ProFound’s clients

ProFound provides professional support to organisations and programmes dealing with sustainable development and trade promotion in developing countries. Our clients range from governmental institutions, NGOs and foundations to Business Support Organisations and private businesses.

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BioTrade Initiative

The UNCTAD BioTrade Initiative promotes sustainable BioTrade in support of the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity through a unique portfolio of regional and country programmes.  ProFound has been involved with UNCTAD BioTrade Initiative since its launch.

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ProFound was implicated in the development of tools and systems, design and implementation of country programmes and research activities. In addition, ProFound conducted a BioTrade Assessment and Strategy in Northern Uganda.

Since 2003, the Initiative’s BioTrade Facilitation Programme (BTFP) enhances sustainable bio-resources management, product development, value adding processing and marketing together with partners in various countries such as Uganda, Vietnam, Peru and Colombia.

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BTC, the Belgian Development Agency

BTC aims to eliminate poverty and develop a society where present and future generations have sufficient resources to build a sustainable and fair world. ProFound supports BTC’s efforts in a cooperation going back to 2010.

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ProFound developed market analyses on spices and beans from Tanzania and wild-collected botanicals from developing countries. The Belgian organisation works in over 200 projects in 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
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CBI, the Centre for Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries

ProFound has been working for CBI for 30 years. CBI supports exporters to get a foothold on the European market. It builds capacities of Business Support Organisations to provide export services to exporters and executes Export Coaching Programmes to SMEs from developing countries to export to Europe. 

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ProFound develops market information for CBI. We wrote market intelligence analysis on various natural ingredients such as vegetable oils, extracts and essential oils for food, health and cosmetics industries. ProFound also supports CBIs export programmes through value chain research. For example in Palestine and Myanmar we conducted such researches which outcomes helped designing a suitable programme. ProFound also implemented programmes in South Africa and Pakistan. We coached natural ingredient companies in export marketing, sustainable supply chain management, traceability and certification. We also work with local partners in improving the business enabling environment for the natural ingredients sector in those countries.
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e-MFP, European Microfinance Platform

E-MFP hostes the European Microfinance Week (EMW) every year. The EMW is one of the top events in the financial inclusion calendar and a meeting point for microfinance and financial inclusion professionals working worldwide. Every year, the ProFound team under the flag of its sister company Blue Rhino works at the event to provide a full report on the discussions taking place.

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The microfinance week is the perfect place for ProFound to network in the sector in order to offer the best Rural Finance solutions as possible.
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Fairtrade International

Fairtrade International works to share the benefits of trade more equally – through standards, certification, producer support, programmes and advocacy. In 2019, ProFound worked as a consultant on benchmarking sustainability standards for sugarcane for Fairtrade International.

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The benchmark of the Fairtrade standards vs the Bonsucro standards aimed at identifying gaps and equivalencies for Fairtrade certified farmers to become certified against this standard.
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GIZ, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit

GIZ is Germany’s leading provider of international cooperation services. GIZ has staff in more than 120 countries around the globe. ProFound has been working on various assignments for GIZ in many different countries.

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For instance, in 2020, ProFound wrote a study about Shea Butter from Uganda. GIZ Togo and the BioInnovation Africa project participated in the Organic Africa Pavilion at BioFach 2020 to present produces and meet interesting players. ProFound is also participating in the project “Strengthening IGAD’s capacity to increase drought resilience in the Horn of Africa” which has the objective to link collectors and collector communities of Gums and Resins to markets that pay respect to the standards commonly applied in the organic, Fairtrade and ethical BioTrade markets.

As a federal enterprise, GIZ supports the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development.

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Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation

Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation is a non-profit development association. The association focuses on development cooperation and emergency response. Since 2016, Helvetas and ProFound are working together in a Regional BioTrade programme in Vietnam, Lao PDR and Myanmar.

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 This programme aims to create economic opportunities in these countries by developing business models for sustainably sourced, traceable and value added natural ingredients.

