IITA Business Incubation Platform appoints first Advisory Board

The IITA Business Incubation Platform (BIP) has announced the appointment of its inaugural Advisory Board, which held its first board meeting last June. CEO of Enviro Gro Farms, Mrs Nkiru Opareke, will serve as Chair of the Board, which will provide leadership and overall guidance to increase organizational growth and impact.

The appointed board members are considered exemplary in their individual and combined extensive expertise in agribusiness, research, commerce, finance, business development, and strategic partnership.

The first board meeting discussed the state of IITA BIP and the next line of action for the commercial and technology delivery arm of CGIAR-IITA.

IITA BIP was set up to develop businesses, build sustainable innovations, and commercialize them to impact more lives in Africa. In April, the IITA BIP Board of Trustees approved the composition and Terms of Reference for the IITA BIP Ltd board members.

The board comprises IITA representatives, Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery (DDG-P4D), Kenton Dashiell; Deputy Director General Corporate Services, Hilde Koper-Limbourg; and IITA Board of Trustees (BoT) member, Dr Victoria Salin. The board also includes private agribusiness sector specialists, Board Chair Opareke, Ms Yemisi Iranloye, and Mr Akinbayo Atere. IITA BIP CEO, Mr Frederick Schreurs and Board Secretary, Mrs Ayoyinka Olajide-Awosedo round off the list of board members.

Opareke is the Co-Founder and CEO/COO of Enviro Gro Farms—a premier commercial grower and marketer of fine quality vegetables in Nigeria. She served on the board of Igwe Farms in Enugu State and with ExxonMobil, where she was a project and design engineer and project manager for infrastructure projects in Nigeria, the United States, Singapore, and France. She also worked as a human capital development expert and management consultant in Canada and Nigeria.

Iranloye is the MD/CEO of Psaltry International Ltd, where she has worked as an agro processor for more than 18 years with a good knowledge of mechanized cassava farming and processing. She presently manages over 8000 hectares of cassava plantation for her outgrower and company back up farms. She also is a specialist in organizing farmers into groups of outgrowers.

Atere has over a decade of experience in banking operations—retail, commercial, and corporate banking with Nigeria’s oldest bank and one of its biggest. He founded Arterius Capital and Advisory Limited, to offer risk consulting and financial advisory, and other services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to scale. He is also an investor and founded Cashvance.ng that offers financial inclusion services to SMEs and individuals.

Board Secretary, Olajide-Awosedo, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK and the International Bar Association. Her main areas of practice are corporate/commercial law and corporate finance. She advises clients, both local and international, regularly on multi-billion Naira transactions. She represents Aarndale as Company Secretary and is a legal advisor on the boards of various companies.

The board also has one external Advisor, Frank Braeken, who has had a long career dedicated to consumer goods, foods, and agriculture. He spent 26 years with Unilever, living and working in nine countries on four continents. He is presently the Executive Chairman at Feronia, Inc. and a non-executive board member of AGRA, Feronia Inc., and Blue Skies Holdings.

BIPfirst Advisory BoardIITAIITA News no. 2546

Communications • 28th July 2020

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