Kirchner Food Fellows award 4th annual Prize at the Thought for Food Summit in Rio de Janeiro

Fellows also hosted session in Impact Investing at the first ever TFF Academy

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – August 3, 2018 – The 2017-2018 Kirchner Food Fellows Karla Rascon-Garcia, Alfredo Costilla-Reyes, and Adrian Garcia-Casarrubias attended the 2018 Thought for Food (TFF) Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The TFF Summit, along with a first-ever innovative immersive learning experience, branded as the TFF Academy, were held from July 23 – 27, 2018.

The Academy Program brought together keynote speakers from diverse backgrounds, hosting specialization tracks from “Big Data and GIS” to “Exploring Nutrition’s Complexities.” Of these immersive and educational specialization tracks, the Kirchner Food Fellows along with TFF’s Next Gen Council Member, Caroline Steiblin, hosted the Academy’s “Behind the Scenes of Impact Investment.”

In this TFF Academy Specialization Track, the Kirchner Food Fellows were joined by over 50 international participants, holding a 2.5 hour session that expanded on the theories of impact investing, unraveled impact investing misconceptions, and provided a hands-on methodological approach for evaluating startups. This specific specialization track was remarked as one of the most populated sessions of the TFF Academy, which created a thought-provoking space where participants applied the concepts discussed. “I believe that the high number of attendees in the session shows the continued growing interest of impact investing among the new generation(s) of entrepreneurs and decision makers,” remarked Kirchner Food Fellow, Karla Rascon-Garcia.

The annual TFF Summit closed off the event, inviting top entrepreneurs, academics and investors from all around the globe. This year’s TFF Challenge reportedly received over 800 team applications which represented over 160 countries; the Top 10 Challenge finalist teams were brought to Rio de Janeiro to participate in an exciting pitch competition. Finalist teams represented nine different nations, which competed for four different prize awards.

The Kirchner Food Fellowship Prize, supported by Kirchner Group, a leading advisor in the agriculture and food sector, is a $5,000 USD prize awarded by the Kirchner Food Fellows to the project with the most potential for investment. “For us, as part of the fellowship formation process, it is important that the fellows select the winner based on their own criteria and understanding of the projects,” mention Steve Dauphin, one of the directors of the Kirchner Food Fellowship Program. Past winners of this prize include teams: Agrospheres, Aahar, and Peer to Peer Probiotics.

This year, the Kirchner Food Fellows selected an innovative company based in the United Kingdom: Aeropowder. This pioneering team uses treated waste feathers to make thermal shipment linings for boxes, reducing the need for polystyrene containers while providing the necessary thermal insulation for the efficient packaging and transportation of food products.

Polystyrene is almost ubiquitous in modern day food industry, appearing in virtually every step of the production chain, from its use among ingredients to the final delivery of the food. “I loved that they turn a problem into many solutions,” said Kirchner Food Fellow, Adrian Garcia-Casarrubias. “They use a food industry waste product to reduce food waste in the supply chain, all while reducing the use of polystyrene, which is polluting the sea and land all over the world.”

Some of the criteria that the fellows used in order to choose a winner included the project’s: closeness to market, potential impact to the benefited population, as well as the team dynamics. “This company presents a great opportunity for future investors. They can develop many solutions for the food industry at many levels. Given the global scope of food and commodity exchanges, the sky is the limit!” stated Kirchner Food Fellow, Alfredo Costilla-Reyes.

Kirchner Food Fellowship
The Kirchner Food Fellowship, a Kirchner Impact Foundation initiative, is a unique and innovative, impact investment program that harnesses the power of millennials to find, fund and assist promising socially responsible agricultural businesses. The program provides capital and unprecedented hands-on training in capital allocation for university students. The Fellowship applies a problem-based learning and solutions approach with the goal of enhancing capital efficiency, lessening deployment costs, shortening time frames and increasing the likelihood of investment success.

Steve Dauphin
Kirchner Impact Foundation

Kirchner Group
Kirchner Group was founded in 1985 as a boutique advisory 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, underperforming funds) – 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.

Blair Kirchner
Managing Director & Co-Head of Impact Activities
Kirchner Group