ProFound and longstanding partner Klaus Dürbeck Consulting have joined forces with Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation in a SECO-funded Regional BioTrade Programme in Southeast Asia, which started in September 2016.

In the first stage of this Programme, we are identifying promising natural ingredients from Vietnam, Lao PDR and Myanmar, by assessing their export potential. Teams in the respective countries are interviewing local companies and stakeholders to provide input from the field. In October 2016, ProFound’s BioTrade expert Bert-Jan Ottens and associate consultant Nuning Barwa travelled to Hanoi to train and prepare these local teams for their fieldwork.


ProFound calculated the Export Potential Index of BioTrade products in the three countries through an extensive desk research according to ITC methodology.

“We used the Export Potential Assessment to get insight into the export potential and different markets relevant for the BioTrade product groups selected by ProFound. Interesting examples of these product groups are: essential oils, nuts, spices and oilseeds”.

– Bert-Jan Ottens, BioTrade expert and senior consultant at ProFound

During the training in Hanoi, the teams discussed the outcomes of the desk research and identified gaps in knowledge and data, by comparing potential lists of products, companies and stakeholders relevant for BioTrade products. These initial lists will be used as a baseline for the fieldwork. The local teams also trained their fieldwork and interviewing skills through interactive workshops.

Upcoming activities

In January 2017, Bert-Jan Ottens (ProFound) and Klaus Dürbeck (Klaus Dürbeck Consulting) will visit all three countries. The aim of the visit is to verify and enrich the initial findings of the local teams. In addition, a roundtable will be organised with key stakeholders to further discuss the potential of BioTrade products and to select interesting entrepreneurs that could join the programme.

After the roundtable, ProFound and Klaus Dürbeck Consulting will:

  • Provide training and coaching to entrepreneurs concerning value-adding quality and certification schemes, making use of opportunities in international markets;
  • Link entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia to international buyers, in particular in the European Union.