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Meet the Team
GBF's leadership, investment professionals and other staff have a blend of skills that reflect GBF’s approach to investing in emerging markets. We are based at our headquarters in Washington, D.C., and have staff in India, Indonesia, Kenya, and Peru.
Overseeing the staff is a Board of Directors that are active participants in GBF’s planning and development. GBF’s senior advisory group is composed of experienced leaders in the fields of international development, international finance, and academia. The advisory groups help GBF with its oversight and strategy, continually refining and improving its approach.
Headquarters: Washington, DC
New Delhi, India
Harold Rosen is GBF's CEO. In May 2004, Harold founded IFC's Grassroots Business Initiative (GBI), which he managed until 2008, when it was restructured and spun off to become the Grassroots Business Fund (GBF).
Prior to his work with GBI and GBF, Harold worked at with the World Bank Group for over 30 years. He served as an investment officer in IFC's Latin America and Africa Departments; as manager for IFC Financial Planning and Policy; as a member of the task force that started the World Bank Group operations in the former Soviet Union; as manager of IFC’s Asia Department; and as director of IFC’s Central and Southern European Department. He has both funded and managed large IFC investment portfolios and has played a major role in starting IFC’s microfinance and SME activities; this included the creation and management of the Mekong, South Asia and Southeast Europe Small Enterprise Facilities. Harold has helped IFC move into a number of new approaches, geographic markets, products and services. In March 2000, Harold created and served as director of the Small and Medium Enterprise department, a joint IFC/World Bank department. He worked with this group until creating GBI in 2004.
Harold joined the World Bank Group in 1978 through the Young Professionals Program. He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Bob Webster is the Chief Operating Officer for the Grassroots Business Fund, for which he had previously served as a member of its Portfolio Advisory Committee. Prior to joining GBF, Bob was the Executive Vice President at CDC Development Solutions (CDS), a non-profit organization that supports small business growth for economic opportunity in developing markets. In addition to being on its executive team, he was the manager of CDS’ Access to Finance (A2F) practice, for which he conceived and developed an innovative SME risk capital fund management capacity building initiative for Africa. Further, Bob revised and is delivering the investment manager training course for the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and is currently serving on an SME risk capital industry working group to promote investment capital into this space.
After eight years of commercial lending to small businesses in the United States, Bob managed varied economic development projects in Romania, Macedonia, Vietnam, Egypt, and Bangladesh, including an SME private equity fund. Bob began and managed one of SEAF's more successful funds, SEAF/Macedonia, and later served in an executive capacity at SEAF headquarters. He has technical expertise in SME debt and equity financing, value chain development and competitiveness. Bob has both an MBA in finance and a BA in mathematics from Indiana University. He has also completed the Financial Institutions for Private Sector Development Executive Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School and is working toward a Master’s degree in agricultural economics with the University of London.
In 2008, Jaime Ramirez joined as part of the founding team of the Grassroots Business Fund (GBF). Jaime is responsible for managing GBF's investment activities globally, including the delivery of Business Advisory Services. Prior to his current role as Chief Investment Officer, he served as GBF's Portfolio Manager for the Latin America and Asia regions.
Jaime has over 15 years experience in finance, project management, risk analysis and operations consulting in developing countries. He has helped develop GBF's operations, standards and initiatives. Jaime became familiar with high impact businesses as a business associate for Gone Rural in the Kingdom of Swaziland, where he supported the management team through an assignment with MBAs Without Borders.
Jaime holds a BSc in Physics from Universidad de los Andes in Colombia, an International MBA from EAE Business School and a specialization in Structured Financial Products from Institut d'Estudis Financers in Spain.
Jaime is fluent in English and Spanish and intermediate in French and Italian. Jaime has lived in Colombia, Peru, Spain, the Kingdom of Swaziland and is currently based in the United States.
Zoya joined GBF in February 2013 as the Portfolio Assistant. While serving as the general HQ liason for the regional investment teams, she also monitors the supervision of GBF's portfolio and manages the client-related metrics and data.
In 2012, Zoya earned a B.A. in Economics and International Development Studies from McGill University. During the course of her studies, she traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, where she participated in a six-month program with the School fro International Training. Over the years, she has conducted research for development-focused ventures in Canada and the US, including for a USAID-funded health program project led by Futures Group, a global health consulting firm based in Washington, DC. At Futures Group, her research centered on understanding the drivers and health dimensions of HIV.
