• Summary

    Enterprise Exploration

    A native Californian, I am an explorer and entrepreneur, searching for opportunities around the globe. My career is in relationship management - corporate advisory and investment. I have roots in Thai Buddhist culture originating from a rice farming family, and view my purpose as building wealth for communities through more integrated development.

  • Experience

    Managing Partner Oct 2016 - Present

    Amani Partners is a boutique Corporate and Shariah Advisory firm based in East Africa. We work with corporates, large family owned businesses, and other clients who require client centric professional advisory services. We have offices or 'boots on the ground' in Mauritius, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya (Q2 2017).


    LinkedIn Twitter

    Founder, Principal Aug 2012 - Present

    Capitol Food Ventures (CFV) is a boutique business advisory firm based in Washington, DC with networks in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Since 2012, we have worked with food and agriculture entrepreneurs - identifying, coaching, developing, and funding promising ventures designed to address local market needs.

    Our services include: market research, strategic business management advice, and micro-investment (seed capital) to foster entrepreneur's development in local markets. Our portfolio consists of small businesses that participate anywhere along the value chain from food production to local packaging and from distribution to marketing and retail.

    I founded Capitol Food Ventures (CFV) in 2012 as a social enterprise to continue my work with small holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. As the Founder and Principal, I have been able to create and manage a portfolio of food enterprise investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. These enterprises require investment, so I have been cultivating investors and new clients (including research institutions) with interests in responsible emerging market agriculture to address their needs. I also consult with investors and entrepreneurs to build local businesses that cater to social, environmental, and financial impact. And I provide advisory services to small business clients such as established caterers, commercial kitchens, beverage manufacturers, small farmers, traders, and importers.


    Analyst, Small & Medium Enterprise Finance Jun 2011 - Aug 2011

    OPIC is a profitable federal agency that offers capital to emerging market businesses who are unable to access private sector financing. I elected to work here so that I could learn about overseas financing of US firms, who the players are, and how the process is administered. While in Washington, DC, I worked in the SME department specifically under the Enterprise Development Network. EDN is a new website platform that links small businesses, lenders, service providers, and public institutions with each other and with investment capital.

    I also conducted due diligence on existing loans under a $100 million trade facility focused on agriculture. In addition, our team developed a loan guarantee program targeting domestic community and regional banks interested in expanding their portfolio overseas and opening up access to credit in the down market.

    The Joshua Foundation

    Program Director, Founder of The Joshua Farm Jun 2006 - Jun 2010

    I was a volunteer grant writer with Joshua since 2003. After touring a Ugandan children's choir in 2004 & 2005 through the Washington Metropolitan area, we raised enough support to initiate a community based project in the rural village of Southern Masaka District in Uganda, East Africa.

    I founded the Joshua Farm and acted as a Program Director, where I was responsible for piloting the project on the ground, establishing a presence in rural communities. With the help of very adventurous locals, I started an office, built & trained a support team, and developed entrepreneurial programming. We coordinated 3 co-ops to connect produce with market, educated farmers on improved farming practices, and bridged the gap between the local health clinics and traditional healers through a natural medicine program. In the end, we created a demonstration farm that provided locals with access to information, innovative farming technology, and farm inputs at low cost.

    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.

    Finance Analyst Mar 2002 - Jun 2006

    RFE/RL, Inc. is a private non-profit international broadcast media entity fully funded by the US government under the State Department and governed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Our mission is to promote democratic values and institutions by reporting the news in countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established; we provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.

    As a Finance Analyst, I supported foreign and domestic treasury management of our $80 million budget. We coordinated 32 offices throughout Eastern Europe, Former Russian States, the Caucus, Central Asia, and the Middle East to ensure financial policies were followed and supported financial procedures in each diverse office location.

    I coordinated our Corporate Financial Audit for 4 years, understanding OMB Circulars (A-110, 122, 133), GAAP, FAR, & Management Objectives. I was a corporate representative to insurance brokers (Marsh), financial auditors (Deloitte, PWC), and banking institutions (Suntrust, PNC). I also managed property & liability insurance for the company.

    InterMedia Survey Institute

    Contract & Budget Analyst Oct 2001 - Mar 2002

    InterMedia is a nonprofit research and evaluation consulting firm with two decades of experience in more than 100 countries. Devoted primarily to supporting global development, InterMedia is based in Washington, D.C., with offices in Nairobi and London. Clients range from U.S., European and United Nations development
    agencies to philanthropic foundations, NGOs and international media.

    InterMedia’s research, typically in about 20 countries a year, spans a wide spectrum, with a focus on strategic guidance for program execution and evaluation of program impact. Key practice areas are: financial inclusion; global health communications; and engaging global publics for conflict resolution, citizen empowerment and advancing democracy.

    Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Center

    Administrative Assistant Jul 1999 - Jul 2001

    With the help of countless volunteers we envisioned, designed, and constructed the first community oriented urban farm in Oak Park, Sacramento by collaborating with the municipality for land, fund raising to institutionalize the effort in the organization, and then organizing dedicated volunteers and community groups so that we had represented fairly those in the neighborhood. We then connected with our shelter next door, developing education and nutrition programs for youth. The intention of the farm was based on Alice Water's Edible Schoolyard and it also featured a space for reflection where we had established a memorial for service leaders.



    I had the distinct pleasure of working with John in the Finance team at RFE/FL, Inc. Besides being a joy to work with, John is a take-charge person who is able to present creative ideas and communicate the benefits. He was able to stReamline our inventory taking process, realize cost benefits and more effective coverage with our company wide insurance program. He successfully coordinated our annual audits with external auditors realizing time and cost efficiency's. Though John was a mid-level personnel, he played an unofficial leadership role due to his natural leadership abilities. I feel his budding leadership abilities will become even more effective as he ascends the corporate ladder. I highly recommeNd John for employment or any future endeavors.