As an international network of member organisations, Helvetas works in Africa, Asia, South and Central America and Eastern Europe. Helvetas aims to create a fairer world where everybody’s basic needs are satisfied and where every person can determine how he or she wants to live.

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IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative

IDH aims to increase sustainable trade by building coalitions between public and private partners. IDH and ProFound share the same vision of sustainable trade. ProFound has worked with IDH since 2012. ProFound assessed for IDH the sustainability of the cashew sector.

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The organisation has programmes in agricultural, mining and industrial sectors, such as cocoa, tea, coffee, flowers, natural stone and apparel.
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IFAD, the International Fund for Agricultural Development

IFAD supports programmes in remote areas, targeting some of the poorest and most deprived segments of the rural population. ProFound, by means of our sister company Blue Rhino, contributed to this mission by delivering various publications.

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 These documents were focusing on innovative inclusive finance solutions, such as value chain finance solutions, index-based insurance, mobile finance solutions and warehouse receipt systems. 

IFAD recognizes that vulnerable groups can contribute to economic growth, provided the causes of their poverty are understood and enabling conditions for development are created.

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IFOAM – Organics International

IFOAM is a membership-based organisation working to bring true sustainability to agriculture across the world. In 2020, a market analysis with recommended interventions to boost organic trade within and from Africa was initiated by IFOAM and supported by GIZ. ProFound with associate Markus Abenz were chosen to write the study.

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 The study covers the whole continent with a focus on selected markets and value chains.
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IPD is the service provider for import promotion in Germany, connecting German importers with exporters from developing countries and emerging nations. ProFound provides market research services for the natural ingredient sector to IPD.

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ProFound helps entrepreneurs in their orientation on the German market for natural ingredients. We also identify small and medium-sized companies in the Ethiopian natural ingredient sector that seek market access to the German market. IPD allows them to participate in trade fairs or buyer missions.
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ITC, the International Trade Centre

ITC is a multilateral agency. ITC’s mission is to foster inclusive and sustainable growth and development through trade and international business development. In 2020, ProFound received a mandate for a market research study regarding Penja Pepper from Cameroon.

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The research is part of the United Kingdom Trade Partnership Programme of ITC. Together we seek to increase exports. The project aims at supporting penja pepper businesses in Cameroon to take their products to the international market.

ITC has a joint mandate with the World Trade Organization and the United Nations through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Through its work, it contributes directly to 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Mountains and Markets

Mountains and Markets was a project supported by UNDP and GEF (Global Environment Facility). ProFound supported Mountains and Markets with implementation of quality management standards and voluntary certifications in the entire supply chain.

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ProFound provided training and documentation tools to companies and community enterprises. These tools allowed them to convert their production chains into sustainable production chains with easy guidance. Secondly, they could avoid duplication of efforts between standards dealing with wild-collection practices. Finally it simplified documentation & certification processes, hence reducing costs. Standards taken into account include GACP, organic, Fair For Life and FairWild.

The project objective is sustainable wild collection of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) through community enterprises in biodiverse demonstration conservancies in the northern mountains of Pakistan.

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Nat Coffee

Nat Coffee is a private company founded by Nathalie Manac’h. The aim of Nat Coffee is to be the first Swiss business to bring exclusive coffee from Myanmar to Switzerland. Since November 2019, Nat Coffee in collaboration with a coffee entrepreneurs group is applying for the certification “FairWild”/organic. ProFound is currently working on the project.

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In 2019, ProFound helped to design the first steps of Nat Coffee’s strategy towards FairWild principles. This project wants to create sustainable sourcing and certification of coffee and other products from biodiversity. This project aim to result in the first FairWild certified products from Myanmar, from the upper Chin State.
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ProColombia has a broad scope of activities to support Colombian exporters, ranging from building capacities, organising and assisting at trade fairs, providing market information and several other. ProColombia and ProFound collaborate in a number of projects and products within the agro-industrial sector.

