Helene Margaretha Van der Roest (Dutch) is a visionary with proven business establishment, management and leadership experience, as well as diverse skills in development and advocacy in Africa.
Prior to settling in Africa in 2004, Helene was active in the banking, finance management and the business sector in Europe. Since transitioning, she has been privileged to provide management and leadership to the development of training and mentorship programs within the international development sector targeting business startups and social enterprises for women and youth across Africa. In addition to roles as programs manager, Regional Director / Interim Director, Helene has done a wide range of consultancies in financial and organizational analysis and development across the continent.
Since January 2017, Helene has been a regional manager at ICCO Cooperation, leading 10 country teams in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa towards the attainment of the institution’s global development vision to fight poverty and injustice. She provides leadership in the development of programs aimed at supporting women, youth and refugees. ICCO supports small-holder farmers and helps small businesses grow through value chain analysis and interventions, access to finance and markets, agribusiness development and agtech solutions among others.
Through her own social enterprise, Helene continues to coach and mentor young enterprising people in Kenya and Uganda in the establishment of successful social enterprises. She is also passionately engaged in policy setting for social enterprises in East Africa, as she believes that the combination of skilling for development, access to finance, and business growth, are the right combination of solutions that will end poverty in Africa.