New ways for new markets

How a Dutch company found a partner in the Dominican Republic via

Lodewijk Portielje (26) operates an online trading platform for nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Via he came across a business opportunity and started a cooperation with a local company in the Dominican Republic.

The free online platform facilitates cooperation between companies and development cooperation by connecting entrepreneurs with concrete business opportunities in developing and emerging countries. Since the launch of the matchmaking platform in September 2019, 330 companies (as of March 2020) have registered to benefit from international cooperation and an interdisciplinary network. One of these companies is Nutnose, a Dutch start-up that connects buyers and sellers of nuts, seeds and dried fruit, processes payments through the platform and carries out quality management on the traded goods.

Nutnose founder Lodewijk Portielje would probably not have found his newest business partner without In his google search for suitable partners and farms for his trading platform, he came across a business opportunity in the Dominican Republic on GIZ employees were looking for traders, producers and other companies that buy, sell and process macadamia nuts and to create mutually profitable and fair cooperation between local farms and international companies. Why is this relevant to development cooperation? While local smallholders have the necessary know-how for production, cooperation with internationally operating companies helps them to become more competitive - for example through technical assistance. There are also ecological benefits: If production processes are improved, CO2 emissions are reduced, and forest areas get protected better.

The Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is operating in Costa Rica on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) on the subject of private sector cooperation and biodiversity. GIZ employees in Costa Rica had identified the business opportunity in the Dominican Republic in their daily work. After reading about the opportunity on, Lodewijk immediately got in touch with them. The GIZ employees put the Dutch start-up in contact with a local macadamia nut farm, which resulted in an exciting trip to the Dominican Republic for Lodewijk, which turned out to be the foundation for an international cooperation between the start-up and the farm. The potential cooperation partners got to know each other and Lodewijk was able to gain an insight into the macadamia nut production on the other side of the world. The only hurdle left at this time is to obtain certificates for importing the nuts. In the light of this, Lodewijk draws an enthusiastic conclusion about "Everyone is there to develop [...]. I think there really is a business point for companies here - and also an outreach that makes it possible to get in touch with the right people you wouldn't have found otherwise".

Nutnose is a three-year-old start-up company based in Amsterdam. It operates an online trading platform for nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Website:

Photo by Triangle Eight on Unsplash

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