As can be read in the Quote, Corné Melissen, who never smoked before, tried smoking at the age of 60. Melissen used to work as a dealmaker at Ramphastos Investments, the investment company of Marcel Boekhoorn. A few years ago, he started his own venture and began investing in Hollandse Hoogtes. This company is one of ten participants in the Dutch government's cannabis experiment.
Through Ramphastos, Melissen became involved in Buxeros Capital in 2020, a public-private partnership with the Dutch government. Private investors provide half of the capital in this fund, and the Dutch Good Growth Fund (a government financing facility) provides the other half. The goal: to invest in projects in emerging economies.
Through mutual connections, he got to know Aart Nugteren, who is active in the rose business in Zimbabwe."As a venture capitalist, I had little interest in roses, I didn't see the added value. However, I thought this man was very successful. Better a successful man with a bad plan than vice versa!"
Nugteren says that Buxeros decided to cooperate with him because he told them that cannabis in Zimbabwe would be legalized for medicinal purposes. That's how Melissen also became part of the business.
Hollandse Hoogtes is located in the horticulture area NEXTgarden in Bemmel. We spoke to Corné last fall as well. Read that story here.
Artist's impression. Photo index: cultivation location under construction, summer 2023