Want to make a difference in Agriculture? – Here’s a tremendous opportunity for students.

There are few organizations that would give a group of three university students $50,000 to make an impact in the agriculture sector.

The Kirchner Food Fellowship is one of most unique organizations and learning experiences that I’ve had to date. This past year, I’ve had the privilege to be a Kirchner Food Fellow with the Kirchner Impact Foundation.

To be clear, the $50,000 serves as a venture capital investment. But what is so unique about the Kirchner Food Fellowship is the decision of where that investment goes is in the hands of three student fellows.

The goal of the Kirchner Food Fellowship is to train young professionals to become smart impact capital allocators, specifically in the food and agriculture space. As a fellow, in a few short months, I received hands-on training from world-class professionals focusing on impact investing, venture capital distribution, company due diligence, and the global agriculture market. My fellowship will come to an exciting completion in the next few months as my team will select one agriculture company from around the world to invest in and become part of the Kirchner Impact Foundation portfolio of companies.

What I’ve enjoyed most about the experience as a fellow is the real-world approach to venture capital training. I came into this experience having very little experience in the investment space. In a very short amount of time, I went from thinking as a grad student to thinking as an impact investor. Our team quickly learned how to source companies from around the world and evaluate what the companies were doing. My weeks became filled with looking at markets and business models in countries like India, Ghana, Kenya, Columbia and much more. It’s been exciting to adopt a global mindset as I work from my desk in Nebraska. The fellowship is like a real-world sandbox to learn about the cross section of business, Agriculture, and investing. 

As I write this, our three-person team is getting close selecting the company we want to invest in and are deep in the process of enterprise due diligence. Nearly every day I’m on the phone with a CEO from another country and digging through company data. Knowing that this is much more than a case-study or classroom exercise -these are real dollars going into a real company- makes this a pressured and exciting time in the fellowship.

I’m confident that the Kirchner Fellowship has set me up to be a real player on the global Agriculture stage and I’ve valued the unique real-world training that Kirchner provides.

If you have any interest in learning more about the global agriculture and food sector, the ability of business to solve huge global problems, or the practical allocation of venture capital, this fellowship is a great opportunity for you.

Applications are open until April 30th, and I encourage you to apply (https://fundthefood.com/apply/).

Checkout a video that outlines the opportunity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwPmffguuNM

I’m happy to take any questions about my experience with Kirchner. 

Brennan Costello | Kirchner Food Fellow | bcostello@fundthefood.com

Kirchner Food Fellowship

The Kirchner Food Fellowship is a pioneer in the lean investment movement, harnessing the power of highly-committed millennial talent to find, fund and assist promising socially-responsible, for-profit agricultural businesses. Through the use of a “real-world, real-time, real money” model the program has proven that it is possible for newly formed investment teams to become effective venture capital allocators in a matter of months. The combination of compressed learning time frames and low operating costs makes it possible to more cost effectively deploy smart and impactful capital in parts of the world were angel capital is needed most, leading some to describe the program as “Peace Corps meets VC”. For more on the program or to apply please visit www.fundthefood.com and our recent AgFunder article.

The Kirchner Food Fellowship is an initiative of The Kirchner Impact Foundation (501 (c) (3)) one of the “returning arms” of Kirchner Group, that focuses on harnessing the positive power of enterprise to make a difference in addressing some of the most important issues of today. www.kirchnerimpact.com

Steve Dauphin | Director | +1 205.602.9845 | sdauphin@kirchnerimpact.com

Kirchner Group

Kirchner Group was founded in 1985 as a boutique firm and today operates various subsidiaries, providing advisory services (M&A, assessments, diligence) and operational support (interim management, workouts, turnarounds) as well as asset management (dedicated, portfolio optimization) – all leveraging a proprietary approach that dovetails domain and process expertise.

Throughout the decades Kirchner Group has been internationally recognized for its unique business model centered around creating value while promoting values: “earning while returning”. The firm has also established a reputation for building and rebuilding important business and social paradigms based on its deep entrepreneurial orientation.

Kirchner Group’s clients and partners include early stage to mid-market companies, venture capital and private equity firms as well as family offices and some of the world’s largest insurance companies, commercial banks and institutional investors. www.kirchnergroup.com

Blair Kirchner | Managing Director & Co-Head of Impact Activities | Kirchner Group | 902.817.2405 | bgkirchner@kirchnergroup.com

Brennan Costello