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Saskia Reus-Makkink Founder and CEO, comes with 15 years corporate strategy experience. Saskia worked at The Boston Consulting Group and Strategy Department of Canon Europe. With her pragmatic, hands-on approach she inspires entrepreneurs to the next level and delivers tangible results, while working on closing the pioneering gap by providing tailor-made support for donors and investors with interest in supporting innovative entrepreneurs in emerging economies. She provided feedback on business plans to more than 250 innovative and disruptive entrepreneurs in Africa across all sectors. Saskia Reus-Makkink has university degrees in Communication, Organization & Strategy and Development Studies. 

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Vincent Kouwenhoven supports the Africa Funded team. He is founder and managing director of eVentures since 2000, a revolving private VC-Fund, managed as a networked partnership. He is a former director of KPMG Nolan Norton, as well as KPN Telecoms executive (KPN Strategy and Marketing Director). Vincent Kouwenhoven holds a PhD in Business Administration and combines a track record in digital media investing with a passion for supporting sustainable development. In 2010 eVentures initiated eVentures Africa Fund (a dedicated fund for digital media investing in sub-saharan Africa), in 2012 eVentures launched Greensafaris (dedicated to sustainable tourism investing). eVentures and Greensafaris are headquartered in The Netherlands. eVA Fund has offices in Nairobi and Capetown.

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Christiaan Quellhorst supports the Africa Funded team with in depth and practical knowledge based on many years of corporate experience. He comes with over 25 years of experience in running international organizations, served at the director level at various multinationals and was the former Vice President of Canon Netherlands responsible for the operational part of the company. Currently he works as an entrepreneur and focuses on providing advice and interim management in the field of services, business strategy and operational excellence. He is chairman of the board for the Association of Services Management International Netherlands (AFSMI) and organizes service innovation conferences, research and workshops.

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Miguel Heilbron manages content development and outreach. With multiple years of experience in Africa’s startup investment spaces he is keen to highlight the progress made by innovative African startups. His experience in incubation and acceleration of startups and social initiatives is very diverse. Originally trained as a development economist and engineer he worked for various organisations and companies as a consultant, writer, researcher, concept developer and trainer. He has over 15 years of experience in sustainability, social innovation and international development issues in projects in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

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Mark Bouman is an all-rounder with more than ten years of experience as a project coordinator, advisor and trainer at a non-profit consultant in Amsterdam. In this position he has been responsible for writing the consultant’s project proposals and obtained the necessary funding, primarily from local, national and European public funds. As advisor and trainer Mark also coached and supported its client base of social entrepreneurs in developing the hands on skills for successful fundraising and project management. Organisation development, finance, accounting and marketing (at MBA level) are his main areas of expertise; coordination skills, a helicopter view and a structured, problem solving mind set his major competences.

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Patricia Safo is the Chief Executive Officer for JCS in Ghana, and our partner to support entrepreneurs in Western Africa. She has extensive experience in financial markets and derivatives, thorough product development and risk management in both investment banking and investment management roles. Patricia has over 20 years of core and relevant business experience of working in Ghana and abroad. She has managed and developed a number of start-ups into growth firms. Patricia holds a BSc. Degree in IT & Economics and a Masters Degree in Financial Management.

With a large poule of experts we provide customized support to entrepreneurs, supporting them to finetune and validate their business models. Experts in water, sanitation and solid wast management in developing countries that are part of a joint program with Africa Funded, WASTE and Aqua for All enabling us to select and support innovative concepts matching local needs.


Sjef Ernes Impact & Business Advisor Water, directeur of our partner Aqua for All, has more than 20 years hands-on, operational experience in the water sector from a business and non-governmental perspective, with in-depth on the ground experience working on water projects in Mozambique. He is director of Aqua for All since 2004 and focused on generating impact for the BoP. This background provides him with in-depth knowledge and insight in feasibility of technology, product market combinations, unique selling points and relevant community networks that can be shared to support entrepreneurs in gaining successful market entry. Sjef is a quick thinker and great sparring partner for improving business models in water and sanitation for the poor.

Jacqueline Barendse Impact and Business Advisor Sanitation and Solid Waste, director of our partner WASTE. Jacqueline is a ‘developer’.  Inspired by the idea that unusual combinations may be needed to solve persistent problems.  She has more than 30 years’ experience in different fields, among others:  in new media and IT as business / product manager for Philips; in banking, micro-finance and small business financing as investment manager for ING and Triodos Bank; in developing a pipeline for an own investment fund Asian Assets; in public-private partnerships and development financing as consultant for ECORYS, and in waste and sanitation as director for WASTE.  Due to this broad background Jacqueline is quick to grasp impact potential, business feasibility and risks of new ventures.  Jacqueline likes to give new ideas the benefit of the doubt. Because, by experience, she knows that the best ideas have emerged from failures.

