Almost three years ago, the Dutch cluster Nethwork (‘Think Orange, Grow Green’, was established by 13 complementary horticultural companies. Nowadays, NethWork focusses on the sustainable and innovative development of horticulture in Central America. Ed Smit and his company Ideavelop are a member and coordinator of NethWork and actively involved in defining future steps of NethWork.


The foundation of NethWork goes back to 2007, the year that Ideavelop conducted its sector study ‘Green Opportunities with an Orange Touch’, identifying opportunities in the Central American horticultural market. As a result of this study, an increasing number of Dutch companies started business relationships in the region. However, it was recognized that cooperating is more beneficial than operating individually. Therefore, a group of Dutch companies, pioneers in Central America, joined forces and established a cooperation under the name Nethwork. Currently, NethWork consists of 17 companies that are 100% complementary. "There are no competitors in our cluster, so business can be conducted in an open manner and new markets are more easily found, says Ed Smit."

Possible expansion in Colombia and Mexico

Countries for expansion might be found in Mexico and / or Colombia. Ed visited the Expo Agroalimentaria in Irapuato to get a better idea of the potential for NethWork in Mexico. ‘’Mexico is booming. It was a very positive exhibition and the response from most Dutch participants confirmed this. The ‘down to earth’ and ‘bottom up’ approach from NethWork could lead to new opportunities for our associated members in Mexico but also in Colombia’’, according to Ed. The recent sector study ‘Green Opportunities with an Orange Touch – Colombia’, also from Ideavelop, gives more insight into the actual developments in Colombia.

Future steps

NethWork was financially supported by the Dutch 2g@there program. “This financial assistance however, will end soon. Therefore, our strategic plan will provide details on our future steps, including the (possible) need for external financial support. There are no doubts amongst our members that NethWork will proceed after March 2015, the question is where and how our activities will take place. Based on these conclusions, NethWork will define if and how they might search for future collaboration with the Dutch government’’.

For more information:
Ed Smit, Ideavelop Costa Rica S.A.