Thomas Ricke, Founder and Managing Partner Villageboom GmbH
A student of the 80ies, a time where the current concepts of market based approaches to economic development and BOP (Base of the Pyramid) science was not known yet, Thomas Ricke studied business administration on top of economic development, in hindsight a great combination. He was fascinated by the possible solutions to overcome poverty. Due to his passion for economic development, at the age of 34, he gladly accepted an offer by his former employer Procter & Gamble for a 3-year assignment in Yemen. This continued with subsequent assignments in Egypt and Nigeria for another 5 years.
As Finance Manager of P&G West Africa he convinced Procter & Gamble to expand distribution towards rural – a move that was initially met with great resistance, but finally took off in a big way. A win-win for P&G and the semi-urban/rural consumers who now can buy detergents and hygienic products at 20-30% lower prices than before.
In 2008, encouraged by this success, Thomas founded Villageboom, a social enterprise to improve the lives in the rural part of developing markets. The Villageboom solar lamps – meanwhile in the 3rd generation - are the answer to Villageboom’s question: how can we make them so attractive that there is no reason anymore to stay with a kerosene lamp.
Dr. Claudia Merdausl – Ricke, Public and Legal Affairs, Financing
Claudia gained her first professional experience in the areas of investment banking, IPO as well as in Corporate and Structured Finance at DZ Bank in Frankfurt. Together with three other partners she founded a corporate law firm and developed an interdisciplinary consulting concept for SMEs which built the base for the company’s rapid growth. As a lawyer her primary consulting services targeted at corporate law and structured concepts for mergers and acquisitions, financial restructuring and financing. In 2010 Claudia sold her company shares, discontinued her work as a lawyer and took over responsibility for Legal, PR and Funding at Villageboom.
Dr. Claudia Merdausl-Ricke studied law at universities in Bonn, Münster and St. Andrews, Scotland. Following her studies she was awarded a PhD at the institute for international corporate law and afterwards passed her second state examination.