David Beckett is passionate about enabling entrepreneurs to show their true talents through concise, clearly structured and memorable pitches. Through working with Startup Bootcamp, Rockstart and The Green Challenge in Amsterdam, he has developed a set of tools that help startups understand what the audience (partners, clients, investors) needs to know in order to buy into an entrepreneur's concept. David helps with Story in three ways: Building the right content; Telling the story with the right visuals; and Selling the idea through great delivery and communication. David is the author of Three Minute Presentation ( and has over 20 years’ experience within both the corporate and startup worlds. He is also a Speech Coach at TEDx Amsterdam, and was voted 'Most Valuable Mentor' at Startup Bootcamp 2014.

Vanessa Clark started her career as a journalist in the last century, before the days of blogs, Facebook and Twitter. After a stint as an online tech journo in London, she was tempted over to the dark side and worked in technology public relations and marketing in the UK and South Africa, before striking out on her own. She was one of the founders of a mobile safety and security company, Mobiflock and is currently a freelance technology journalist and copywriter based in Cape Town. Her favourite topic is where digital technology intersects with real people to make something awesome happen. This could be a better way for small companies to market themselves more effectively without breaking the bank, or it could be a better way for people to send money home using mobile technology. If it involves mobile innovation coming out of Africa, she is usually hooked. Because she has spent the bulk of her career in the tech industry, she is adept at translating geek speak into something interesting and accessible.

Arco van der Toorn is a senior water supply expert with more than 30 years international experience in the water sector in West and Southern Africa (Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia, The Gambia, Mauretania, Tunisia, Benin), The Middle East and Eastern Europe. He had worked since 1987 for several consultancy companies as project manager, water supply expert and contract manager. Since 1996 he has been actively involved with project feasibility/ viability/ water tariff studies and project financing issues for water supply and wastewater projects. During this he was engaged in setting up business models for water enterprises, tariff setting and low cost water supply. He entered Aqua for All recently to enforce its technical and project financing capabilities and to assess the innovation potential for current development aid programs for which Aqua for All may provide co-financing. Arco is fluent in French.

Dick Bouman has over 30 years of experience in water projects in mainly Africa. Having been resident water expert in both Mozambique and Tanzania in the 80-ties, he continued his career as consultant and joined Aqua for All in 2006. Apart from technical issues, he is specialized in institutional and water resource matters. Currently, he is fund manager for VIA Water, a program focused on innovations for pressing urban water and sanitation problems in Africa. He has been involved in several market introductions and evaluations of technologies, such as water filters and wind pumps. He is strong in making reality checks on promising projects and technologies and is challenged by the transition from donor driven to business sound developments.

Marlies Batterink has a sharp eye for approaches and innovations which could potentially provide breakthroughs and sustainable solutions in the integrated water management arena. As an experienced program manager with more than 10 years’ experience in (inter)national water programs, she is able to develop programs, connect partners and manage programs in a professional and effective way. Marlies always tries to trigger and support partners in delivering the best they can, with a preference for sound business approaches.  She is educated in Wageningen as a tropical land use engineer, specialized in soil and water conservation. After that she worked for the Dutch government, on agricultural and water management issues. She developed a commercial and pro-active approach during her career at ARCADIS Netherlands B.V., an international consultancy company where she specialized in project management of multidisciplinary projects where water is the connecting factor. At Aqua for All Marlies is one of our senior program managers, involved in large multidisciplinary, multi stakeholder programs and is our manager for one of our innovation themes 3R (recharge, retention, re-use of rainwater).

Sophie van den Berg is a chemical engineer and holds an MSc degree in Environmental Science. She has more than 20 years of experience in the waste sector including waste separation, collection & recycling, income generating activities, business development, training, coaching, awareness creation, education and Corporate Social Responsibility. She has worked in Latin America (7 years in Bolivia), Africa and Asia (2 years in Nepal). Plastic recycling has been one of her great interests and has developed various business plans for plastic recycling factories.

Myrte Koch works as a Technical and Business Adviser for WASTE's programmes in sanitation. As an Industrial Design Engineer by training (Delft University of Technology) she has knowledge of sustainable and strategic product design. The specialization program Technology in Sustainable Development combined with projects in Honduras and India resulted in an understanding of sustainable development opportunities in developing countries. At WASTE Myrte was involved as a consultant in the Sanitation Window. The Sanitation Window connects demand for better sanitation solutions in the South to a supply of innovative sanitation solutions from the West. In this role Myrte executed Quick Scans, Market Scans, Feasibility Studies and Business Model Development Workshops. Being a consultant in renewable energy and energy saving for 5 years, her special interest lies in the link between sanitation and energy. As such she manages biogas sanitation programs in India (dairy farmers) and Kenya (schools). Besides this she executed an assessment on the functioning of wastewater treatment plants in the city Blantyre, Malawi.

