Accelerate Sponsors Student Trip To UN General Assembly

September 25, 2017

From September 20th-23rd, Maarouf Barry (BSM ‘20) represented his startup, Eleis Farm, at the African Diaspora Entrepreneur Exposition (ADEEX). The event consisted of 15 elected startups that operate in Africa or have African founders. These 15 startups had the opportunity to present and interact with African Heads of States and their elected officials during the United Nations General Assembly. The objective of the event was to highlight the potential of entrepreneurial activities within the African continent. 

Eleis Farm is a family startup producing, packaging and marketing sustainable palm oil on the north coast of Guinea. Established since 2013, Barry and his team work closely with smallholder farmers in the area, helping them increase their yield while reducing their impact on the environment. During his three days at the UN General Assembly, Barry had the opportunity to bring much needed attention to his business and connect with some key stakeholders in Guinea.

“The best part of the entire experience was when I spoke privately with Guinean President and Chair of the African Union, Alpha Condé. As a Guinean entrepreneur having the opportunity to talk about Eleis Farm and receive positive and motivating feedback was an amazing feeling.”

During his time as a member of the Accelerate team, Barry has taken steps at every turn to grow his network and develop his many projects. In addition to Eleis Farm, he is also a Co-Founder of VariMold, a construction technology startup that designed a machine that molds concrete, amongst other materials, into high complexity shapes. He also worked at MassChallenge as an operations intern this past summer and currently serves as a coach for new Startup Challenge teams. Barry has had many incredible opportunities in a few short years but this particular event was especially humbling and motivating for him.

“I had the opportunity to meet 14 other companies that were considered the best African startups in the USA. They gave me hope as a young social entrepreneur that the venture that I am diving into has the possibility to have an incredible impact on both people and the environment. “

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