Hilary Barry is originally from Ireland. She is founder and Secretary General of the LadyAgri Impact Investment Hub. Since her first experience in Ghana in 1993 she has dedicated her career to social impact programmes across sub-saharan Africa (public health, agriculture, water, social development, SME support and women entrepreneurship). Her mindset in setting up ‘LadyAgri’ was that investing in women is simply smart economics!

By dedicating our support to women, we can be guaranteed that we are also investing in improving family livelihoods, improving opportunities for the next generation, positively impacting communities, creating decent jobs and prospects. Along with her co-founders, Hilary is a convinced venture philanthropist and believes patient investment in women in agri-supply chains, though challenging, will have a ‘rising tide’ effect and wide social impact.

Hilary leads a motivated team of experts dedicated to providing technical assistance, access to financing and setting up B2B food technology partnerships for women agri-entrepreneurs across the African continent.

She holds a Master’s in science (MSc) Food Marketing, Rural Development and Cooperative Organisation and BA European Political Science from the National University of Ireland. She has worked for the UNDP in Senegal to launch the Millennium Development Goals across West Africa. Hilary has worked for the Belgian Development Cooperation, Public Health Consulting firms and Managed EU funded programmes in Food Safety and Governance across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

 

Raguini Dupont is of Belgo-Indian origin. She has 15 years of working with a top private sector multinational and since 2012 she has taken her experience to new horizons, working in development support programmes across ACP countries. She recently returned to Belgium after 18 months in Kinshasa, Congo RDC. Raguini is a qualified coach and gets things done in the LadyAgri operational team.

She has extensive experience in project management, coordination and implementation of technical assistance, trainings, twinning partnerships across ACP countries and with academia, private sector and food safety authorities across Europe. She has coordinated multiple high level regional and national seminars and technical workshops involving agri-supply chain stakeholders and agri-businesses targeting regional and export markets.

Her motto is “Be the change, you want to see in the world”. Thanks to her hands-on experience in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean (Haiti) she has come to the common conclusion with fellow LadyAgri founding members that investing in women can and will move the development dial and guarantee lasting impact. She says that her most enlightening professional and personal encounters have been with women. “They have made me question myself, shown me that managing career, family and personal ambition are not incompatible but a ‘must’ to advance in life. Advancing as women entrepreneurs means ‘rolling with the punches’, getting back up and dusting yourself off before getting back in the race. Several key women put their trust in me and built up my self-confidence. I now want to share that same confidence, knowledge and the lessons I’ve learnt with LadyAgri and her members.”

 

Ayélé Sikavi Gabiam is of Togolese origin and co-founder of Lady Agri Impact Investment Hub. Being part of the African diaspora, Ayélé is aware of the challenges faced by the African continent and these can only be overcome by the economic development and job-creation within SMEs especially in the agricultural sector.

For Ayélé, it is important to invest in the potential of women agro-entrepreneurs and offer them the agri-business know-how, technology and access to finance. She emphasises, “We African women need to regain confidence in ourselves and our ability to run our own businesses and contribute positively to our communities”.

Specialised in ACP-EU relations as a public relations consultant, especially for Interprofessional Associations and Export Agencies along with the CAVIE (African Center for Business Intelligence and Intelligence), she organises high level business meetings and conferences in West and Central African countries, particularly in the agricultural sector. Her experience on the ground allows her to have excellent understanding of diplomatic and commercial partnership relations with decision-makers from African and European countries. Since 2015, she runs her own company, which accompanies African trade missions to new markets throughout Europe and the Caribbean. Ayélé holds a Degree in Communications and Public Relations from the Free University of Brussels (ULB) and speaks French, English and Ewe-Mina.

 

Ché Feenie has been operating at the interface between finance and business for the past two decades within frontier and emerging markets. Originally from Scotland, she is a co-founder of the LadyAgri Impact Investment Hub. In 2008, Ché moved into the Funds space - concentrating on Foreign Direct Investments (including MENA, LATAM, ASIA-PAC & s-SA) and holds a successful track record for investments in the EMEA region. Ché represents the LadyAgri Impact Investment Hub engaging with private sector investors and philanthropists in the UK and in Europe.