Jan Spit (1956) is managing the emergency sanitation programmes at WASTE and is sanitation adviser at WASTE. Jan advises on Urban Environment and Development aspects of projects. He also provide sanitation marketing input and expertise focused on valorization of collected fecal sludge. With over 33 years experience, Jan is a generalist with a warm hart for the content, a good feeling for the processes and a clear eye for solid project management. Jan is specialized in initiating new services and products and shaping projects in a creative way. Jan is educated as a sanitary engineer at the Technical University in Delft (1982, Civil Engineering), completed a post-graduate course on business administration in 1999 and became Master Practitioner NLP in 2004

Stan Maessen (1960) is sanitation adviser at WASTE and coordinator of the Sanitation Group., Stan alsoworks on Urban Environment and Development aspects in projects and provides input on the ‘Diamond Approach’. Stan is educated as a civil engineer and a specialist on the urban environment with more then 20 years of professional experience in infrastructure, sanitation and waste management in Western & Eastern Europe and Asia. His specializations include: program management, participation and community partnerships; environmental management systems; good governance participation issues for local authorities and civil society strengthening

Grover Mamani (1982) is sanitation expert at WASTE and is in charge of sanitary engineering aspects of sanitation and collection, improving existing disposal/treatment facilities of fecal sludge. Grover is an experienced engineer in provision of water and sanitation services especially in rural areas of developing countries. He holds a MSc. in Municipal Water and Infrastructure at UNESCO-IHE in Delft, and a Master of Engineering with Specialization in Sanitary and Environmental Engineering at Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia. Grover has an updated knowledge of on-site sanitation systems with a focus in low-cost, resource recovery and appropriate sanitation solutions.

Kim Coates
Kim Coates works as a business adviser and has a technical background in innovative product design, healthcare and water purification. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree with specialization in Industrial Product Design. Before WASTE, Kim worked as a Product Manager at a company which develops water purification solutions, implementing and overseeing projects for water purification units for use in ground wells and low cost drinking water purifiers for countries with a low living standard/developing countries. Also she has worked as Senior Mechanical Engineer for several years, leading a team of mechanical engineers, and had the responsibility for the mechanical engineering of several receive coils to be used in newly developed MRI scanners. At WASTE she set up the SAWI (, connecting local sanitation challenges to European businesses (products and services) to improve the living conditions of the poor. This is by setting up sustainable and financially self-supportive businesses. Within SAWI she has set up or worked on several projects with a business approach in Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa and Uganda. At the moment she is based in the WASTE Malawi office in Zomba.

Chang Su is Finance and Business Adviser at WASTE. Her expertise is micro-finance and small business financing in sanitation and waste management (agri-related) business in developing countries. She works on monitoring and evaluation of financial-inclusion projects and develops financial models for various business cases. Besides her expertise on finance and business, she has solid understanding on Dutch policy, public-private partnerships, the stakeholder ‘diamond model’. With her previous work experience in banking, she is also responsible for WASTE internal partnership assessment. She holds MSc degree in Business Economics of Erasmus University Rotterdam. She speaks English (fluent), Chinese (native) and Dutch (good).

Henock Belete Asfaw is a sanitation consultant at WASTE and holds MSc degree in Sanitary Engineering from UNESCO-IHE, The Netherlands. He is a certified PRINCE2 Practitioner. During his master research he investigated biogas based systems (such as UASB) for Organic and Nitrogen recovery and removal purposes. After the master study, Henock joined Waterschap Hollandse Delta and Worked on the Resource Oriented Sanitation Project (ROSSA Project) in Ethiopia. He played a key role in setting-up the DIAMOND Model, which is developed by WASTE, in Adama, Ethiopia. He also supported the project management and supervised market study research on biogas, struvite, urine and bio-solids; and pilot installations such as struvite plant, co-composting plant and testing of the production of charcoal briquettes from feaces/sludge and organic residues. Henock has valuable experience in designs of different types of toilets such as VIP and UDDT, and Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems such as ABR and Biogas Digesters. He has also participated in advanced trainings on biogas engineering and operation. Besides, in the past he has worked as a design engineer for conventional sewerage systems.

Niels Lenderink is a senior adviser and trainer in sanitation at WASTE. Background in hydrology and geography gave him a broad view and ease to construct bridges to other sectors. Experience in education combined with good listening skills made him an empathic trainer, who can adapt to different levels, interests and cultures in the same time. An analytical mind combined with a patient and perseverant personality provided him with advisory skills, that can last from a first meeting to an improved sanitation situation. 10 years of experience in sanitation (and some solid waste management and water supply) made him a generalist in sanitation, with a preference for institutional aspects.

Ingrid van den Burg has a master’s degree in social sciences. She studied Management, Economics and Consumer studies at Wageningen University and Research Centre.She has nineteen years of project management experience in both the profit and the non-profit sectors. She has extensive experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of programmes. Transferring knowledge to local people, training staff and improving (project planning and project management) skills has always played an important role throughout her career. Ingrid currently manages the WASTE programme of the Dutch WASH Alliance (NL Government subsidized, for the period 2011-2015) in seven countries in Africa and Asia. Besides the overall management of this programme Ingrid is responsible for building systems for sanitation services in Uganda and Bangladesh via the WASTE diamond approach by supporting local partners.