Week of the Entrepreneur: be inspired by border-crossing Dutch entrepreneurs

Week of the Entrepreneur: be inspired by border-crossing Dutch entrepreneurs

Next week, the Week of the Entrepreneur takes place in the Netherlands, an event that focuses on (starting) Dutch entrepreneurs and the future of their businesses. BiD Network does not only work with entrepreneurs from emerging markets, but also with Dutch entrepreneurs who want to start or grow a business in an emerging country. We have several years of experience in organizing a business plan competition for border-crossing Dutch entrepreneurs, called Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen, together with partners Crosswise Works (formerly NCDO) and EY. We take the Week of the Entrepreneur as an opportunity to highlight some of the Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen competition finalists from the last years.


African Clean Energy

Entrepreneur Ruben Walker was one of the finalists in the 2013 competition of Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen. He started his business African Clean Energy in 2011 to provide a solution for the problem of cooking on open fires with the use of dirty and dangerous fuel, which is the case for three billion people across developing countries worldwide. African Clean Energy has developed a cookstove that “burns fuel cleanly to make mealtimes a smoke-free zone.” Today, his factory, located in Lesotho, produces around 200 cookstoves a day and he wants to expand this to thousands a day in several factories.


Martono & Company: Bast

With Martono & Company, entrepreneur Jeroen Janssens wants to brings more awareness to consumers with regard to barbecuing. After traveling through Indonesia, he returned with the idea to turn the waste of coconuts into a usable and eco-friendly product for barbecuing: coconut coal, an alternative to charcoal. He turned this idea into a realistic business plan during the Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen Summer School, and won the competition in 2013. Since then, he has developed the actual coconut coal product itself, called BAST, while at the same time creating a fair job opportunities for local Indonesian farmers and a cleaner environment.



Being inspired by the Rwandan culture and beautiful fabrics, entrepreneurs Sivan Breemhaar and Kars Gerrits started Afriek to sell stylish blazers that combine Dutch design with African fabrics and Rwandan craftsmanship. In 2014, they became finalist in the Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen competition. Sivan and Kars aim to make consumers more aware about story behind their clothes and show that their story is one to be proud of: one that suits. Now, their blazers are being sold in different high-end clothing stores across the Netherlands and they aspire to sell their products abroad as well.


Do you have or do you know someone with the ambition to start a business abroad? Sign up for the Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen Spring School in May and develop a mean and lean business plan and perfect pitch in this 8-day course.

The Week of the Entrepreneur is a Dutch event and will take place between 14 and 16 April 2015.


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