As a Pakistani-American, Zoya spent her childhood in the outskirts of Washington, DC in Maryland. She is conversationally fluent in Urdu and French, and she especially enjoys playing soccer, writing in her spare time, and traveling.
Julio Ayca has been working in the venture capital industry in Central America for 7 years; finding and evaluating potential investments, performing due diligence, and supervising investee companies. Julio is Peruvian, and has an MBA from INCAE Business School. He was an INCAE researcher and has written more than 35 documents, including case studies, technical notes, and papers about functional areas such as Finance, Operations, Strategy, and Marketing and Organisation. His work has been accepted in Revista de Empresa (Finance), Balas 2005 (Finance), the Journal of Business Research (Finance), the European Case Clearing House (Finance and Operations), and Harvard Business Online (Social Responsibility).
Julio has focused on finance, including the valuation of firms, equity investment, capital structure, and financial distress, studying industries such as lodging, banking, oil patch services, and agro-industry in different countries. He has also focused on operations, including manufacturing strategy, process selection, and facility location, studying sectors such as beverages, clothing assembly, and printing.
Before INCAE, he worked in Peru for five years as a Special Analyst for Administrative Management in the National Superintendence of Tax Administration. Prior to that, he worked in Prodin Peruana Inc., a clothing export company, supporting Production Management and Finance Management.
Natasha joined GBF in 2008 as an Investment Officer for the Latin America region. In this capacity, she is responsible for identifying investment opportunities – businesses with the highest potential for financial sustainability and social impact; structuring appropriate forms of financing and capacity building programs for these businesses; managing existing investments; and building relationships with regional and local GBF partners.
Prior to GBF, Natasha worked for two years at IFC’s Grassroots Business Initiative (precursor of GBF), as a consultant for the Latin America and monitoring & evaluation teams. She worked in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia, providing hands-on business strengthening support to clients, and building pipeline and partnerships in the region. Before business school, Natasha worked as Program Coordinator at the Rassias Foundation at Dartmouth College, managing foreign language programs, training language instructors, and teaching Spanish and Russian to adults. She also served as Spanish Faculty at Dartmouth.
Natasha earned her B.A. in economics with a specialization in management and marketing at the International University in Moscow, Russia, where she graduated magna cum laude. She also holds an M.A. in liberal arts with a concentration in Latin American Studies from Dartmouth College; and an M.B.A. from McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.
In her free time, Natasha loves to travel, ski, play tennis, run, and dance salsa; she also enjoys theatre and modern dance, world music and film, and reading.
Allison joined the Grassroots Business Fund (GBF) in 2009 and serves as its Senior Metrics Officer, a role in which she oversees the organization's Impact Planning, Assessment and Learning Framework (iPAL). Prior to joining GBF, Allison worked on monitoring, evaluation, and social performance at the Grameen Foundation and the IRIS Center. She earned her B.A. in economics and a minor in international development and conflict management from the University of Maryland, College Park. She spent two summers in East Africa, first as a volunteer with a juvenile detention center in Moshi,Tanzania, and later as a Political Section intern at the US Embassy in Nairobi.
Allison is also a founder of the DC Time Bank, an alternative currency based on time, and Hub DC, a space and platform for social innovators that is connected to a network of spaces around the world.
Manuel joined GBF in September 2010. His work involves pipeline development, conducting due diligence, building client relationships and portfolio supervision - including financial and operational analysis, financial modeling, deal structuring, drafting of legal documents, providing direct business support and co-coordinating technical assistance efforts. Manuel has also developed GBF’s KM program including internal processes for research, compilation and dissemination of knowledge generated by developing KM internal website and Lessons Learned notes.
In addition to his experience at GBF, Manuel’s prior professional experience includes working as an investment consultant for Oxfam UK, as a strategy consultant in financial services strategy and transactions at Deloitte; and internships at Opportunities for the Majority in the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC, and at a microfinance institution in India.
Outside of work, Manuel is a Judge and Mentor at the William James Foundation. He is also an avid reader and a board game aficionado.
Soha joined the Grassroots Business Fund (GBF) in July 2009. After working at GBF’s Headquarters in Washington D.C., Soha relocated to his home country to set up GBF's field office in Nairobi, Kenya.
Soha is responsible for identifying potential investment opportunities in East Africa and undertaking due diligence. This includes structuring, negotiation and the execution of investments. He actively supervises existing investments in the region which includes analyzing company performance and compliance, providing direct business support and co-coordinating technical assistance efforts. Soha also seeks partnership opportunities with various organizations in the region.
