WHO ARE YOU?
My name is Genevieve Leveille, I am the founder and CEO of AgriLedger.
WHAT did you do ?
In 2015, I got to learn about this new innovation called blockchain. This lead me on a journey of discovery where I started thinking about the possibilities and changes that this new way of doing things could actually change the world. My summer in 2015 was spent collaborating with marvelous individuals in how we could integrate this new technology with digital identities and how it could support a revolution in not only financial services but could create equitabilities for all. This was the start of understanding that I need not always be an Intrapreneur but there were possibilities to use my voice and experience towards a new paradigm shift.
A few months later, a friend approached me to take part in a new venture that was being created around the Distributed Ledger Technology which was aiming to disrupt the technology services by creating a software delivery to support many verticals. I was asked to become the CEO for the entity, and this led me smack into the middle of the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.
HOW did you do it?
The first thing I had to do, was to make sure that my dear husband would be supportive of this change in my direction as it was the beginning of financial uncertainties. It was about taking a plunge and starting to think about how we could educate and excite others toward the journey. At the time, there were probably a few thousands of individuals who understood the new technology, and many were more interested in the coin than in the power of changing how we interacted as a society. Today there are millions that are aware of the “blockchain technology” due to the rise of the bitcoin, but still, many do not have a clear view of how it works. However, we will reach maturity in the technology when people do not care about the plumbing, but the fact that it does provide them with more than just the promise of trust and immutability. We need to affect the current outcomes for trust and or the promises of frictionless transactions for success to be called.
WHEN did you start your company?
I started my company in 2016 after having participated in a hackathon where the challenge was one of using technology to potentially change the lives of millions. I assembled a team made up of former colleagues and got them to give up their Saturday and Sunday for us to work on this new idea. We had been working in banking and delivery of technology solutions for straight thru processing and we felt that this was a great opportunity to ideate and come up with a solution.
Being a certified foodie, I was drawn to use my knowledge and passion towards something that I felt everyone could understand Food! We must all eat to survive, we need not love it, but we must have it. As such, we have seen or experienced what hunger (even when temporary) and food borne illness can do. If we have not seen it first-hand live, we can see what the total lack of food can do to the human body and those horrible pictures when on our screens will affect anyone.
The agricultural ecosystem is one where we can see as a business what can be inequalities in terms of access to markets and access to funding. As per the World Bank and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), about 70% of the world is fed by small holder farmers who are nearly 80% of the farming communities. In the meanwhile, the agricultural industry in the production area only has access to 10% of available funding. In the meanwhile, agriculture does contribute immensely to Greenhouse Gas Emission (GHE) due to the waste that occurs as a result of loss along the whole supply and/value chains. Agriculture globally accounts for 19-25% of GHE which is larger than the transportation industry. A lot of this can be attributed in inefficient use of resources and over production.
WHY are you innovating with this product or service?
Blockchain and/or Distributed Technologies are a great solution to support interactions between parties that due to their alignments may not fully trust in the outcomes. This can be as simple as a farmer / producer that does not have great fate in the equitable distribution to him either now or in the future and takes a calculated risk of taking a discount that can be as much as 60% of local value in order to get cash in hand. This same individual is not able to substantiate his income and as such cannot prove to the bank or the financial services what his revenue is to avail him or herself of a loan.
When we apply the distributed ledger technology, we get a record of transactions and events that cannot be changed and cannot be removed by anyone that is participating in the transaction. It is a co-creation and collaboration effort that allows for everyone to have transparency on what has happened and can also be used as a mechanism to record the effort and contribution of all the participants and reward them as per that effort. This does require orchestration and bringing together a number of parties. It is also imperative to provide everyone a reason for their participation and what is in it for them (WIIFT) and this way assure a better leveling of risks and rewards.
Because the technology supports a one-to-one interaction along with the fractionalization of not only the proceeds but also of the obligation, one can then start layering other disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Add the use of Internet of Things (IoT) and thereby create a rich ecosystem that supports the social aspects of the individuals along with giving them the incentives and rewards for protecting the environment. This can become as much of an unconscious event as one driven by direct purpose.
Our effort also have an opportunity of really shifting the tide for women in the Agricultural sector, according to FAO, women on average make up about 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries and can be much higher than 50% in sub-Saharan Africa and Easter Asia. It is understood that if they were able to access to the same extension services as their male counterparts, they would be able to increase the yields of their farms by 20-30%. By creating a safe and secure way to access markets and financial services, we would not only affect their wellbeing, but also that of their children and families.
WHERE are you from?
I was born in Haiti and lived for many years in the United States of America. For the last decade I have been residing in the United Kingdom and due to my work in Haiti, and the challenges of the COVID Pandemic, I am considering a relocation to the Dominican Republic. One of my passions is traveling and I have been lucky to be able to learn and enjoy many different cultures.
AgriTech / FinTech