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From Enterprising Adventurer to Adventurous Enterprises

By Mariah Grubb | Thu Mar 03 2022
I come from a family of adventurers. They gave me both a passion for new experiences and, from an early age, the privilege and opportunity to travel broadly. It was these adventures to distant lands that brought me close to people.
At five years old, I played with joyful Shuar children on the banks of the Rio Upano in Ecuador and, at eight, sat in a field overnight through an earthquake with frightened families in Turkey. It was experiences like these that showed me that no matter where we are from or what our situation, we have more in common with each other than not. I also came to realize the power of connecting with another human being, of trying to understand each other, and the gift of shared laughter.
Through these adventures, I have learned what it means to be a global citizen and the responsibility that entails. While we are more alike than different, we are not all born into equitable circumstances and provided with the same share of opportunities. These experiences also showed me that we can learn the most when we are willing to step into the unknown, when we are prepared to listen rather than speak, to learn with humility, and laugh at ourselves when we fall down. 
This passion and curiosity has fueled my journey. It has led me down many delightful paths I could never have imagined, and ultimately, brought me here, to RENEW. With all that the world and its people have given me so far, it is my hope to lead a life of empowering others to chase their own adventures and reach for their own dreams, and maybe even fall into a puddle or two and roll out with a smile on their face.
A persistent theme throughout my endeavors to address inequities is the limitations imposed by lack of capital, whether that be monetary or human. We can dream as big as we want and work as hard as we can, but without the right resources and support, only a fortunate fraction of us will succeed, no matter our brilliance or drive. Recognizing this led me to the field of impact investing, to put capitalism to work for good.
While in graduate school, I developed a regional expertise and focused my research on Ethiopia and the greater Horn of Africa. Looking beyond the great coffee, phenomenal food, and wonderful people, which is reason enough, I chose this concentration because I truly believe in the country’s potential to be a driving force for economic and political development in the region.
Graduating in the onslaught of the pandemic, I was fortunate to be offered a position at a Europe-based impact investment firm focused on agricultural SMEs in the most underdeveloped countries. This gave me the hands-on impact investing experience I sought but left me yearning to put boots on the ground -  and ideally, breathing in the mountain air of Addis Ababa every morning. 
On a crisp October morning in 2021, this became a reality as I stepped off Ethiopian Flight 575 and took the first deep breath of my next adventure. I haven’t missed a morning buna since.
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. For the latest on investing in Africa, subscribe and follow us at our social links below.

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