ProFound team

The ProFound team consists of experts and advisers in development. We regularly collaborate with freelance consultants and trainees when and where required. Much of the work is done through teamwork, which optimises creative inputs and ensures the continuity of the tasks at hand. Feel free to connect with us!

Bert-Jan Ottens
Bert-Jan OttensOwner and Senior Adviser
Bert-Jan Ottens is the founder of ProFound – Advisers In Development and Senior Adviser. He is also the founder of Blue Rhino (rural finance) and Green Rhino Kenya (‘Healthy Green Choice’). He has a background in international economic development, and policy and management studies of developing countries.

Bert-Jan is skilled in developing multi-stakeholder approaches for sustainable and traceable supply chains from resource to market; designing biodiversity and livelihood related BioTrade development programmes; designing related micro/rural financing strategies.

He has more than 25 years of experience in developing innovative products and tools for organisations such as RVO/CBI from the Netherlands, UNCTAD BioTrade, SECO and SIPPO, UNDP, World Bank, FAO and IFAD, as well as for private sector actors and sustainability initiatives like FairWild Foundation.

Geertje Otten
Geertje OttenChief Operating Officer
As an adviser and manager, Geertje Otten has built up 15-20 years of professional expertise in the combination of sustainable development and commercial opportunities. She has worked with a diverse group of stakeholders and advised entrepreneurs ranging from small producers in origin to traders and end-market brands on the development of trade promotion, sustainable supply chains and inclusive business models.

Within ProFound, Geertje has the role of chief operating officer, leading ProFound’s business development and translating it into operations making use of her coaching oriented style.

Sharifa Zaidi
Sharifa ZaidiSenior Consultant
Sharifa has worked in the field of trade promotion and value chain development for natural ingredients for seventeen years. She is skilled in project management, translating needs of a client into clear actions and results, and in market and value chain analyses. Sharifa’s product area expertise includes spices and herbs for the food market.

Sharifa is responsible for the daily operations within ProFound in terms of planning and process management. In particular, she manages all of ProFound’s activities related to Market Analysis. In addition, being ProFound’s HR manager, Sharifa is the first point of contact regarding all HR activities inside and outside the company.

Kasper Kerver
Kasper KerverSenior Consultant
Kasper is a trade promotion expert with more than ten years of experience. He is specialised in sustainable value chain development for natural ingredients to generate employment and income for farmers and collectors in developing countries. As a trainer, he often focuses on food safety management and value addition opportunities such as organic certification.

He is team leader in market analysis projects with a focus on natural food ingredients markets. He also coordinates ProFound’s value chain development projects in Ethiopia and provides training and consultancy on market analysis, business planning and matchmaking.

Jolanda Van Hal
Jolanda Van HalSenior Consultant
Jolanda Van Hal has experience in trade promotion and value chain development for natural ingredients since 2013. She is specialised in the promotion of sustainable trade in biodiversity-related products. Jolanda is skilled in market and value chain analyses. She translates the outcomes into opportunities and challenges for suppliers from developing countries. Jolanda’s key areas of product expertise include natural ingredients for cosmetics, food and health products.

Jolanda is responsible for ProFound’s market access products: trade fair support, matchmaking tours, buyers’ missions and B2B matchmaking. She is the coordinator of the Organic Africa Pavilion at Biofach, a platform for African suppliers/entrepreneurs to meet potential European buyers and partners.

 Lisanne Groothuis
Lisanne GroothuisConsultant
Lisanne conducts market research with the aim to promote trade and business development in emerging economies. She has spent over two years in Colombia, where she worked on projects to promote the sustainable production and trade of coffee and sacha inchi. With a background in international development and journalism, she is well able to effectively synthesize and communicate complex information to any audience.
Nicolás Caso
Nicolás CasoConsultant
Nicolás has more than 5 years of experience doing market research and communications for B2B companies in the public and private sector. In the early beginning of his career Nicolás worked for a modified atmosphere packaging company supporting their market analysis and business development initiatives. After some time in this company he joined ProChile India where he had the opportunity to do market analysis for a wide variety of Chilean products and help Chilean exporters entering the Indian Market. After a year working in India and three years as Communications and Development Manager in Praxis, he joined ProFound.

