BACKGROUND, STATUS & FUTURE PLANS
ABOUT OUR FOUNDER
Ief Winckelmans is a Belgian impact entrepreneur with an international career in ICT, travel and sustainability. His resume includes:
Selling his first VC-funded company in 2001
Business in and with China since 1999
Former Sales Director Europe for Huawei Technologies
Founder of Yuwen Marine Co. Ltd. China's first super-yacht travel agency
Founder of IMPACTVISTA, the eco-Innovation alliance (www.impactvista.org)
Chair of The Explorers Club's W. Europe Chapter (www.explorers.org)
Witnessing the many problems and challenges governments and aid organisations were experiencing when sourcing COVID-19 emergency-supplies, Ief Winckelmans, a Belgian entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience with doing business in China, felt he should use his background and expertise to help.
Together with a global team of volunteers and partners, an efficient supply chain has been set up to facilitate the procurement of urgently needed medical supplies, mainly from China.
Goods with a total value of more than 45 million US$ have been shipped to Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Ivory Coast.
OUR INITIAL COVID-19 RELIEF PROJECT
- Mid-March, we leveraged our global network to find and connect with manufacturers and official distributors of emergency-supplies
- We initially started with our own dedicated teams on the ground for due-diligence and quality-control but we soon recognised the need to work with recognised inspection and verification agencies to verify the credibility of potential suppliers and assess the quality of their products.
Specifically for China:
From the start we have been working only with with suppliers approved by China's National Medical Products Administration (NMPA)
WHAT WE LEARNED
The world was and is not ready for a crisis of the scale we are currently experiencing, but experience with past disasters has learned us that more lives can be saved with faster access to emergency-supplies.
We have experienced and witnessed the many challenges of procurement teams of all sizes. From the US Federal government to individuals states, small countries, aid organisations and hospitals, the procurement process is slow and difficult. The sales cycle is long and the risks are significant.
With the International Organisation for Crisis-Response our objective is to assist as many qualified buyers as possible with the procurement of urgently needed supplies and equipement.
To accomplish this we are developing a unique trading-platform with descending-price auctions as one of the key features.
More information will soon follow about this new platform that is based on how perishable goods, that don't allow for long sales-cycles, are being traded around the world for more than 100 years.
We expect to go live with this new platform in the coming weeks, but the first step is now to build up a global community of participants, and this means reaching out to buyers (aid-organisations, health institutions, etc.), suppliers (manufacturers, distributors, stock-pile managers, etc.) and service-providers to enable swift transactions and rapid distribution.
WHERE WE ARE TODAY
WHAT WE ARE DEVELOPING
We need instant, risk-free procurement at fair market prices and we need it NOW.
By combining historically proven trading systems with the latest cloud and big-data management technologies we are in the final stages of developing an online procurement platform that addresses all of the challenges that slow down the fight against the corona virus;
Is this overkill because the corona crisis will soon be behind us?
Hopefully that is the case, but even with the corona crisis behind us, crises will continue to happen, whether it be earthquakes, hurricanes, forrest fires or pandemics, the challenges for governments and aid organisations to rapidly and efficiently purchase vital supplies will remain.
Without the current massive bottlenecks, many more lives can be saved, and this is why we believe that a Crisis Response Procurement Platform is a wise and meaningful investment of our time and resources.