Reinier van Scherpenzeel New Operations Director at Tunga

BY Tunga · 2 MIN READ

“It’s great to be able to make the difference between a 21st-century job and developers who are underemployed.”

Tunga is the link between IT talent in Africa and the demand for software developers worldwide. To guarantee the quality of the products and clear communication, our clients always have a contact person in the Netherlands. But the projects are coordinated from Uganda. Since January this year, Reinier van Scherpenzeel (32) has been our new Operations Director in Kampala.

A thousand jobs

Reinier van Scherpenzeel was a Managing Director at the Dutch company Incentro but moved to Uganda with his family for Tunga. “It is our ambition to create a thousand jobs in the African IT sector, and in various African countries, those talents are sitting at home or are underemployed. We can radically increase the pool of technicians and boost employment opportunities in Africa in one fell swoop. It’s great to be able to make the difference between a 21st-century job and developers who are underemployed?”

Reinier van Scherpenzeel’s main tasks at Tunga

“In short, my position includes everything that is related to the day-to-day operations. More specifically, I will be focussing on several themes. For example, improving and further developing our project management methods and making our working methods scalable. Because we want to create a thousand jobs in the African IT sector, we are working on a number of projects at the same time. You can’t manage them all at the same level. It requires a structure that provides maximum autonomy to the individual developer and project managers and optimum transparency for the primary stakeholders.”

Onboarding new developers

“Another theme is streamlining the onboarding of new developers. Tunga is popular to work for, because we are reliable, treat developers fairly, and pay them well. But we do want to offer good and stable quality to clients and, at the same time, be able to respond quickly to their requests. This requires excellent onboarding and an up-to-date database with active profiles.

Another major task is setting up the branch in Uganda. Tunga had started to set up a legal entity there, which is now in operation. It needs to be further developed so that we can optimize the working conditions for our people.”

Helping people grow

Reinier van Scherpenzeel definitely wants to make an impact in this position. “Before this, I worked for an IT consultancy company that tried to do its best for the clients, just like all the other competition. That is what I do for Tunga too, but the result is a lot more profound. Jobs are being created in disadvantaged areas; it is the difference between earning a living and nothing for these people. I’m very excited about making an impact like that, helping people grow.”

Reinier van Scherpenzeel’s love for Africa

Reinier van Scherpenzeel’s maternal grandfather was a sugar plantation manager. His mother grew up living in Indonesia, the Congo, and South Africa. He thinks he got the idea that the world is much bigger than just the Netherlands from her. “My wife and I worked in Malawi and Zambia in 2010 and 2011, and that was a fantastic experience for us; living in a fundamentally different culture, where everything is much less organized, but you also have much more freedom because of that. We love that. And the climate is also a plus for us.”

No more socks

“For my wife, this is a dream come true, as it is for me. My son (7) loves snakes and insects, so he loves them too. It is a little challenging for my oldest daughter (5); she has a lot of friends, and it’s hard for her to leave them behind. But she really likes the idea of never having to wear socks again. The youngest (2) has no idea what’s going on, of course.”

Reinier van Scherpenzeel summarized.

Reinier van Scherpenzeel studied philosophy in Amsterdam, worked for the biggest publishing house in the Netherlands, and then followed his wife to Malawi and Zambia, where they both worked. When they returned to the Netherlands, Reinier got a job as an IT project manager at his former employer, the publisher. Reinier primarily worked on new technology there (e-books/apps). After a re-organization, Reinier ended up at Incentro. He initiated a switch to a self-managing team there, which cost him his job as manager. Reinier then worked for PostNL and KPN as an Agile Coach. At the beginning of 2018, he became the first democratically elected manager at Incentro, which brought him back to management. Then Tunga came along, and 2019 suddenly began to look very different.