Prior to GBF, Soha worked at TechnoServe as a consultant to the Young Women in Enterprise Program, a pilot program that scaled 50 micro-enterprises in the informal settlements of Nairobi. He also worked at the Baha’i World Center in Haifa/Akko, Israel. Soha graduated from Babson College with a concentration in entrepreneurship and strategic management. He was awarded the 2009 Paul F. Greene Telecommunications Award for designing a system that links small-scale farmers to markets.
Sahil joined GBF in January 2012 as a Senior Investment Analyst for the Asia team and is currently based in New Delhi, India. He is responsible for reviewing new investment opportunities, conducting due diligence on potential investments and supporting current investees.
Prior to joining GBF, Sahil spent over three years in the development sector in India: first, he ran a solid waste management pilot project in Mumbai and then worked at Dasra where he was responsible for screening new investments and providing hands-on capacity building support to existing portfolio organizations. He started his career at Deloitte Consulting in Chicago, where he specialized in technology implementations in the telecommunications and retail industries. Sahil graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005.
Alycia Kellman joined GBF in 2009. As Senior Counsel, Alycia provides legal support for the entire scope of GBF activities. She helps to structure investment transactions and drafts all grant, investment, consulting, and cooperation agreements to implement GBF deals. Alycia also serves as GBF’s compliance officer.
Prior to GBF, Alycia was the U.S. Director for the Institute for Democracy in Africa (IDASA), a South African nonprofit that runs democracy and governance programs in over twenty countries on the African continent. Alycia also consulted for FINCA International on microfinance regulatory issues in Amman, Jordan and worked as an international project finance attorney at Dewey & LeBoeuf, LLP.
Alycia holds a law degree from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in human rights and democratization from the University of Witwatersrand, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University. Alycia serves on the boards of Women LEAD, the South Africa-Washington Internship Program (SAWIP), and Friends of IDASA She has lived in Africa, Asia and Europe, and has traveled extensively throughout five continents.
A Fullbright scholar, Yuma joined GBF in June 2012 tasked with building GBF's Indonesia presence: identifying potential high social-impact investments opportunities, undertaking due diligence, structuring and negotiating the deals and seeking opportunities to expand the Jakarta office and partnerships in order to efficiently serve a vast archipelagic country of over 17,000 islands spread over an area half the size of the USA. Prior to GBF, Yuma had garnered valuable experiences with top financial institutions including Citibank, CIMB and Danamon along with practical financial techniques in the real sector with Shell and BP.
He received his academic qualifications in economics and accountancy at Indonesia's leading university, the University of Indonesia, and an MBA in Entrepreneurial Strategy & Finance at McCombs School of Business, the University of Texas at Austin.
Yuma is fluent in Indonesian, English and studying to fluency in classical Arabic. In between his busy schedule, Yuma finds time to satisfy his love for mountain biking, reading Ludwig von Mises, whipping up a foam-garnished espresso or juggling his three children - literally.
Rebekah, GBF's Senior Operations Officer, joined GBF in July 2008. In this capacity, she works with the operations team on financial management, office coordination (both HQ and field) and IT. Rebekah is also part of the BAS team where she is responsible for grant administration, development and evaluation of the program, learning and knowledge sharing. Prior to this role, Rebekah served at GBF as Operations Officer, and concurrently as SME Export Facility Portfolio Analyst and Operations Assistant. Previously she worked for the U.S. Committee for UNDP, where she played an active role in the operations of the organization and new project planning. Rebekah also served as a delegate to the Children and Youth Caucus for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development- 16 through SustainUS.
Rebekah is currently earning her M.B.A. at the University of Maryland. She is a 2008 graduate of American University where she earned a B.A. in International Studies focusing on International Development and International Environmental Politics.
In her free time, Rebekah tries to spend as much time outdoors as possible. She enjoys hiking, camping, running, and traveling to new places to experience the cultures and environments of the world.
Sneha joined GBF in January 2013 as an Investment Officer for the Africa regional team. Sneha is responsible for sourcing and screening investment opportunities, conducting due diligence, building client relationships and supervising existing portfolio companies- including financial and operational analysis, financial modeling, deal structuring, providing direct business support and co-coordinating business advisory efforts.
Prior to GBF, Sneha was an Associate on the Global Equity Sales desk at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London where she provided global investment funds with an advisory service on both their bottom-up stock selection and top-down macro views.
