Peter looks back...

Peter Heijen stood at the foundation of first Lendahand and later PlusPlus. In his last blog for PlusPlus he looks back on the past years, from the very first idea for PlusPlus to this new step for the growing platform. It is with great thanks and appreciation that we say goodbye to him! 

The first seed  

Peter: "In 2010 I started building Lendahand. Despite having some experience as an equity analyst and banker, I didn't really have any understanding of investing in developing countries. To fill that knowledge gap, I then approached development organization ICCO (which is now part of Cordaid). Since then, I have worked in many different ways with ICCO, which became a shareholder of Lendahand. We decided to set up a strategic partnership in which we wanted to use crowdfunding to boost food value chains in developing countries. That's how the idea for PlusPlus was born. Then Solidaridad, and later Truvalu, also joined in."   

Strong recipe  

"The knowledge and local networks of these NGOs combined with Lendahand's crowdfunding expertise formed a great recipe. In August 2020, PlusPlus was launched and began to grow. In fact, in just 2022, PlusPlus grew by over 50%. And that's extraordinary, especially considering that with PlusPlus, lenders receive no interest while receiving a high risk on their loan. In the financial world, this is contradictory; it does not conform to the laws of the financial system. But in terms of social impact, it can be explained. I am proud that the PlusPlus team, which I had the opportunity to supervise together with Suzanne, managed to make this product a success. This requires special skills and a lot of dedication, which the PlusPlus team certainly demonstrated, and it was wonderful and educational to be a part of that." 


"Now that PlusPlus is being integrated under Lendahand, it can mature and grow further. Because it needs scale and Lendahand can provide that. Moreover, Cordaid and Lendahand are currently exploring how to expand their collaboration, which began at ICCO at the time. A strategic partnership between NGOs and Lendahand can create beautiful impact and can also scale that impact. This is where Lendahand and PlusPlus find each other and I wish everyone tremendous success in that mission."   

 "My big thanks go to the team at PlusPlus. What extraordinary people, who were such a good fit for the PlusPlus company! And especially to Suzanne. It was very inspiring to see so many skills and goodness at work in one person. How much I learned from you."   

The PlusPlus team itself also thanks Peter for his inspiring vision, eternal optimism and strong drive that have made PlusPlus what it is today!