Kirchner Food Fellowship Announces New Fellows
Students selected for Americas and Mexico Cohorts
Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico and Jacksonville, Florida – 12 August 2021 – The Kirchner Food Fellowship, an initiative of the Kirchner Impact Foundation, today announced the selection of six new Fellows across two 2021-2022 cohorts, one based in the U.S. with a focus on Central America and one based in Mexico. These fellows join the previously announced HBCU Fellows to form three Kirchner Food Fellowship cohorts for the upcoming academic year. This represents the eighth year of the program, now totaling 38 fellows from a large array of universities and backgrounds.
“It was incredibly gratifying to see such a high level of talent in our applicant pool with this much determination to drive positive impact and develop skills as resource allocators,” said Charles Higgenbotham, Director of the Americas Cohort. “I am encouraged to see the wellspring of enthusiasm as we work to strengthen the impact investing bridge between North and Central America.”
As 2021 progresses, the importance of the program continues to be highlighted by the negative impact of both the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change-related disasters on global food production and supply chains. The program combines access to decades of institutional impact investment experience and the innovative problem-based learning approach honed over the last eight years to challenge the student investment teams to source, negotiate and execute a fully discretionary impact investment decision.
“This year we received applications from students in more countries and with more diverse backgrounds than ever before,” added Adrian Garcia-Casarrubias, Director of the Mexico Cohort. “It is very encouraging to see the passion and commitment from the next generation who want to be part of the impact investment sector and believe that business can be a powerful, important and critical agent for positive change.”
Fellows for the 8th year of the Kirchner Food Fellowship – Americas:
Myriam is pursuing her MBA at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University with a Certificate in Social Impact as a Forté Fellow. Myriam is passionate about sustainable food systems, economic development, and social impact.
Karen Moran Rivera
Karen is pursuing a Ph.D. at Wageningen University and Research, where she will focus on soil science, sustainability, and climate change. Karen believes that Central America needs more investors that care about the communities, environment, and economy.
Adolfo is pursuing a Master of International Business at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is interested in finding ways to bring financial markets and agriculture closer in developing countries, and how this will impact food security.
Fellows for the 3rd year of the Kirchner Food Fellowship – Mexico:
Genaro Aldana Chavez
Genaro is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Bionanotechnology Engineering at Universidad Iberoamericana in Guanajuato, Mexico. He is passionate about bridging the gap between applied science and public policy making.
Jorge Alejandro Nieto Alvarez
Jorge is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of Guanajuato. He is interested in the potential of biotechnology as a high-impact sector through the efficient investment of capital in sustainable solutions.
Laura is an undergraduate economics student at Duke University in the United States and Duke Kunshan University (DKU) in China. Laura is passionate about bringing attention to the distinctive natural and human richness of Latin America and solving problems related to inequality, health, and food security.
“I have always had difficulty reconciling that we waste roughly one-third of the food produced, while approximately 1 in 10 people is malnourished globally. Evidently, change is required in our food system to ensure long-term sustainability,” commented Myriam Faucher. “I believe impact investing presents a unique model by leveraging private capital to create meaningful change, which will become increasingly important in the years to come to address the world’s challenges and meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. I feel immensely privileged to have been selected as a fellow for this year’s cohort and work towards solutions.”
The program is also pleased to announce that industry veterans Ruben Hernandez and Hector Martinez will be joining fellowship’s Director team. Ruben will work with the Americas cohort and is the co-founder and managing partner at Devlabs. He has more than 20 years of experience in business development, high finance, innovation and entrepreneurship. Hector will work with the Mexico cohort. He is a seasoned entrepreneur in Mexico and founder of Grupo Paisano Fund and Loom Capital, which is structuring a Mesoamerican Landscape Regeneration Fund. In 2018, he was awarded UBS Visionaries Social Entrepreneur of the Year for his work.
The Kirchner Food Fellowship is made possible through the support of partners such as The Innovation Direction and the Rural Development Direction of the municipality of León Guanajuato, Mexico, individual donors and Kirchner Group, a boutique firm that provides advisory, operational and M&A support to small and medium sized businesses and their investors as well as asset management services. Kirchner has a three-decade history working with agriculture and food companies from start up to exit and is considered one of the leading boutique groups in the sector. The Fellowship is sponsored as part of its ‘returning’ initiatives and capitalizes on Kirchner’s unprecedented track record and network in the sector.
Kirchner Food Fellowship
The Kirchner Food Fellowship is a pioneer in the lean impact investment movement, harnessing the power of highly committed next generation talent to find, fund, and assist promising socially responsible, for-profit agricultural businesses to advance global food security. The program has proven that it is possible for newly-formed investment teams to become effective venture capital allocators in a matter of months by using a “real world, real time, real money” model. The combination of compressed learning time frames and low operating costs makes it possible to more cost-effectively deploy smart and impactful capital in parts of the world where angel capital is needed most, leading some to describe the program as “Peace Corps meets VC.” For more on the program or to apply please visit www.kirchnerfellowship.com and our recent AgFunder article.
The Kirchner Food 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. www.kirchnerimpact.com
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. www.kirchnergroup.com