Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Register
What Comes First: The Technology or the Business Model?
View Registrations Tell a Friend About This EventTell a Friend

When: Tuesday, April 23rd
9:00-11:00 AM EDT
Where: The Aspen Institute
2300 N St. NW
Suite 700
Washington, District of Columbia  20037
United States
Contact: Carly Giddings

Online registration is closed.
« Go to Upcoming Event List  


We invite ANDE Members, ANDE Sustainable Agribusiness Learning Lab members, and friends of the SGB sector to join us live for a morning panel discussion on Tuesday, April 23rd from 9-11:00AM at the Aspen Institute office or remotely via zoom. This event will begin with the panel discussion described below and conclude with networking over light breakfast and coffee. 

What Comes First: The Technology or the Business Model?
Session #1 of the “Ag in the AM” Series 

Both technologies and business models are important considerations when entering the smallholder market. Agribusinesses are faced with the challenge of introducing, adapting, and distributing technologies that are needed to improve the productivity and profitability of smallholder agriculture. Come and hear panelists discuss how their unique business models and technologies are disrupting the “agribusiness as usual” model, bringing markets closer to producers, empowering buyers and sellers, and creating stronger systems that improve smallholder farmers’ lives.

Meet the Panelists

Facilitator: Elisa Burrows | Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation 
Elisa is the Portfolio Manager for Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation. In this role, she provides guidance and capacity building to entrepreneurs, SMEs, and multinational companies partnering with USAID to engage smallholder farmers through sustainable business models. Elisa oversees Partnering for Innovation’s grant portfolio, which has invested more than $45 million in the commercialization of agricultural technologies and services in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Joseph Shields | Ethiochicken 
Joseph Shields lead Ethiochicken, a former Partnering for Innovation investee that is transforming Ethiopia’s poultry sector by targeting rural smallholder farmers as their principal customers for their improved dual-purpose breedstock from Europe. EthioChicken reaches a customer base of over 2 million smallholder households annually throughout the country through a network of 5,000 commissioned sales agents and recently expanded into Rwanda. 

Garron Hansen | Agriculture and Food Security Practice Director | Chemonics International 
Garron Hansen is the Director of Agriculture and Food Security at Chemonics International, which implements agricultural and food security projects in 40 countries. He has previously served as a Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where a portion of his portfolio was dedicated to commercializing technologies that linked farmers to markets.  He also spent many years living in East Africa where he served as the Structured Trade Team Leader for the East Africa Trade Hub and Country Director Rwanda for The Wood Foundation, both of which had components of their work dedicated to scaling up agricultural technologies.

Chris Walker, Social Innovations Director, Mercy Corps 

In his role as Social Innovations Director at Mercy Corps, Chris works to scale up entrepreneurial solutions to development challenges and provides advice on innovative finance initiatives. He also works with Mercy Corps’ Social Venture Fund, which invests in and accelerates impact-oriented, for-profit businesses, including a large number in the agricultural sector. In addition, Chris is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he teaches a graduate course on impact investing and innovative finance. He first became intrigued by the potential of business models to address agricultural challenges while working at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, where he designed and built initiatives that attracted investment capital into the nutrition sector.


Tuesday, April 23rd 

9:00 - 11:00AM EDT


The Aspen Institute
2300 N St. NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC