masters degree in Public and Development Management from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. She has been at the forefront of SME business support for over 12 years, in various capacities including business portfolio management, business analysis and advisory services. While working with entrepreneurs and financial institutions in the Ugandan, Kenyan and Rwandan markets, Clare successfully implemented sustainable solutions and initiatives for enterprise growth on behalf of Investor groups. She is responsible for sourcing, contracting and local matchmaking.

Davis Baasha
Regional Director
''I believe that the greatest impact on Communities is through sustainable business and collaboration, and BiD Network has been at center of this for close to 10 years, creating a lot of positive impact directly and indirectly.''

Davis started our local office in Kampala in 2015, he has 15 years’ experience in Financial Management, Audit, Strategic and Business planning with reputable firms, including KPMG Cayman Islands, PWC Belgium and Deloitte East Africa. Davis is a Certified Business Coach and over the last four years he has worked closely with entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and prepare them for Investment.

Pearl Kagonyera
Marketing Officer
‘’With BiD Network’s vision which is to increase economic development and create jobs in emerging markets through mobilization of capital and knowledge to SMEs, I believe that society will be impacted greatly by such a vision and this will boost the growth of the Ugandan economy through job creation because jobs determine the living standards of individuals and households and will support economic transformation.”

Pearl is the marketing officer; she graduated with an Honors Degree in Public Relations and Media Management from Cavendish University. Pearl is our logistics hero for the impact investment trips and is responsible for all the marketing and communications in Uganda.

Supervisory Board


Ruud Nijs
''I am proud to be the chairman of the Board, especially because BID is tangibly adding value to the entrepreneurship in developing countries. With that they contribute in a very pragmatic way to a better distribution of wealth in the world.''

Ruud Nijs (married, two daughters and one son) is the chairman of the Board of BiD Network and partner at TheRockGroup ( They focus on results in mainstreaming sustainability in corporations and organizations, commercializing young ventures and creating solutions for complex societal issues. Ruud has a history in banking (ABN Amro bank and Rabobank). At Rabobank he was the Director for Corporate Social Responsibility, managing ao. the Rabobank Foundation. Nowadays Ruud spends ample time in developing countries on inclusive finance projects.

Chimwemwe de Gaay Fortman
“With its pioneering and hands-on approach BiD truly lives its own slogan - we believe in entrepreneurs as development catalysts -”

Chimwemwe de Gaay Fortman is a member of the BiD Network Board and has been working in the financial sector since 1995. At Rabobank, the Dutch Development Finance Institution FMO, and the ABN AMRO Bank she has built a solid track record in banking, among others in emerging markets, and including deal origination and execution of complex financings, restructurings and risk management to both small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporates. Currently Chimwemwe is an independent advisor, and board member at the Supervisory Board and Advisory Counsel of the Society of International Development, the Netherlands Chapter. She is particularly committed to impact investment.

Herman Snelder
''I am always keen to see people starting their enterprise and taking risks but with the ambition to not only serve their own interests but also those of the community. This is also the core of BiD networks' activities. I try to contribute to the organisation based on my own experiences.''

Herman Snelder is part of the BiD Network Board and owner and managing director of MDF ( MDF is a worldwide company in the area of management and organisation. MDF delivers training, advisory and evaluation services but also implements large projects in the field of education and water. All their services focus on social impact eventually. MDF has 10 offices worldwide, Netherlands, Belgium, Ghana, RD Congo, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia. Herman has joined the organisation in 1989 after 10 years of field work in RD Congo and Rwanda. He became co-owner and director from 2000. In addition to being director he carries out advisory and evaluation missions. MDF adheres to the principles of Rhineland which is based on the principles of trust, craft (wo)manship and Relation with stakeholders.