As an outgrowth of the activities of his company, Ashford International Inc., Bernard van der Lande, is launching with the help of a blue ribbon management team,, an Internet portal that is to streamline the implementation of development projects around the world.

Already included among the start-up’s advisory board are Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; Benn Konsynski, professor, Goizueta Business School, Emory University;

Donald Strombom, former chief of procurement, World Bank; John Svendsen, retired director of the United Nations Development Programme and Andrew Young, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and former mayor of Atlanta.

Herman de Groot, president, Norrit USA,, and Jackie Ward, president of Computer Generation, an international telecommunications service and product company, are serving on the board of directors.

“One of our main goals will be to shorten project cycles from in many cases six to eight years to just months,” Mr. van der Lande told GlobalFax during an interview in Ashford International’s offices located in Stone Mountain.

Since he started Ashford International in 1983, Mr. van der Lande’s company has provided expertise in the development of projects funded by institutions such as the World Bank, the Interamerican Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme around the world.

He said that he couldn’t help but be frustrated over the years by the long lead times the current bidding process requires and inefficiencies imbedded through the entire system. The portal will alleviate many of these delays through Internet tools reducing the time to it takes to receive and process bids, he added.

Mr. van der Lande estimated that the development market currently amounts to some $130 billion annually or up to $300 billion a year if the matching funds from recipient countries are included.

He also said that the company is seeking additional investors as well as a chief financial officer and a chief technology officer.

For more information, call Kent Fisher at (770) 413-4005 or send a fax to (770) 879-6265.