Graham Benton received a BA from Prescott College with a double major in Environmental Studies and Adventure Education. He worked at Sail Caribbean as a Program Director for five years before moving to Kenya. He spent the last four years working hand-in-hand with smallholder farmers. He arrived in Kenya for the first time in October 2011 to assist a friend in starting Takamoto Biogas. Through managing Takamoto’s field operations, sales, customer service, and sourcing for three years, he developed a strong understanding of the dairy market as well as the communities in which LishaBora is doing business. This experience has given him deep insights into the smallholder farming and the dairy market. Living, working, and socializing with farmers has given him a unique and powerful understanding of how the local social systems work, positioning him well to operate a company that will support their needs. Developing and growing a social enterprise in the region has provided him with the skills necessary for a successful business venture in rural Kenya.
David Lipinski is a recent graduate from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Biosystems Engineering degree. His degree specializes in sustainable building design and has a minor focus in agriculture. David worked with Macdon Industries in Canada throughout his degree, testing prototype farming equipment, managing projects, and giving recommendations for different design projects. Recently accepted in the long-term fellowship program with Engineers Without Borders Canada, David has been paired with LishaBora to help with design of systems, run the company in its daily operations and expand the company into new market areas. David’s strong passion for social entrepreneurship coupled with his background in agriculture and sustainability make him a fit to help build LishaBora’s vision.
Elizabeth Magnussen holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (Hons., 2010) degree and a Bachelor of Engineering degree (2012) from the University of Saskatchewan. Since graduating, she has worked in the agricultural industry with Agrium Inc. in Alberta, Canada. She is a recent addition to the team and will support LishaBora's work over the next five months as Agrium Inc. and Engineers Without Borders have partnered together to support LishaBora. She has four years of work experience in technical engineering work and is now applying her skillset to optimize yield of fodder produced and will work directly with farmers to quantify milk production volume increases.
Ryan Leroux holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Saskatchewan. Since graduating in 2009, he has worked for Schlumberger in Alberta, Canada and then later, in Louisiana, US as a coil-tubing engineer. He comes to LishaBora with an interest for providing support in research and development within the fodder-growth process. During his time in Kenya, he has provided technical support for several projects including the water recycling and filtration project.
Niraj Varia holds a degree and First in Class in Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics from Heriot-Watt University and is currently the Investment Director with Novastar Ventures. Having worked in the local market with both Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and TechnoServe, his experience advising social enterprise in Kenya is extensive. Coupled with his work at McKinsey positions him well to be a part of LishaBora. Niraj is our primary advisory and angel investor in the company. Niraj and Graham met at Takamoto Biogas, where Niraj was the Managing Director for two years.
Boldewijn Sloet holds Master of Law Degree from the University of Amsterdam and a degree in Export Marketing from Hogeschool van Amsterdam. He is currently the Managing Director of Crescat Consulting and is the former Director of Africa for Barefoot Power. He is our second primary advisor. Having worked in East Africa with business oriented around social enterprise and smallholder farmers since early 2009, Boldewijn brings both entrepreneurial and corporate experience to the table.
Ester is our first employee and runs our current greenhouse operation. She is also in charge of all the sales and marketing for the product. She manages everything from soaking seeds to harvesting, meeting customers to payment management. Truly an artisan in life, she is also the mother of five and manages her home.
Lucy has also recently joined us. Lucy is usually found sweeping, watering, misting or generally tending to the seeds and the greenhouse. She is a wonderful woman, mother and very good worker too! We are very happy to have her and it has shown in the greenhouse as the quality and consistency of the fodder we are producing has improved a lot!
Bas van der Linden
Bas has a Chemical Engineering degree from TU Eindhoven. He is currently working at Océ, a Cannon Company where he is a Strategy Consultant. Bas has been fundamental in the formation of LishaBora by investing both his time and money in the business. He worked with Graham to get the business started through its first months and continues to be a priceless asset and advisor. Bas has worked with several small business in East Africa to help with both technical problem solving and larger directional work.