Impact Investing in Kenya—with Time Out for Safari

Posted on Fri, July 19, 2013 by CBAS Fellow.

by Hilary Ferro T'14, Center for Business & Society MBA Fellow & Tuck GIVES Intern   

Hello from Kenya!  I am spending my summer with Acumen’s East Africa team in Nairobi, doing due diligence for potential new investments in the agriculture sector.  It is an exciting place to be as Nairobi is the entrepreneurial hub for the entire region, and Acumen is one of the pioneers of impact investing – identifying businesses that are financially viable and scalable while also creating a measurable improvement in the lives of the poor.

I have two specific potential investments to focus on – one in rural western Kenya related to dairy production, and the other in Rwanda providing warehousing for staple grains.  So far, I have met with management teams and industry experts, performed financial analyses and created internal investment documents.  I am looking forward to some upcoming field visits to see the company operations and interview customers and distribution partners!  It is incredibly interesting to see the social impact a business can make, when it meets the challenge of providing high quality goods and services to the poor at a price they can afford.

Kenya is also a great country to explore – especially now, it’s actually winter here – with lots of other MBA interns around!  I’ve gone on safari in Amboseli National Park and spent a very relaxing weekend at Diani Beach south of Mombasa.  I took this picture in Amboseli, which is known for having huge herds of elephants as well as amazing views of Kilimanjaro.