Nicolás, a passionate for local development, is responsible for the communications initiatives at ProFound and supports other ongoing projects. He is also the coordinator of the Organic Africa Pavilion at Biofach in February 2021.

Faye Hartman
Faye HartmanTrainee
Faye studied International Food and Agribusiness at HAS University of Applied Sciences. As an intern at an agricultural consultancy firm in South Africa, she has gained experience with benchmarking of standards, proposal writing and project management. Through a sustainable value chain development assignment for Verstegen Spices & Sauces, she familiarised herself with sustainability assessment tools and approaches including Multi-Criteria Analysis, Future Scenario Building and True Cost Accounting.

Faye assists companies to access new markets through sustainable certification schemes. She focuses on processes and tools to ensure compliance to market requirements.

Sonja van Rijswijk
Sonja van RijswijkFinancial strategies
Sonja works as a freelance finance & administration consultant for the international development cooperation sector and organisations that value sustainable development. She currently assists ProFound with the improvement of various financial processes.
Gustavo Ferro
Gustavo FerroAssociate Expert
Gustavo has over ten years of experience in a number of value chains, ranging from commodities to niche products. This has allowed him to build expertise in cross-cutting issues related to intervention design, strategic sector planning and market entry for natural ingredients. As one of ProFound’s trainers, he is highly skilled in building capacities and communicating with entrepreneurs and support organisations. Gustavo’s multicultural background helps him operate in different environments and countries.
Miguel Camacho
Miguel CamachoAssociate Expert
Miguel has been working with Business Support Organisations and Trade Support Institutions in one form or another for the past 25 years. He has developed and delivered capacity building and advisory programmes on different forms of organisational development in more than 45 countries for a large number of organisations, including ITC, SIPPO, the World Bank, GIZ, among others.

Miguel specialises in helping organisations and teams develop sharper focus, more robust processes and clearer priorities in their thinking and planning to ensure that in operations they optimise the use of their resources while achieving their objectives effectively. He has supported companies develop and implement their internationalisation plans through a number of activities, including market analysis and prospection, international marketing strategy definition, support to trade promotion activities, and others.

Lisanne Groothuis

“I find it exciting to promote resilient and fair value chains, while thinking about how trade and commerce can foster development and sustain biodiversity.”

Lisanne Groothuis
Kasper Kerver

“In my experience, entrepreneurs in developing countries have a great business spirit. We only need to show them the way and they will overcome the many challenges to reach their goals. It’s extremely satisfying to see how these entrepreneurs progress.”

Kasper Kerver
Bert Jan Otten

“What drives me is to develop biodiversity products with communities and companies, most often in difficult economic or conflicted environments. I like to challenge people to innovate and stay critical at the work we do.”

Bert-Jan Ottens
Geertje Ottens

“I have always enjoyed the sector of natural ingredients ProFound is active in and the market development of biodiversity and community relevant products. Over the last 10 years, it has been inspiring to follow the activities and progress of the company. I am really looking forward to serve the team in developing business opportunities and make the company and its people grow further.”

Geertje Otten
Jolanda Van Hal

“I love working at ProFound because we help developing country entrepreneurs reach their full potential.”

Jolanda Van Hal
Sonja van Rijswijk

“Throughout my career I have gained experience in various aspects of business. I get positive energy from working with numbers.”

Sonja van Rijswijk
Gustavo Ferro

“I believe in the power of long-term strategies. The lifetime of our work cannot be limited to the lifetime of our programmes. Engaging with local stakeholders and building capacities are key factors in creating sustainable interventions.”

Gustavo Ferro
Miguel Camacho, This Is ProFound

“Promoting a fairer, more progressive trade and development agenda that puts nature, biodiversity and sustainability at the forefront is one of the key drivers of my career.  And to do that, I believe strongly in building up organisations that ensure those key concepts remain the key driver of commercial and entrepreneurial development, for the benefit of communities and nature.”

Miguel Camacho