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Building of "Antigua Aduana" in Barranquilla, Colombia.

“La Antigua Aduana” building in Barranquilla, Colombia.


Last week the impact investing community descended on Barranquilla, Colombia to advance the cause of financial inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean at the annual FOROMIC (Microfinance and SME Forum). The city of Barranquilla, humid as its people are warm, hugs the Magdalena River a few hours north of Cartagena on the Caribbean Sea.  

As the evolution from microfinance into financial inclusion continues, this year’s theme “reinventing inclusion” seemed fitting. It weaved its way through panel discussions and presentations focused on the link between the financial sector and the “orange economy” and how it contributes to economic and social development. Orange economy is the term used by the IDB to describe the cultural and creative industries, which include activities such as architecture, audiovisual arts, digital services, fashion, graphic and industrial design, handcrafts, music, and software. In 2015, it generated more than $124 billion in revenues and provided jobs to more than 1.9 million people in the region.  

The president of Colombia, Ivan Duque, set the tone with his remark during the opening plenary session that a country’s most important resource is also limitless: its’ people in all their diversity, creativity, and potential. Duque also emphasized the importance of digital access and high-speed connectivity to continue development at full potential. In line with the “orange economy” theme, one highlight of the event was to learn from Amazon and Facebook speakers about how they are promoting financial inclusion in emerging markets by using innovation to support small, entrepreneurial companies that focus on digital services, design, and software. 

Deetken Impact spent the week meeting dozens of partners and peers. Interesting conversations covering a wide range of topics abounded: one moment we are discussing how to deal with inflation in Argentina; the next we are considering how to approach the emerging middle-class housing issues in Bogota; and later, we are sipping on a Colombian coffee and brainstorming on how to best provide healthcare services in rural Ecuador and Haiti. Needless to say, we left with our pockets full of business cards and our heads full of ideas.  

As always, FOROMIC ended with a closing cocktail and show. Against the backdrop of “El Edificio de la Antigua Aduana” (a cultural centre and library), an infectiously energetic and colorful dance performance started the night. The effect of the performance was to reinforce the sentiment from the opening remarks of the event, that our sector must strive to promote financial inclusion and thereby diversity, creativity, and human potential. We left the city with salsa ringing in our ears along with the feeling of a well-known song: “En Barranquilla me quedo!”, which means “In Barranquilla, I’ll stay!”.


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Andre Powell, Chief Executive Officer at Deetken Impact



With over 20 years of experience, André has a long track record of successfully advising public sector clients on significant private sector transactions, including strategic guidance on funding models, complex procurements, economic development and negotiations. Prior to co-founding The Deetken Group, André was a senior Associate at Booz & Co and an Analyst with Accenture’s strategy and finance practice. André is a seasoned investor having been actively involved in the Deetken Capital Investment Pool since inception. André received a BA from Queen’s University and an MA in Economics from the University of British Columbia.

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Jose Lamyin

Chief Investment Officer

José has extensive experience as a business advisor for clients throughout Canada, Europe and Latin America in mining, telecommunications, and finance. Prior to co-founding The Deetken Group, José worked for Teck Cominco in Peru and Canada and Deutsche Bank in London (UK). José has spearheaded much of the strategic growth of Deetken Asset Management since inception and is currently focused on investment selection.

José received his BS in Engineering from the University of British Columbia and MBA from IESE School of Business (Barcelona). Born in Peru, José is fluent in English and Spanish.

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Alexa Blain

Chief Operating Officer

Alexa brings over 10 years of experience in financial consulting and asset management, with specific expertise in company and investment analysis, business valuation and securities/corporate finance. Prior to joining Deetken, she spent three years with African Alliance, a pan-African financial services group, where she focused on expanding the firm’s retail financial services operations as well as on the origination and negotiation of new capital. In addition, Alexa has six years of asset management experience with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the Macquarie Group and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Alexa is a CFA Charterholder. She has also completed an MA in Financial Economics and an Honours BA in Economics, both at the University of Toronto.

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German Matzumura

Regional Director

German began his banking career in 2006 as an Executive in Banco Financiero’s Personal Banking Division and was then promoted to Branch Manager. In April 2008 he joined Abaco, serving as a Manager of the Regional Division, where has worked in various capacities. In 2013, he was appointed as Head of the Regional Division and in 2016 was appointed as Deputy CEO.


German graduated in Business Administration from the Institute of Business Administration IPAE (Lima, Peru) and holds a Diploma in Marketing & Sales Management at the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola. He also holds an MA in Marketing & Sales Management from the ESIC Business and Marketing School (Spain).


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Carl Black


Carl has over 5 years professional experience successfully working with clients to develop and improve policy, strategy, and operations. He has advised public sector clients and non-profits in Canada and financial services companies in Latin America. Prior to joining The Deetken Group Carl worked at the Bank of Canada, where he focused on issues related to household and business credit. 

Carl completed an Honours BA in Economics at the University of British Columbia. He also holds an MSc in Economics & Development from the University of Oxford, where he earned distinctions in quantitative and development economics.

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Samir Shah

Chief Growth Officer

Samir is a seasoned professional with a 15 year track record of success working with private and public sector organizations in the areas of strategy, business transformation, technology commercialization and financial analysis/due-diligence. Prior to co-founding The Deetken Group, Samir was a senior manager responsible for early stage technology commercialization at BlackBerry and NEC Electronics.

Samir received his BS in Engineering from the University of British Columbia and his MBA (Finance) from Queen’s University.

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Chad has worked as a consultant in business and technology for 20 years – often helping clients with their business transformation initiatives.    He has worked with start-ups, government, and established businesses to further their product and service offerings with a balanced approach.   After pursuing a research degree on leveraging technology for social and economic development; Chad has found a valuable alignment of his background with Deetken’s innovative impact investments.


Chad completed a BS in Engineering from the University of British Columbia and has a MSc with distinction from the University of Manchester (UK).

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