Who we are

AFRIpads B.V.

AFRIpads B.V. is the company’s legal entity in the Netherlands. Its dedicated team of professionals works closely together with AFRIpads Ltd., providing hands-on operational and financial support to the Ugandan operations.

Bert Bolkenstein

Bert Bolkenstein

Managing Director AFRIpads BV

Bert has been an investor but even more importantly a mentor for AFRIpads from the very beginning. He met Paul and Sophia when they started the pilot project in 2009, immediately saw the potential of their idea and decided to invest. 

"In 2009 we embarked on an incredible journey when we started AFRIpads. With no more than a great Idea and a very small but highly motivated team AFRIpads was founded as a social enterprise with the goal to empower women in Uganda and make a contribution to the local society by creating sustainable jobs. After 5 years of hard and extensive works AFRIpads has grown into the number one company for reusable sanitary pads that is fully self-supporting. With this achievement we turned our idea and dream into reality. We have set an example like no one did and I’m proud to be a part of this."

Jasper van Soest

Jasper van Soest

Managing Director AFRIpads BV

Jasper was appointed as Managing Director of the Supervisory Board in 2013. His previous positions are Investment Director at ABN AMRO Capital and Lawyer at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek. He currently serves as an Independent Advisor and Informal Investor.

"After investing in AFRIpads myself, I became actively involved in growing AFRIpads B.V.’s shareholder base. Subsequently joining the Management Board made a long-held dream to contribute to social impact through business enterprise become reality."

Supervisory Board

Our strong international, non-executive Supervisory Board consists of members from diverse backgrounds, ranging from international women’s issues, to fast moving consumer goods, to finance. The Supervisory Board formally supervises the management’s policies and the company's general course of operations. It furthermore proactively provides advice to AFRIpads’ management.

René van de Wolfshaar

René van de Wolfshaar

Chairman Supervisory Board

René was appointed in 2010. Some of his previous positions are MD of C&E Bankers, Head of Private Clients Lombard Odier, SVB Lowland international and Board member of Youth Theatre School The Masquerade. He is currently a partner at Stuijvesant Wealth Strategy and Board member of two family foundations.

"In the early days of AFRIpads I was and still am financial board member of Kootje Foundation, the foundation of the Bolkenstein family. In my past I more often was involved in impact investment cases, in several areas and regions. This example of merging social and financial goals was one I really wanted to stay involved with."

Mark Holladay

Mark Holladay

Board Member

In 2009, Mark was appointed as Board Member of the Supervisory Board. His previous positions are Managing Director Europe and Asia Aalberts Industries and Founding Partner Espinosa Partners. He currently serves as a Board Member Prosegur China, Partner Delclaux and Partners 

"When Bert Bolkenstein asked me to get involved at the beginning of AFRIpads, it was a wonderful opportunity to provide assistance to women in Africa not only through the product but also through providing employment and empowerment. It was also a means of giving something to people less fortunate than myself and knowing that they will receive all of the help intended."

Konstanze Neuerberg

Konstanze Neuerberg

Board Member

Konstanze joined the Supervisory Board in the spring of 2012. She is currently working as an independent architect in Paris, France. Before establishing her own practice she worked for renowned architectural firms such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in New York, Dominique Perrault and Jean Nouvel in Paris. She is currently involved in sustainable architecture projects in France and in the design of the new AFRIpads factory in Uganda. 

"Girl’s Education is an important part of my life by raising 2 girls and by having been actively involved in the boards and foundations of the various schools that my daughters attended in New York, Paris and Amsterdam."

Giovanni Gerola

Giovanni Gerola

Board Member

Giovanni was appointed in 2014 as Board Member of the Supervisory Board. His previous positions are Investment Manager at MicroVentures Investments SA (LUX/CH) and COO at Altromercato Soc. Coop (IT). He currently serves as Director of Investments at Fondazione Opes (IT).

"I got in touch with Paul Grinvalds during one of Opes’ trips to Uganda in the summer of 2013, and got immediately the feeling that AFRIpads was the kind of social enterprise we definitely wanted to support. We went through the investment process at different levels and gladly Fondazione Opes ended up becoming a proud shareholder of AFRIpads in December 2013. Given my background in the marketing of consumer goods and the experience within the East Africa countries, I was asked to join the SB of the Company."

Cristina Ljunberg

Cristina Ljunberg

Board Member

Cristina joined the Supervisory Board in 2014. Her previous positions are Principal Engineer at Baxter International and Consultant at McKinsey & Co. She currently serves as a partner at Influence Film and Director at Giving Wings.

"Through Giving Wings Foundation, I have been interested in Menstrual Hygiene Management and its impact on women and girls. AFRIpads was our first investment in a company directly addressing these issues and offering an effective solution for thousands of girls."

Rene Meijer

Rene Meijer

Part-time controller

Rene has been involved with AFRIpads since 2011. He is the owner of Fixum Finances and previously worked for various small and med-sized companies all over Europe.

"I know Bert Bolkenstein from other assignments. Back in 2011, Bert requested me to bring some basic admin knowledge to the table when Paul Grinvalds was in Utrecht, the Netherlands. After this meeting, I became interested in the idea of supporting the Ltd./B.V. with my financial background. As such, the one-day support in 2011 evolved together with the growth of the Ltd. into a monthly support and financial liaison between the Ltd. and the B.v. from 2013. I introduced cash forecasting and monthly reporting in 2013 and stock accounting in 2014. This was all implemented during my visits to Uganda, where I was very happy to work with all the team members, especially with Barbra in her role as the Ltd.'s accountant."

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