Kirchner Fellowship Announces Inaugural Costa Rican Cohort in Collaboration with CRUSA

Selected students represent the National University of Costa Rica (UCR), the Technological Institute of Costa Rica (TEC), and the National University (UNA)

San José, Costa Rica – 23 January 2023 – The Kirchner Fellowship, an initiative of the Kirchner Impact Foundation, today announced the selection of its Fellows for the inaugural Costa Rica Program in collaboration with the Costa Rica- United States Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA).

As a pioneering program in developing the next generation of venture capital allocators, the Kirchner Fellowship model combines access to instruction from individuals with decades of combined institutional impact investment experience and an innovative problem-based learning approach honed over the last 10 years. The program is designed to challenge the student investment teams to source, diligence, negotiate and execute a fully-autonomous impact investment. This year, the Costa Rican Fellows will seek social enterprises within the Bioeconomy sector that are looking to create a positive impact in the Country.

The 2023 Kirchner Fellowship CR Fellows:

Sianny Chavarria Zamora is an animal science specialist from the University of Costa Rica. She is currently studying for a master’s degree in industrial engineering with a focus on administration. She also works as a professor and researcher at the University of Costa Rica and with different animal food production and importation companies.

Itnan Vargas Venegas is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology Engineering at the Technological Institute of Costa Rica. His work in the Bacteriology Laboratory of the Biotechnology Research Center at his university has allowed him to discover the potential natural resources and microorganisms have to provide sustainable solutions to recurring problems facing humanity.

Celestina Brenes Porras is a Political Scientist from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and an Internationalist from the National University (UNA). Currently, she is pursuing a new degree in International Relations from UNA with a concentration in trade policy. She has experience in the analysis of draft legislation, international cooperation and trade, project coordination, and research.

The Fellows will be “impact venture capitalists” for a year, investing real money in an early-stage Costa Rican company in the bioeconomy ecosystem.

“The quality and passion of the Costa Rican talent made the selection process really challenging,” said Abigail Napsuciale, Director of the Kirchner Fellowship Costa Rica. “We are proud of the selected team and their enthusiasm for innovation, sustainable models and competitiveness that will undoubtedly support the search for Bioeconomy companies in Costa Rica.”

“I am very excited to participate in this program because I have always wanted to contribute significantly to the economic and social development of the country,” added Itnan Vargas, 2023 Fellow. “I think impact investing is a very powerful tool that generates real change in society. Since the social component has always been seen as an issue far removed from progress and financial profitability, finding a balance in these topics is the key to the present and future economy as well as transforming our production systems into economically and socially sustainable models.”

“I am very excited about the fellowship because it is a “key” to open many doors,” added Sianny Chavarria, 2023 Fellow. “In Costa Rica, we have a lot of talent, and I believe this program is necessary because some of the most recurrent mistakes are in investment and financial management.”

“I want to create economic instruments that provide a social, environmental, and economic impact in Latin America. In this sense, supporting bio-based companies will help me achieve my goals and become a professional that drives innovation and growth in bioeconomy,” added Celestina Brenes, 2023 Fellow. “The tools provided by the Kirchner Fellowship will help me to improve the quality of traditional agribusinesses (generally the most affected) and to promote the development of technology-based bioenterprises.”

“This program is part of our organizations efforts to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Costa Rica through strategic alliances with global players,” added Flora Montealegre, Executive Director of the CRUSA Foundation. “Enhancing the development of the investment ecosystem is fundamental to fostering entrepreneurship, particularly in those areas with the potential to continue advancing towards sustainable development, such as the bioeconomy. We are pleased to contribute to facilitating opportunities for Costa Ricans who will be part of a new generation of impact investors”.

The Kirchner Fellowship is made possible through the support of the Kirchner Group, a leading values-based traditional merchant bank, partners such as CRUSA, and individual donors such as the Donovan Family Fund.

CRUSA Foundation

CRUSA Foundation is a Costa Rican, independent, apolitical, and non-profit organization that since 1996 contributed to improving the quality of life of people and sustainable development in Costa Rica. As part of the 22-27 Strategy, the Foundation is committed to boosting the entrepreneurial ecosystem to enable high-impact venture creation for more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive growth.

Kirchner Fellowship

The mission of the Kirchner Fellowship is to strengthen impact investing ecosystems in areas underserved by capital markets through training and empowering a diverse next generation of investors to allocate equity investments into early-stage companies. Through the use of a “real world, real time, real money” model, the program has proven that it is possible for newly-formed investment teams to become effective capital allocators in a matter of months.

The Kirchner Fellowship is an initiative of The Kirchner Impact Foundation (501 (c) (3)) one of the “returning arms” of Kirchner Group, that focuses on harnessing the positive power of enterprise to make a difference in addressing some of the most important issues of today.

Abigail Napsuciale | Director |

Kirchner Group

Kirchner Group was founded in 1985 as a boutique advisory firm and today operates various subsidiaries, providing advisory services (M&A, assessments, diligence) and operational support (interim management, workouts, turnarounds) as well as asset management (dedicated, portfolio optimization) – all leveraging a proprietary approach that dovetails domain and process expertise.

Throughout the decades Kirchner Group has been internationally recognized for its unique business model centered around creating value while promoting values: “earning while returning”. The firm has also established a reputation for building and rebuilding important business and social paradigms based on its deep entrepreneurial orientation.

Kirchner Group’s clients and partners include early stage to mid-market companies, venture capital and private equity firms as well as family offices and some of the world’s largest insurance companies, commercial banks and institutional investors.

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Blair Kirchner | Managing Director & Co-Head of Impact Activities |