About us arrow Founding story

Peter Chris Kooij (1956), the founder of Developing Countries b.v., says: as a university student I dreamed of doing something with my life that would bring improvement for disadvantaged people in Developing Countries. After my studies, I left for India and volunteered 6 months on 3 different development projects. The journey confirmed my dream: pioneering to improve people's lives attracted me so much! At the end of my twenties, enterprise development became my vision as the way to make development sustainable. Peter Chris Kooij

I wrote a plan to stimulate enterprises in Developing Countries through company & trade development. Since I was trained as a lawyer, with little entrepreneurial experience, I decided to be trained on-the-job and got a sales management position in the field of cocoa trade. Lastly as a commercial director of a fruit juices and soft drinks company, I felt it was time for action towards realisation of the plan and I quit my job (37).

Developing Countries b.v. was established in 1995 and is based in The Netherlands.

The first assignment was the development of a community based tourism project Ghana, Africa and marketing it to tour operators in various European countries. We created "Discovery Village", a vibrant mix of adventurous encounters in authentic African settings on the one hand and comfortable stays in western style huts on the other. Tourists join locals in their daily activities, like cooking local dishes at their homes, dancing, drumming, working on a traditional farm, fishing in a wooden canoe, weaving and the like. Discovery Village enables local people to share into the profit of international tourism in sustainable way.

Algemeen Dagblad, a Dutch national newspaper published an interview with us. VPRO radio broadcasted an interview as well. KLM sponsored us and published an article on the project in their national magazine 'Dear Agent' (for article, view trackrecord Discovery Village. Arke Travel, part of TUI, as well as other tour operators, took our project into their travel brochures. Investors were engaged, both local and European. We managed the whole project for 4 years, untill and including the pilot stage in Kokrobite, near Accra, Ghana.

Another assignment was the set up of Discovery Interior Trading (1995), based in Kockengen, Holland, dealing in African decoration and gifts.
Dealing with small and medium sized African enterprises (SME's) on a daily basis, we acquired major business and trading experience. With the membership of www.ifat.org the IFAT (International Federation of Alternative Trade), Discovery Interior Trading has officially become a fair trade wholesaler/importer. Fair Trade Organisations in [clickable link naar jpeg ‘fair trade, herfst 2003'] Holland, Germany, France, Northern Ireland, Spain and Italy have become regular customers, besides many others. Discovery is now a successful marketing/import organisation for about 80 grass root producers in Africa .

View our Track records for information on other projects we did.