    Felix Laniyan

  • Skills

    Program Design & Management

    Financial Analytics

    Project Management

    Proposal & Business Writing

    Managerial Finance

    Organizational Development

    Business Development

    Business Analytics


    Research & Analysis

  • Education

    The George Washington University - Elliott School of International Affairs

    International Affairs - Development Finance and Agriculture, MA 2011 - 2013

    Innovative Finance for Agriculture, East Africa

    The George Washington University - School of Business

    International Finance & Ethics, MBA 2010 - 2012

    Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy

    Institute for Corporate Responsibility, Global Supply Chains

    University of California, Davis

    Economics, BA 1997 - 1999

    Agriculture Resource Economics, Statistics, Political Science

    De Anza College

    Economics, AA 1995 - 1997

    Economics, Mathematics

  • Honors & Awards

    Pitch George Winner

    Outstanding Graduate Student

  • Monastic Life & Service

    I have ordained, lived, and traveled with Buddhist Monks.  


    Alms Walk


  • Consulting

    The George Washington University, Institute for Corporate Responsibility

    Researcher, Washington, DC, 2011-Present

    • Launched a new research initiative, the Responsible Global Commodities Initiative, which is an educational forum that addresses the challenges and impact associated with global commodities. Explored how agricultural and mineral commodities interrelate between business, policy, and peace.
    • Executive produced a live webcast salon series (dialog) and developed business with cocoa stakeholders (Madecasse, Theo Chocolate, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, Taza, Equal Exchange, COSA) discussing the issues of conflict within the industry, poverty and economic opportunity, impacts of the cocoa industry on society, environment, farmers, and institutions, the economics of farming and manufacturing cocoa, and certification.

    USAID Development Credit Authority

    Research Analyst, Washington, DC, 2012

    • Partnered with USAID’s DCA to identify various agriculture value chains and alternative investment models in East Africa for new business development resulting in extensive research on global commodities and alternative (non-collateralized) financing schemes.

    • Research conducted in the following global commodities: maize, coffee, cocoa, avocados, mango, passion fruit, pineapple, dairy, and trees.


    Facilitator, Uganda, 2009-2010

    • Provided facilitation and coordination support to MACIS in order to build capacity of their community based organization network in areas of organizational management, fundraising, and advocacy.
    • Developed and tested curriculum on 'Principles of Proposal Design & Development'.  
    • Facilitated training to 151 organizations throughout the country of Uganda.
    • Provided technical feedback to 25 organizations submitting proposals to the Ministry of Health for malaria funding.

    USAID President's Malaria Initiative

    Program Manager, West Nile, Uganda 2008-2010

    • Assisted 7 local district governments in the fight against malaria reaching 400,000 beneficiaries.  
    • Established a regional office, hired, trained, and supervised 10 support staff.
    • Project managed a $2 million contract, overseeing project costs and ensuring contract compliance (ADS and OMB Circulars A-122).
    • Coordinated 45 collaborative partnerships in the public and private sectors. 
    • Managed mass distribution of 100,000 mosquito nets into 7 districts.  
    • Developed Program Design, Proposal Writing, & Financial Management Curriculum.  
    • Established regional network of 16 CBO's (community based organizations) in West Nile, Uganda and then facilitated capacity building for all 16.
    • Developed sub-grant management system including financial oversight to 16 partners.  
  • Sustainable & Organic Farm Center

    I helped start a foundation, fund raised, and then built a demonstration site on the shores of Lake Victoria in East Africa. 

    Uganda Land


    Demonstration Farm Center

  • Entrepreneurship

    Having learned from so many peasant farmers in East Africa, I work with local entrepreneurs to build small food enterprises that deliver greater value to farmers as they struggle to survive.  

    The Joshua Farm

    Rakai, Uganda


    An NGO that delivers: 

    • Farm Demonstration

    • Farmer Cooperative Development

    • Sustainable & Organic Agriculture Training

    Kisoboka Tours

    Rakai, Uganda


    An NGO that delivers:

    • Unique Farm Tourism Stays

    • Cultural Education & Preservation

    • Medicinal Foods

    Kisoboka Food Products

    Masaka, Uganda


    A private for profit company that delivers:

    • Coordinating Market for Tropical Fruits

    • Build Farmer Networks

    • Agriculture Training for Farmers

  • Curricula Development

    My first foray into curriculum development was with the University of the District of Columbia in 2003 and it focused on financial literacy for TANF (temporary aid to needy families) recipients.  Since that time, I have developed multiple other curricula, designed educational forum that focuses on the student and learning - over delivering a key message and lecturing.  I enjoy this work and continue to find ways of incorporating more learning based activities into our education pathways.  

  • Research & Media

    As a founding member of the Global Responsible Commodity Initiative - a research program under the Institute for Corporate Responsibility - we focused on the business context of addressing the various challenges faced in the food and agriculture industry.  

    As a founding member of the Global Responsible Commodity Initiative - a research program under the Institute for Corporate Responsibility - we focused on the business context of addressing the various challenges faced in the food and agriculture industry.  

    Above:  Webcast Salon Series I - A Path to Conflict-Free Chocolate?


    See here for a full transcript of Salon I

    See here for a summary


    More info can be found at:  www.conflictfreechocolate.com

    As a founding member of the Global Responsible Commodity Initiative - a research program under the Institute for Corporate Responsibility - we focused on the business context of addressing the various challenges faced in the food and agriculture industry.  

    Above:  Webinar Salon Series II - A Path to Conflict-Free Chocolate?


    See here for full transcript of Salon II

    See here for summary


    Twitter hashtags:  #gwchocolate #cocoanomics


    More info can be found at:  www.conflictfreechocolate.com