TNO will scale up innovations in developing countries

23 Jan 2019

Through Innovation for Development, TNO will enhance business opportunities and employability for local and Dutch companies in developing countries. This in turn will increase the effects of the Sustainable Development Goals. Mirjam van Iterson newly joined our team as business developer to further shape the ambitions for growth.

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With innovations to end poverty, malnutrition and unemployment

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TNO will expand her impact in developing countries

In the coming years, the world population will grow to nine billion. Due to an increase in the level of prosperity and greater consumption, scarcity of food, energy and raw materials will arise. Four billion people already live below the poverty line. By promoting local entrepreneurship, low income groups can build a better life and gain new perspectives. This will increase stability and security around the world. Better nutrition and education both improve health levels significantly. Investing in disease prevention and creating new jobs will therefore avoid the need for emergency aid. Through local production, importing becomes less necessary and so transport-related CO2 emissions will be lowered. Increased prosperity and the growth of the consumer market offers new business opportunities for local and Dutch companies.

Cooperation on innovation and transitioning of current systems is needed to find solutions to the major social challenges of our time. It’s the only way that the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations can be achieved.

TNO Innovation for Development

Over the past ten years, TNO has shown, through the Innovation for Development programme, that it is possible to create sustainable and affordable solutions for the most vulnerable groups in developing countries. By setting up value chains for new products and services with viable sustainable business models, TNO (together with local and Dutch partners) was successful in giving low income groups better options for the future. In addition, we built up a large network of local and Dutch companies, investors, universities, NGOs and embassies mainly focused on African countries and India for collaboration on these innovative projects.

With the Innovation for Development programme, TNO's ambition is to create more business opportunities and jobs for local and Dutch companies in developing countries, as well as to increase contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals. As a business developer, Mirjam van Iterson was asked to join the team to further shape the ambitions for growth: expanding the network, developing multi-year programmes and organising funding together with partners.

Mirjam van Iterson newly enters the Innovation for Development team

New team member and Business Developer: Mirjam van Iterson

Mirjam van Iterson: “I look forward to working with partners and TNO colleagues to develop new solutions to market demands from low income groups and to create new jobs in developing countries. Through my experience, both within TNO and outside of it, as a business developer, marketer and product developer, I think that I can make a good contribution to the growth and impact objectives of the Innovation for Development programme. There are so many business opportunities that really can make a difference – opportunities like the valorisation of biomass through the development of new building materials, bio-plastic and bio-energy. Consider also the circular economy or the possibilities that new ICT technologies like blockchain are offering. Through both social and technological innovations, TNO sees many opportunities for healthy nutrition and for promoting good health for pregnant women and children under 5 years. TNO can support Dutch companies in successfully exporting to developing countries. Private individuals or funds can participate financially or with the know-how in successful innovation programmes.

Do you, like me, firmly believe that innovation and entrepreneurship can make a difference in developing countries and emerging economies? Do you also want to contribute to the reduction of poverty, malnutrition and (youth) unemployment? Please contact me!”


Innovation for development

TNO innovates in developing and emerging countries. With technical know-how we develop and launch new products and services with a sustainable business model in the field of health, food, construction... Read more

Ir. Mirjam van Iterson

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