Otto Kroesen


Otto Kroesen is assistant professor in cross-cultural entrepreneurship. He has many years of experience in the field of cross-cultural entrepreneurship for development. His focus is the question how small and medium enterprises can start-up and grow in a different cultural (values) and social (institutions) environment. Otto Kroesen organizes and supervises internships and master thesis projects for technology transfer and entrepreneurship in developing countries. He is doing this for the most part within the framework of the minor program “International Entrepreneurship and Development”.


Otto Kroesen’s field of expertise is cross-cultural entrepreneurship for development. His research focus is the question how small and medium enterprises can startup and grow in a different cultural (values) and social (institutions) environment. Questions to be posed are:

  • Which values are or should be adopted in the management style of such companies in order to be successful and survive (business culture)?
  •  Is an enabling environment in place in terms of law enforcement, sectoral cooperation, trust? If not, how to bring it about as part of doing business (institutional conditions)?

In developing countries and low income economies the motivation for entrepreneurship is somewhat different from a high-tech environment. In developing countries entrepreneurship is the response to joblessness and lack of any other opportunities. Such initiatives may need some charitable funding in order to start up, but in the long run they should become financially sustainable. In addition, the challenge is to enlarge the market by creating new productive opportunities. Unavoidably entrepreneurship in developing countries means social entrepreneurship, because entrepreneurs will often have to create and maintain a conducive environment that is otherwise taken care of by the state or society itself.


There are still 500 million smallholder farmers in Asia and Africa. 80% of the population in Asia and Africa is fed by them. Many of them are subsistence farmers. Their prospects are not good. Can they become agri-entrepreneurs? Taking into account that they are also the most traditional part of the society, it takes quite a change in mindset. It also takes small-scale, cheap, and manageable technology, which often is not available, because everybody thinks big or specialized. Relevant frugal innovations are among others: tropical greenhouses, small machinery for processing of the produce, vegetable drying, biogas etc. They constitute as many business opportunities. They need to be introduced along with suitable financial schemes (including financial risk for the entrepreneur) and proper training. They also need to be introduced as part of a comprehensive business innovation system, targeting the whole chain of production.


  • Greenhouses in Surinam, Kenya, Ghana: different greenhouse technologies have been tested related to business opportunities and capacity training in cooperation with the foundation SOIL Surinam and.
  • Training farmers in Nairobi Kenya: a project in cooperation with the foundation Seed2Feed, SNV, Koppert, with the aim to train groups of farmers in modernized agricultural production, including greenhouses.
  • Biogas in South Africa: in cooperation with the technology station of the University of Johannesburg PEETS and the provincial authorities of Gauteng and Free State the implementation of biogas production for emerging farmers.
  • Kroesen J.O., Darson R., Ndegwah D.J., 2015. Capacities, Development and Responsible Innovation, in Responsible Innovation, Concepts, Approaches, and Applications, Ed. Koops, Bert Jaap; Oosterlaken, Ilse; Romijn, Henny; Swierstra, Tjalling; van den Hoven, Jeroen, Springer, Cham Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-17308-5, pp. 201-224.

  • Kroesen J.O., 2015. Planetary Engineering: Entrepreneurship at the Interface of Cultures, in Proceedings of Educating Enterprising Engineers and Scientists conference, London 17 June 2015, Editors Prof Bhamidimarri, Rao; Liu, Ailin, pp. 10-18.

  • Kroesen J.O., Ndegwah D.J., 2016. Economically feasible, but not financially sound? Charity and/or business in rural development, 14th Rural Entrepreneurship Conference, Lincoln Business School, 15-17th June 2016,, pp. 1-11.

  • Kroesen J.O., 2016. State and civil society as an enabling environment for economic growth: A historical and contemporary perspective, Technology Management at the Interface of Cultures, conference proceedings, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of science and technology, Bondo, Kenya, 26-28th of November 2015, pp 1-23, uuid:4a2e2809-7524-4155-8f15-46157fd739e2

  • Kroesen J.O., Darson R., Ndegwah D.J., 2017. Tropical Greenhouses: A Great Opportunity for Small Farmers: Drivers and barriers for agricultural innovation, CFIA conference 7-8 Nov., pp.  1-20,;

  • Kroesen  J.O., Ndegwah D.J., 2017., Culture and value trade-offs for successful entrepreneurship in Africa, Conference proceedings Universities, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development in Africa, 18-19 July , University of Nairobi,,, pp. 101-119.

You will meet Otto in:

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