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In one of these projects, ProFound supported around 20 Colombian entrepreneurs in the natural ingredients and processed food sectors, from market information up to market access. ProFound has assisted ProColombia and CBI to better understand the European markets for cut flowers and roasted coffee, both essential for the Colombian economy.
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ProEcuador is the national institute for the promotion of export and investment of Ecuador. ProFound developed a series of presentations on the market of quinoa and chocolate. The presentations provided trends, market requirements and market entry strategies to companies with an interest to enter the UK, German, French and Dutch markets.

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ProFound coached companies on how to use apply these strategies to their companies during a series of workshops in Quito and Guayaquil. During the same mission, ProEcuador was trained in how to update and develop market information and how to improve guidance to companies using such market information.

ProEcuador provides capacity building, market information  and coaching to emerging and experience exporters across a range of sectors including natural ingredients such as quinoa, cocoa and processed tropical fruits and nuts. It organises trade missions and trade fairs where Ecuadorian companies can find international buyers.



SIPPO, the Swiss Import Promotion Programme

SIPPO facilitates market entry of SMEs into European markets through activities in four different areas: market intelligence, matchmaking, performance measurement and knowledge transfer & exchange. ProFound has been providing services to SIPPO for over ten years.

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We have developed various market intelligence products for SIPPO on the natural ingredients sector. ProFound has also conducted natural ingredients value chain analyses for SIPPO, and helped train BSOs, for instance in Bosnia and Herzegovina. ProFound provided SIPPO with fact sheets on key sectors in countries where SIPPO is active. The fact sheets are being used as a basis for SIPPO’s 2017-2020 mandate.
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Solidaridad is a Dutch NGO that organises stakeholders in 13 value chains to improve the sustainability of production and provides them with knowledge on international markets through the use of experts. As one of these experts, ProFound identified opportunities for Colombian flower growers to supply sustainable flowers to Europe.

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Together, Solidaridad and ProFound presented recommendations to Colombian stakeholders on next steps towards a more sustainable flower value chain.
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SNV is a not-for-profit international development organisation that makes a lasting difference in the lives of people living in poverty by helping them raise incomes and access basic services. ProFound worked on different projects for SNV related to upgrading local value chains to international value chains.

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Profound is currently working on a project for SNV to fight rural poverty through two selected value chains in Myanmar. The two value chains are cardamom and tumeric.  ProFound worked with SNV Ethiopia both as a client and as partner. In the ASPIRE programme, we cooperated for five years to develop the honey value chain and generate employment for 30,000 rural beekeepers. Based on the success of this cooperation, SNV also partnered with ProFound for its Cooperatives for Change (C4C) programme to improve the marketing output of three farmer cooperatives. In both programmes, SNV could rely on ProFound to upgrade local value chains to international value chains and to give Ethiopian entrepreneurs the opportunity to find better markets for their products.
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Swisscontact is the business-oriented foundation for international development cooperation. Working in 34 countries with over 1,200 team members, Swiss Contact has been fostering economic, social, and environmental development since 1959.  Swisscontact is the leading partner in the Promoting Private Sector Employment (PPSE) programme in Kosovo. Alongside Riinvest Institute and PEM Consult, Swisscontact assists in enhancing incomes and creating employment for small and medium-sized companies.

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ProFound has contributed as an international service provider to PPSE since 2014, involved in baseline assessments and interventions such as trade fair participation. All of this has been done through the Market System Development (MSD) approach, which encourages local ownership and ensures large-scale sustainable change from within.
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The World Bank

The World Bank is an organisation resulting from collaboration of 189 member countries. It works towards sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries. In 2017, ProFound worked on an assignment for the World Bank in Eastern Indonesia, together with the Setara Foundation and several experts from the Gadjah Mada University.