She is focused on developing robust partnerships in the area of gender smart investment amongst stakeholders spanning the entire value chain of investment: from fund managers, banks, and pension funds, to ecosystem builders, policy makers, academics, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs.

Ché also provides pro bono consultancy/fundraising support to Cambodia Charitable Trust. Education is the largest lever for social change especially for girls.  Education breaks the poverty cycle and opens the door to a bright and purposeful future for each child. Ché also brings this experience to LadyAgri and firmly supports the upskilling of girls and women across the agri-supply chains, empowering women to seize the opportunities presented by agri-business.

Her ultimate goal is to help shape a better future by supporting the delivery of gender-smart outcomes that are economically viable, gender inclusive, environmentally responsible and socially relevant.  She is committed to the LadyAgri mission to empower women in the agri value chains across emerging economies by providing a unique blend of meso-financing and well-adapted inclusive financial services.

 

Aida Axelsson-Bakri, of Ethiopian and Swiss origin, is a co-Founder and Chair of the Board of the LadyAgri Impact Investment Hub. A social-entrepreneur at heart, Aida believes that LadyAgri is the vehicle by which women agri-entrepreneurs will finally be able to reach their potential and bring quality, security, and jobs to Africa’s food systems.

With vast experience as a Founder and Managing Director of a leading Brussels-based consultancy, ADS Insight, she has a strong sense of leadership and management in the field of international and European affairs. Her expertise is in public affairs, corporate social responsibility, international relations and European Union policy and funding instruments.  In the area of food safety, agri-supply chains and nutrition, she supports i.a. the African Union Commission notably in their efforts to address the contamination of food by aflatoxin through the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA). She is passionate about the complex debate around social investment – particularly in the area of agri-business and women, and the methodologies that serve to calculate impact.

Thanks to ADS Insight’s corporate social responsibility strategy, Aida and her team have been involved in supporting a wide range of good causes ranging from Adopt-a-Midwife in Ethiopia, to SeaAlarm for oil-spill-responders, to the RFC refugee football club Syriana, and CREAD for climate resilience in Dominica, ADS Insight has been proud to be LadyAgri’s “incubator” and whole-heartedly supports its cause.

Aida has lived in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Switzerland, and currently resides in Belgium.  She holds a Masters’ Degree in Environmental Science and speaks five languages.

 

Barbara Stinson is Co-founder of the LadyAgri Impact Investment Hub. She represents LadyAgri in the USA and Canada. With over 30 years of professional experience, and as Senior Partner of Meridian Institute, she brings a background building public private partnerships, working with philanthropic organisations, and supporting social investments focused on high impact projects in international agriculture, alternative energy, ecosystem restoration, climate change, and air-quality management.

Her interest and commitment to LadyAgri stems in part from working in Liberia over a three-year period (2011 – 14). She helped design the annual gathering of the All Liberia Women’s Summit, attended by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and organised in partnership with Foundation for Women Liberia and the Ministry of Gender. In this forum, over 200 women leaders and entrepreneurs from all over Liberia met to address challenges facing women at home and in the marketplace: access to finance, health care, education, and women’s empowerment in the community and at home. Barbara continues to serve on the interim Board of Directors of Foundation for Women in Liberia: http://www.foundationforwomen.org/

Barbara has become convinced of the key role women can play in food safety, food quality and reducing post-harvest loss. Starting in 2011, she managed the launch and development of the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA), which addresses the critical public health and nutrition challenge of aflatoxin contamination in staple foods across Africa, especially for women and children.

 

The LadyAgri Impact Investment Hub is, for Goretti Cortina, an initiative that brings together all the expertise that she has been gathering for 8 years following education policy in Europe, as well as education reform at national level in African countries. Since 2016, her portfolio includes the implementation of the European External Investment Plan, via the European Fund for Sustainable Development Fund, and the new Action Plan on Sustainable Finance.

Given her long-standing interest in EU-Africa relations, her recent trips to Senegal and Ethiopia in the Autumn of 2018, reaffirmed her commitment, sharing fully the vision, purpose, and value of LadyAgri during such a crucial moment for the partnership between Africa and the EU.

This is a project connecting all the dots that have never been connected before, from women farmers’ organisations in West and East Africa and wide range of agri-business women networks at continental level to social impact investors, public and private donors, the private sector, African policy makers and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) providers.