Sneha graduated with a BSc in Business Mathematics & Statistics from the London School of Economics and has earned the CFA qualification while working at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Sneha is originally from India, grew up in Belgium, and is a native English & Gujurati speaker with conversational knowledge of Hindi & French. She enjoys traveling, playing tennis, and reading outside of work.
Eric Meissner joined GBF in October 2011. Based in Washington, DC, Eric supports the Chief Investment Officer, Executive Director and GBF staff in the Supervision process of GBF’s investments. GBF’s innovative use of private sector approaches to human development, and the potential to positively influence traditional development paradigms and theories of change, drew Eric to GBF.
Prior to GBF, Eric worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development and development consulting firms since 1999, both in the field and in Washington, DC, in support of efforts to mitigate the effects of disaster and conflict around the world, including the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and the Balkans. Most recently, Eric was assisting the work of a U.S. Inspector General to research the impact of US-funded reconstruction, stabilization and development programs, and barriers and opportunities to achieving accountability and learning. He has also served as a Knowledge Management advisor to GBF.
Eric earned a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science from Syracuse University, and his M.B.A. from the University of Oxford, where he focused on Social Innovation, Social Finance and Social Entrepreneurship. Outside of work, Eric enjoys time with family and loved ones in the U.S. and Germany after many years overseas.
Lilian Mramba joined GBF in 2011 and is Regional Manager for Africa. Based in Nairobi, she manages the Africa investment portfolio, and is responsible for GBF activities for the region. That includes leading the regional strategy on investment activities, business advisory services, and impact measurement.
Prior to GBF, Lilian was at Moss Adams LLP, the largest independent accounting and consulting firm in the western part of the United States, where she managed large-scale social responsibility audits for publicly-traded companies, and financial audits for social welfare organizations and governmental entities. She also spent time at African Development Bank in Tunis where she worked various investment projects across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Originally from Tanzania, Lilian is a native English and Swahili speaker and has basic knowledge of Spanish and French. She is an avid runner and enjoys traveling and exploring different cultures. Lilian graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Idaho with B.S. in Accounting and Finance, earned an MBA with honors from Thunderbird School of Global Management, and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Wilfred joined GBF in January 2013 as an Investment Officer for the Africa regional team. Wilfred is responsible for sourcing and screening investment opportunities, conducting due diligence, building client relationships, and supervising existing portfolio companies- including financial and operational analysis, financial modeling, deal structuring, providing direct business support and co-coordinating business advisory efforts. Prior to GBF, Wilfred was a Vice President of finance with Citi bank New York working in various functions including treasury, securities operations and credit card finance among others. Prior to Citi he was a finance manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for their East Africa Office.
Wilfred graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts with a BSc degree in finance and management, and earned an MBA from The Ohio State University- Fisher College of Business.
Wilfred is originally from Kenya and is a native English and Swahili speaker. He enjoys playing golf, social volunteerism and advancement, and spending time with his family among other things.
Pranav Nahar is GBF’s Regional Manager for Asia. He is a member of the Management Committee at GBF and its Internal Investment Committee and overseas the Asian Markets including India and Indonesia where GBF has active investments and staff.
Prior to his work at GBF Pranav was an active Impact investor and Entrepreneur. He served as Managing Director at Arctic Holdings & Coach at the Brightest Young Climate & Sustainable Leaders program, an incubation and acceleration program for Impact entrepreneurs. Prior to that as Managing Director at Evolution Markets & as Country Director at EcoSecurities, firms in energy and environment markets. He has invested in and managed transactions over 700m USD in impact investing, social entrepreneurship ventures, climate change & renewable energy. He has originated and structured emission reduction projects and pipelines leading to market leadership positions of the firms and over 80m Euros in cash flow.
He has lived and worked over 14 years in Chennai, Oslo, London, New York, Mumbai , Melbourne & New Delhi where he is currently based. He founded and sold his first venture in Oslo, Norway at 19, and holds an MBA with Deans List Honors & Chevening Scholarship from London Business School as well as a Chazen Fellow at Columbia Business School. He has volunteered with the Big Brother Big Sister & Compeer Initiatives.
He is an ardent Vipassana Meditator. He is passionate about inclusive growth, impact investing and socio-economic development by accelerating entrepreneurial energy. He believes that every individual has the unbridled energy to make a difference and create impact.
Beth joined GBF in September 2012 as the Operations Assistant. She is responsible for front office administration, internal communications, travel support and office management.
