Inspired by this problem, Hines decided to take action. A large cause of poverty in rural Senegal was due to the lack of a strong value chain in the agricultural sector. Acting on her wide experience in finance and investment working at PaineWebber (now UBS), Fortis Group and Vanenburg Ventures, Hines formed Aventura Investment Partners. Aventura works with organizations that provide funding to entrepreneurs who are working to improve the agricultural value chain in Senegal. Farmers can even work with different groups to market their goods in Europe at higher prices.
Aventura staffs experienced individuals from diverse backgrounds, such as Madagascar, the Netherlands, and Senegal. With this experience, Aventura has set up services where farmers can rent agricultural equipment, pay for processing services, and work with Aventura’s companies to sell their goods in European markets. This model has quickly demonstrated success, gaining funding from individual investors and several development banks. Success has also led Aventura to seek expansion into neighboring Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Mali.
Hines, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics and an M.B.A. from Wharton, describes Aventura’s mission to rural entrepreneurs,” an “entrepreneurial group that is operational.” While at a micro level her company is expanding farmers’ abilities to sell mangos, at the macro level, she is crafting a brighter future for many in ailing regions of the world.
– Austin Bream (Class of 2017)