My professional background
For much of my career, I have worked to improve the flow of financial services to low income customers as an investor, banker and entrepreneur. I am particularly passionate about what we can do together to improve the businesses of small farmers. Most recently, I was a founder and chief strategy officer of a savings and loan in formation devoted to providing financial services to Ghana’s smallholder cocoa farmers. In the prior decade, I was the founder and portfolio manager of the New Markets Financial Fund, an investment fund focused on financial institutions that have applied technology and creative operating strategies to provide low cost financial services to low income customers. The investments were chiefly in small to mid-capitalization companies trading in Africa and Asia. I have served as a consultant to companies and projects ranging from rejuvenating Nigeria’s palm oil production to training rural Ivoirians in establishing savings and credit groups in their home villages. I am currently a mentor to an entrepreneur building a vertical urban farming company in the United States.
For over 20 years before starting the Fund, I was an investment banker at Oppenheimer & Co. and other US firms covering the financial services industry, raising capital for institutions serving the underbanked consumer and for more conventional banks. I have served on the board of directors of two major financial institutions including one which serves lower income areas of greater Los Angeles.
I received his Ph.D. in Economics from U.C., Berkeley. Prior to Wall Street, he was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Iowa State University and an economist and policy analyst at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, DC during the Reagan Administration.
How to work with me
What I can offer
I find I can be most helpful in helping you develop your business plan, refine your budget and projections and help you build a business with long term sustainability. An improved budget and strategy should not only help you with your business but it should improve your chances with future investors.
My expectations for a successful mentoring relationship
A successful mentoring relationship requires honesty and regular communications. Without a clear understanding of the issues and challenges you face, it is difficult to provide useful advice. It is important to be hopeful and enthusiastic about your business but it is also important to be realistic about the difficulties facing you along the way so that these difficulties can be addressed.
How entrepreneurs can prepare before we start
Will you be able to profitably produce something your customers want at prices they can afford? It is essential that you provide a clear description of your product, how you are going to produce it, and who your customers are. Any data you can provide that describes your business and your goals will be most helpful.