After forty years in mushrooms, Jan Klerken is a world-wide recognised authority in the area of mushrooms. An entrepreneur from top to toe. No-one gathers more information and ‘reads’ markets better than he does. He sees the trends and innovations, dares to act on them and adjust his organization to them. He has boundless energy and is never lost for a juicy quote.

“I actually hated the fact that my competitors kept catching up with me or even overtaking me. I looked up to them. In all my naïveté I wanted to beat them, become the biggest in the world. I ultimately also succeeded in that, but I had to pay a heavy price for it. After that, I rigorously changed strategy. I no longer wanted to be the biggest, but faster than number two. Faster at improving customer contacts, faster with sustainable product innovations.”

Boundless energy

One of the character traits of Jan Klerken is his boundless energy. He travels all over the world and even if he arrives late at night in another corner of the globe, he’s out of bed early in the morning for the first appointment. Asked about the source of all this vitality, Jan quickly confirms its presence, not the secret. “I suspect I might have been born with it and it can also have to do with my positivism. It can also be the fact that I’m always and forever open to new developments and ideas. My mind never stops working!”

Not just mushrooms

Next to his core business in mushrooms, Jan also founded the Kids University for Cooking, a non-profit initiative which intends to familiarize Dutch children with the wonderful world of food. It is all about the experience. Inspired by the children themselves and in collaboration with science, education and business sectors, they create exciting and instructive programmes which make 6-16-year-old children aware of their dietary habits in a fun way.

Social contributions

Furthermore, Jan holds various social and advisory functions. Some examples are:

Marita

The strength of Scelta is not only Jan, but also the unconditional support and input of his wife Marita. Scelta is a family business and Marita has always worked on all fronts in and on the business. “She is always clear in her choices, that helps me enormously.”