Linking Sri Lankan agricultural exporters to international markets

Between November 2020 and March 2021, ProFound senior advisors Bert-Jan Ottens and Kasper Kerver worked on a project with the “GLX Garage”, a business development programme for SMEs exploring international markets in the sectors of food, agriculture, travel, design, and energy sectors. The main role of Bert-Jan and Kasper was to support the Sri Lankan agricultural exporters with the development of their export strategy and linking them to international markets.

The GLX Garage

The GLX Garage supports and creates avenues for sustainable companies with a strong interest and need to improve and innovate their businesses to expand their consumer base to international markets. The GLX Garage programme was launched as a COVID response initiative by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH – SME Sector Development Programme in cooperation with the Noah Foundation in Berlin, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ).

Scope of work

The companies Target Spices, Worga Naturals, Serendipol, and Ceylon Trading & Export that applied for this programme came for help to build long-term partnerships with new international markets. With the help of nine local and international experts, the SMEs participating in this programme could develop the ideal solutions to the obstacles they face, build a strong brand presence, and effectively adopt scale.

With the help of ProFound and other experts such as Andrea Richert and Hugo Lamers, the idea was to guide these companies in the design of their export marketing strategy, product-market matching, promotional material support and digital matchmaking. A key component of the work was providing guidance to these SMEs so they could develop an export marketing strategy focused on accessing international markets. Another important part of the work was also to carry out tailored market analyses for each company in order to find the best fit between their current product offering and the needs of international markets.

ProFounds’ digital matchmaking service consisted of finding buyers for the most promising products of the SMEs. To do this, ProFound senior advisers matched the selected products with a wide network of buyers from the company’s contact database, but also from contacts found during the company´s participation in BioFach eSpecial 2021.


Results of the programme have been successful. For the companies ProFound supported, interested buyers were found and are now discussing how to move forward with exporters.

In an interview for Colombo Page (a Sri Lankan internet newspaper), Bert-Jan Ottens mentioned that he sees good potential in companies to become leaders in structural change in the sector, based on sustainable sourcing, adding value, and an ethical/fair business approach.

Getting to International Markets

Would you like to know more about our recent collaboration in the GLX workshop, our export marketing strategy service, or how to export to international markets? You can reach us by writing an email to