Leon, Guanajuato Mexico and Birmingham, Alabama – 20 March 2019 – The Kirchner Impact Foundation is pleased to announce a collaboration with the local government of Leon and the state government of Guanajuato, to offer a new, central Mexico based Kirchner Food Fellowship cohort. Designed and launched in 2014 to operate where traditional pools of impact investment can’t operate cost-effectively, today the Kirchner Food Fellowship is recognized as one of the world’s most innovative capital markets initiatives, forming effective investment teams comprised of full-time university students and empowering them to allocate capital from the Kirchner Impact Foundation on a fully discretionary basis within a single nine month academic year.
The groundwork for the expansion to Mexico was laid in 2017-2018 by a prior cohort that identified numerous prospective investment opportunities in central-Mexico. Karla Rascon-García, a UC Davis PhD student who was part of that 2017-2018 investment team, recalls, “during our tenure as Fellows we saw a lot of potential in the central Mexico region” and adds “I´m excited to see what this new cohort will find and the impact it will have in the region.”
Through a collaboration with the Innovation division of the Municipality of León, Guanajuato and the Knowledge Economy of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Higher Education of the State of Guanajuato, the new program, will be focused on the agriculturally rich Central Mexico region. This is a region with high economic development and with a growing innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem which has been enhanced by international investments in areas of agriculture and technology. The Kirchner Food Fellowship program is expected to be a permanent part of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. “We believe that this program can have a great impact on our region and are excited to be working with Kirchner Group to make it a reality, stated Adriana Ruiz Pérez, Director of Entrepreneurship and Talent Management of the Municipality of León and Director of the Central Mexico program.
The Kirchner Food Fellowship – Central Mexico cohort will be based in the city of Leon and will recruit students during March and April 2019 from the central region of Mexico, including the states of: Guanajuato, Jalisco, Aguascalientes and Queretaro and will seek to invest in projects that impact food security in the region. The program will boost the development of the innovation-entrepreneurship-investment ecosystem in the region, by preparing the next generation of local capital allocators. “We see this program as a great opportunity to position the state of Guanajuato and its entrepreneurship ecosystem as a top tier player in the Food Security and investment field” mentioned Edgar Larios, Director for the Promotion of the Knowledge Economy of the state of Guanajuato. Irving Rivera, CEO of Solena, a Guanajuato based ag-biotech company that was recently recognized as one of the top 30 most promising business for 2019 by Forbes Mexico and an investment from Kirchner Food Fellowship’s 2017-2018 cohort, adds “We are happy and proud that the Kirchner Food Fellowship program will be established in our region, I´m sure that the knowledge that they will bring to the region will accelerate and boost the entrepreneurship – investment ecosystem and will help us to fulfill our Food Security goal.”
In addition to the Fellowship program, Kirchner will conduct an informative impact investment academy for a select number of participants that will cover topics such as investment basics, deal sourcing and diligence. Kirchner will also sponsor an Agtech prize event for startups in the region over the coming months. “The city of Leon has a clear mission to promote entrepreneurship and recognizes how the training of entrepreneurs can boost high value companies in strategic sectors improving economic conditions and strengthening a knowledge ecosystem with national and international positioning, and the Kirchner Food Fellowship will be a great ally to fulfill these goals” stated Omar Silva Director of Innovation for the city of Leon.
The Kirchner Food Fellowship is made possible through the support of Kirchner Group, a boutique firm that provides advisory, operational and M&A support to small and medium sized businesses as well as asset management services. Kirchner has a three decade history working with agriculture and food companies and is considered one of the leading boutique advisors in the agtech sector. The firm also has deep roots in the Latin America region and a long history developing and advising entrepreneurs. The Fellowship is sponsored as part of the firm’s ‘returning’ initiatives and capitalizes on Kirchner Group’s unprecedented track record and network in the sector.