Jehiel Oliver’s story is not a conventional one. Rising through the ranks to become an accomplished financial analyst, he was nevertheless captivated by the desire to do more meaningful work, eventually switching to microfinancing and consulting to help marginalized communities around the world. Only after spending some time in Afghanistan and South-East Asia, he realized that even microlending institutions avoid people who need their support the most — farmers. Thus an idea for providing an easy access to tractors was born.
Together with a co-founder, Van Jones, Jehiel developed Smart Tractor, an affordable machine with a cloud connectivity. They called themselves Hello Tractor; they focused on Nigeria, a country with a large agricultural sector and critically low mechanization levels. Traditionally, Nigerian farmers have been hiring people from local communities to help cultivate the fields, but rapid urbanization led to fewer available workers and diminishing farmers’ incomes.