Beth earned her Bachelor’s degree in 2012 from American University in Business Administration with a double major in International Development. Impact investing represented the foundation of Beth’s undergraduate studies. Her past experience includes interning for organizations such as Accion International, MicroRate, and United Way of MA Bay and Merrimack Valley. Beth also spent a semester abroad in Paris at the Sorbonne studying French.
She enjoys reading, doing yoga and checking out the art museums around DC.
Rosie joined GBF in June 2010 as the Executive Assistant.
Rosie earned her bachelor's degree from The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, with a regional concentration in Europe/Eurasia and a functional concentration in Conflict & Security. While an undergraduate student, she studied abroad in Granada, Spain and Milan, Italy. Additionally, Rosie interned for the International Child Art Foundation's Art Olympiad and the American Red Cross' Measles Initiative. After graduating, she worked for a small international law firm as a legal assistant before joining the GBF team.
Currently, Rosie is enrolled in the Catholic University of America's School of Architecture and Planning, earning her Masters degree in Urban Planning. She hopes to pursue a career as an urban planner for developing cities.
Shiva joined GBF in January 2010 as a financial analyst for the Asia team and is currently working as an Investment Officer based in New Delhi, India. As an Analyst, he assisted in due diligence of projects and deal structuring as the mezzanine fund was being established in India. Over the past 3 years, he has supported the Asia team's expansion to Indonesia, as well as the supervision of the existing investments across India.
His supervision activities include analyzing company performance and compliance as well as providing business support directly (such as preparing budgets, pricing models) and co-coordinating technical assistance efforts for areas where the team does not have direct expertise. For projects vetted in both India & Indonesia, his work includes working with partners on initial pipeline screening, development product structures & pricing offers for the investment committee and negotiating with prospective clients.
Prior to joining GBF, Shiva interned with a subsidiary of Wyndham Worldwide, John Hancock and InterGlobe, though his most enriching work experience before joining GBF was helping an entrepreneur set up an English language school in Rwanda.
A New Delhi native, Shiva graduated summa cum laude from Babson College with concentrations in Computational Finance and Entrepreneurship in May 2009 where he received the Student Contribution Award and the Sorenson Scholarship for Meritorious Achievement.
Chunchreek has worked for 8 years in Private Equity, Financial Advisory and in Entrepreneurial spaces. He has been involved in strategy development, transaction structuring, investment management, fund vehicle structuring and capital raising exercises. Prior to joining GBF, Chunchreek worked on platform investment strategies in Food & Agri-business sectors. At Duet Group, he was responsible for developing business strategies for new PE Funds focusing on Healthcare and Education industries, in addition to his role as an Investments Associate at the Residential Real Estate Fund. Chunchreek has also run an education company, coaching rural populations in India and was a Consultant at Deloitte's Financial Advisory Services.
He is an Economics graduate and holds a Masters degree in Strategic Management & Planning from Smurfit, UC Dublin. Chunchreek was a scholar from UC Dublin at REIMS, France, and an exchange scholar at Eton College, UK.
Miguel joined Grassroots Business Fund in July 2011 as an investment analyst for GBF’s Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. Miguel supervises existing investments and conducts due diligence on potential transactions.
Prior to joining GBF Miguel was a financial analyst for Banco de Crédito del Peru where he was part of the structuring team which oversees the bank´s funding strategy in the capital markets. Miguel earned his bachelor´s degree in Business from Pacifico University and holds a Specialization in Management and Sustainable Development from ESAN Business School in Peru.
Miguel is fluent in English and Spanish. He enjoys surfing, reading, photography and travel - so far he has visited 15 countries across three continents.
Lara joined GBF in June 2012 as a Technical Assistance officer for the Latin America region. In this role, Lara works with GBF’s portfolio to assess and assist them in management priorities such as financial planning, governance, business strategy, marketing and sales, human resources and social and environmental impact measurement.
Lara joined GBF when she had just graduated from Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where she studied International Relations and Economics with a specialization in Latin America. Prior to starting graduate school, Lara had worked four years for the French multinational company, L’Oreal, in Spain. At L’Oreal she worked first as a finance controller and later as a product manager where she gained experience in business development for SMEs. Lara also has had experience working with development organizations such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Panama, where she worked in the Poverty reduction Unit for Latin America; or the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) where she worked in the SME Socially Responsible Investment department. Lara has also been collaborating for many years with an NGO in India, which first inspired her desire to work in development.
Originally from Spain, Lara loves travelling and has been back-packing in many countries in Asia and Latin America. She also loves any sport related to the sea or the mountains and has recently become a bike-lover.