Investing in Agricultural Finance During COVID-19
Agricultural SMEs provide essential services for smallholder farmers in developing countries, yet they face an acute financing gap. This webinar spotlighted two impact investors seeking to address this gap, and one company, Nepal-based The Organic Village, which provides smallholder farmers with bundled services of training and technical assistance, financing and access to markets.
The Organic Village’s leaders offered a deep dive into their business model, which provides an example of how combining financial and non-financial services can help rural households build resilience and take advantage of opportunities. They also shared how their company has adapted during COVID and how the farmers they serve have fared.
Impact investors Alterfin and MCE Social Capital discussed how they are addressing the pressing financing gap for agricultural SMEs and shared what they have learned about bundled models for smallholder farmers and their contributions to economic recovery.
Christina Lukeman (Moderator)
As Senior Business Development Manager at MCE Social Capital, Christina works to engage and grow the community of philanthropic Guarantors and impact investors, exposing new and diverse audiences to MCE's unique model. She transitioned to MCE's team in Sept 2019 after spending years working on the ground with early- and growth-stage social entrepreneurs across the developing world. She was most recently Agora Partnerships' Head of Investor Relations in Mexico City, providing capital advisory services to social enterprises in Latin America and supporting impact investors to get connected with pipeline opportunities, helping facilitate over $92M in capital raise and designing new funding programs. Christina holds an MBA in Social Enterprise & Finance (Middlebury Institute International Studies), a BA in Linguistics (UC Santa Cruz), and a professional certificate in impact investing (Frontier Market Scouts).
Alex Tack is Senior Investment Manager & Portfolio Manager at Alterfin, in charge of the sustainable agriculture portfolios managed on behalf of third party funds. In that capacity, his main role is to optimize the social, environmental and financial return of these portfolios according to the mandate Alterfin gets from these third parties. Alex is also responsible for the financing provided by Alterfin to social enterprises and buyers in Europe. Alex joined Alterfin in 2006 after graduating from Solvay Business School, Brussels. Until 2018, he was Investment Manager at Alterfin dealing with multiple partners in both Africa and Latin America, specializing in the financing for sustainable agriculture. He is a member of the Alterfin Investment Committee.
Michel is founder of The Organic Village Netherlands and co-director of Terwel, a social enterprise which connects entrepreneurs worldwide to promote equitable economic growth. Michel started his career as a consultant for Ernst & Young, then moved to the NGO sector and worked for one of the main development aid agencies in the Netherlands. He has a degree in Business Administration with a focus on the financial sector and development economics from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Samir Newa is founder of The Organic Valley in Nepal. He has 12 years of experience in organic farming practices, 10 years of experience in social mobilization and over seven years of experience in organic business. He brings expertise in organic agriculture, Himalayan and organic agro-forestry products, product development and export, local resources management and preserving indigenous skills which are in the verge of extinction.
Maria Raurell is Portfolio Manager at MCE Social Capital, where she focuses on investments in Francophone West Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Originally from Barcelona, Maria has been working in the field of financial inclusion since 2011. She started out at Oikocredit International in the Netherlands as a credit analyst, and later as Caucasus portfolio manager, where she provided and managed debt financing to selected microfinance institutions. She has also worked at Enclude and as a freelance consultant in the fields of financial inclusion and entrepreneurship for a wide variety of NGOs, impact investment funds and development agencies. Maria holds a B.A. and M.B.A. from ESADE Business School in Barcelona.