Our People

Close the Gap is governed by an independent Board of Directors and its primary function is to give advice and make recommendations to the Managing Director. Close the Gap’s Board of Recommendation consists of eminent people willing to vouch for and recommend Close the Gap within their networks. Close the Gap’s counselors use their expertise and networks to support Close the Gap in further developing projects and partnerships. The duties and responsibilities vary greatly, depending on the Counselor's specialty.

Our Team

  • Mr.

    Mr. Olivier Vanden Eynde

    Founder and CEO - Chief Impact Entrepreneur

    “Close the Gap has been an adventure since the very beginning, where all our partners, supporters and friends are shaping this adventure into a sustainable journey, constantly trying to excel. Our team’s dedication and the fruitful collaboration with our service partners is making the difference every day.”

  • Ms.

    Ms. Marie Verbreyt

    Office Manager & Personal Assistant Olivier Vanden Eynde

    “I’m so proud to join the team of Close the Gap & Worldloop! It is truly rewarding to work for an organisation with such a meaningful mission, I am happy to be part of it!”

  • Mr.

    Mr. Peter Manderick

    General Manager

    “Being able, from a very young age, to build up  ICT skills that are widely required today and as a consequence enjoy the benefits of ICT’s in all aspects of today’s society I started working at Close the Gap driven by the motivation to share opportunities with people in less advantaged communities. After more than 10 years of developing projects with local partners I still feel that our contributions are always highly appreciated by those partners and create a lasting impact in the lives of the millions that we’ve reached so far.”

  • Mr.

    Mr. Marnick Vanlee

    Senior Project Manager

    “Close the Gap continuously helps social entrepreneurs develop valuable business models and allows daily access to digital media for thousands of underprivileged youths. Contributing to that mission gives me the opportunity to have real impact and that stimulates me to commit myself fully towards our partners and beneficiaries.”

  • Mr.

    Mr. Didier Appels

    Senior Advisor to the Board

    “I am proud to be part of an organisation that supports both projects & start-ups (in Africa & elsewhere) in a very sustainable way – by partnering up to leverage digital tools as a means to solve issues on education, finance, healthcare & entrepreneurship.”

  • Mr.

    Mr. Bram Over

    Business Developer

    After gaining experience in the private, public and diplomatic sector I am thrilled to be working for an organisation that not only bridges the digital divide, but also bridges the gap between the public and private sector. Close the Gap is treading a new path in development co-operation and I am very excited to be part of a team that will further increase its social impact in developing countries.

  • Ms.

    Ms. Leen Jongbloet

    Project Coordinator

    Our organization is dedicated to making change happen: both socially as well as environmentally. The positive impact of our mission clarifies to me that change is, in fact, possible and that sustainable solutions can, actually, be within reach. Convinced of the empowering role of knowledge- and skills- sharing, and of its cruciality to ensure an equal digital world, it is thereby with joy that I am a part of the Close the Gap ecosystem.

Board of Directors

  • Prof. em. Dr.

    Prof. em. Dr. Wim A. G. Blonk

    Board member and former chair

    Since 2002, Prof. Blonk has been actively involved in the creation of Close the Gap. Since its creation, he has been Chairman of the Board of Directors at Close the Gap. He retired in 1999 from the EU Commission as Honorary Director General and in 2004 he retired as Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Prof. Blonk is personally involved in projects for disabled children in Tanzania, Malawi and North India (Ladakh).

  • Ms.

    Ms. Christina von Wackerbarth


    Christina von Wackerbarth has an international career on board and management level. Among other assignments, she was COO for international media company VNU’s activities in Central Europe and Director General and COO of the Public Broadcasting company VRT in Belgium. Ms. von Wackerbarth has experience as an independent Board member for various companies (such as Barco) in Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands. She is also active as an independent consultant and executive coach.

  • Prof.

    Prof. Bjorn Cumps

    Board member

    Bjorn Cumps is a professor in Digital Banking at Vlerick Business School. At Vlerick, Prof. Cumps leads the Vlerick Centre for Financial Services, which focuses on sector specific research. Prof. Cumps is also responsible for the further development of Fintech research and education as well as the director of the Vlerick Masters Fintech Bootcamp.

  • Mr.

    Mr. Olivier Vanden Eynde

    Founder & CEO Close the Gap

    Mr. Vanden Eynde founded Close the Gap in September 2003 at the Solvay Business School, as a mini-enterprise and spin-off of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Since the start, Mr. Vanden Eynde has been the Managing Director of Close the Gap. He is also the founder and Managing Director of WorldLoop, an organisation that focuses on sound e-waste solutions in developing countries.

Board of Recommendation

  • Prof. Dr.

    Prof. Dr. Marleen Temmerman

    Member of the Board of Recommendation


    Author and international women’s rights advocate

    Head of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Aga Khan University Nairobi Kenya

    Former Director, Department of Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organisation

  • Viscount

    Viscount Etienne Davignon

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Former Vice-President of the EU Commission

  • Prof. Dr.

    Prof. Dr. Marc Despontin

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

  • Mr.

    Mr. Dieter Frisch

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Former Director General for Development at the EU Commission

  • Ms.

    Ms. M. F. Heijn Everwijn Lange

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Ambassador De Grote Onderneming

    Ambassador STOP AIDS NOW!

  • Prof. em. Dr.

    Prof. em. Dr. Silvain Loccufier

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Honorary Rector of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

  • Baron Dr.

    Baron Dr. Peter Piot

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    Former Executive Director UNAIDS

  • Prof. Dr.

    Prof. Dr. Jan Pronk

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Former Minister for Development, the Netherlands

    Former Deputy Secretary-General United Nations

    Former special UN envoy for Sudan

  • ✞ Count

    ✞ Count Jacques Rogge

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    President International Olympic Committee (IOC)

  • ✞ Archbishop em.

    ✞ Archbishop em. Desmond Tutu

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Nobel Peace Prize 1984

  • Baron Prof. Dr.

    Baron Prof. Dr. Benjamin van Camp

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Chairman UZ Brussel

    ProRector Vrije Universiteit Brussel

  • Ms.

    Ms. Sylviane Toporkoff

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Founder and Partner at Items International

    Founder and President of Global Forum

    Lecturer at Paris VIII University (Dauphine)

  • Ms.

    Ms. Corinne Lepage

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Former Member of the European Parliament

    Former Minister of Environment, France

    Partner at law firm Cabinet Huglo Lepage Associés

  • Mr.

    Mr. François-Xavier de Donnea

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Member of the Belgian Chamber of People’s Representatives

    Former Minister of State, Belgium

    Former member of the European Parliament

    Former member of Parliament

    Former Major of Brussel

    Former chairman of the Federal Council for Sustainable Development

    President of the African Parks Congo Board

  • Prof. Dr.

    Prof. Dr. Frank Vandenbroucke

    Member of the Board of Recommendation

    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health

    Former Flemish Minister of Education, Belgium

    Former Professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Universiteit Antwerpen and Universiteit van Amsterdam