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We developed strategies for innovative clusters of economic activity with key agricultural products. The outcomes of this study will contribute to fostering exports and enhancing local development.
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TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, aims to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC has a strong link with the FairWild Foundation, one of ProFound’s strategic partners. ProFound has conducted market analyses for TRAFFIC’s Medicinal and Aromatic Plants programme. Together with TRAFFIC, ProFound is also developing a project in Nepal to create a sustainable value chain for wild-collected Jatamansi.

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TRAFFIC’s activities include conducting research and analysis; proposing solutions to conservation challenges; advocating recommendations to decision-makers and raise awareness; and supporting remedial action with training, capacity building, advice and mediation.
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The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is the training arm of the United Nations System.

ProFound conducted multiple workshops on SME Development in Afghanistan for UNITAR.

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Various representatives of the Afghan government departments working on small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development strengthened their knowledge of SME entrepreneurship and leadership with our workshop. They focused on

  • SME development in the Afghan and rural context;
  • stakeholders identification and integration;
  • and effective management of change. 



The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) aims to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion by helping countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.

ProFound worked for UNDP in several projects.

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  For example: ProFound coordinated FairWild’s support & training in areas of resource assessment & management, market & value chain development, and certification procedures in UNDP/GEF funded programme in Morocco. And we contributed to the UNDP/GEF funded Mountains and Markets project in Pakistan by implementing quality management standards and voluntary certifications such as GACP, organic, Fair For Life and FairWild.

What our clients say about us:

Biotrade Initiative, ProFound's client

ProFound has been a key partner for the development of the Initiative – both in terms of developing strategies and tools for effective programmes, as well in implementing activities within these programmes.

Lorena Jaramillo (Programme Manager UNCTAD BioTrade Programme)
CBI - ProFound client

On our request ProFound identified and activated relevant stakeholders in the natural ingredients sector in South Africa: ministries of trade and industry, environment, science and technology, and private sector stakeholders such as companies and associations. ProFound’s experience and capabilities in bringing them together through strategic conferences resulted in a common understanding of what the sector needs to export to Europe and develop a vision on how to get there.

Dirk-Jan Zegelaar (CBI Programme Manager South Africa)
Pro Ecuador, ProFound's client

ProFound provided companies in Ecuador with clear information on how to do business in important European markets for quinoa and chocolate. The training to our staff built their capacities to better understand what type of information companies need and how to find it.

Rosanelly Castro Varas (Head of the commercial office at ProEcuador)
Traffic, ProFound's client

ProFound’s expertise in value chain development supports successful delivery of market analyses, the development of strategies, training programmes and connecting companies in source countries to buyers in Europe. We look forward to working together in the future around the empowerment of producers through strengthened capacity and market access, enabling sustainable and beneficial trade in wild plant ingredients and implementing the FairWild best practice.

Anastasiya Timoshyna (Medicinal Plant Programme Leader at TRAFFIC)
Helvetas, ProFound's client

ProFound worked together with the Helvetas teams in researching the possibilities for BioTrade. Their help with the desk research, field work and reporting has been very useful in the completion of the inception phase of the project.

Tuan, Le Anh (Deputy Project Manager of the Regional BioTrade Project Southeast Asia at Helvetas)
SNV, ProFound's client

With the support of ProFound we know how to facilitate poor beekeepers in Ethiopia with access to sustainable markets for their honey. ProFound helped us to develop the honey value chain by improving the partnerships between our Ethiopian honey processors and international buyers. Their knowledge on the international honey market and the requirements such as food safety management give us a clear direction for our strategy on honey value chain development.

Yetnayet Girmaw (Agriculture Sector Lead at SNV Ethiopia)

With the help of ProFound, Ethiopian entrepreneurs are prepared for the last mile to the European market.

Judith Emmerling (Expert Sourcing and Purchase Natural Ingredients at IPD)
solidaridad, ProFound's client

We received a very informative and intelligent report on the European market for sustainable flowers from ProFound. The report gave us the knowledge to set out new strategies to improve exports of sustainable flowers to Europe.

Ximena Franco Villegas (Director Florverde, main beneficiary of the project with Solidaridad)