Marten Dresen was born in the Netherlands to a family of teachers, psychologists and public service workers. Service and taking care of others were cornerstones of his upbringing. Business was not part of the equation. Traveling as a student, when the Euro had just launched; he realised the importance of international trade and open markets, to connect people and develop areas left behind. Therefore, he decided to work in international trade. Before starting his career, Marten traveled to Guatemala to learn Spanish.
When in Guatemala, he befriended Mirna, a little girl with no shoes. He decided to give her a pair of shoes and soon realised the only really way to change her current fate, was through education. He founded the NGO Niños de Guatemala in 2006, on the belief that education could provide another – better – future for Mirna, her family, her community, and future generations. Marten built a self-sufficient NGO by stimulating entrepreneurship and focussing on long-term change and creating independence.
After graduating, and while growing the NGO Niños de Guatemala, Marten started working in an international shipping company. In 2009, at the age of 26, the company asked him to head up the South America business in Rio de Janeiro. While based in Brazil, Marten continued to manage part-time the growing NDG team in Guatemala. Through the learnings gained at NDG, and with the Olympics being awarded to Rio de Janeiro, Marten saw an opportunity to link education, job creation and entrepreneurship to tourism demand.
In 2012, he decided to found the Good Group, and handed over the management of the NGO to a board of directors. In 2013, he quit his job in shipping to dedicate himself full-time to the Good Group. Two years later, the first Good Hotel started welcoming guests.