Category Archives: dosmargaritas functional foods

Entrepreneurship – the bug that keeps on biting

I started my own business at the tender age of 13. I hired my first employee at the age of 15. I have gone through formal and informal business training. I have taken entrepreneurship courses, spoken to entrepreneurs, competed in business plan competitions and seen all my life’s savings disappear in a matter of a few years.

Entrepreneurship is difficult. I would welcome the opportunity to speak to anyone who tells you differently. Even entrepreneurs who have endless capital to burn still face uncertainty and daily challenges. Owning your own business is an endless challenge, an endless opportunity to improve yourself as well as those around you, and an endless journey that is not guaranteed to end successfully. For entrepreneurs, business is them and they are the business.

I mention that entrepreneurship is the bug that keeps on biting. From the many articles and books on the subject one would concur that entrepreneurship is not an attractive affair. Failure rates are high. Burn out rates are too. Families are torn apart. Yet what is it about entrepreneurship that keep the entrepreneur going despite all adversity?

The answer is complex. Perhaps a common theme in entrepreneurship is the opportunity to make a difference, the opportunity to create a destiny, the opportunity to place your mark upon the world.

Entrepreneurship is a beautiful expression of what it means to be human and to be “creative”. As babies we are born wanting to create. Some people express this through art others hide their impulses in order to fit into stereotypes or expectations that people have of them around them. Entrepreneurship is creation. And I guess that is why we want the bug to keep on biting…so we can continue to have the opportunity to create and make an impact on the world!

EMC

 

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The Power of Belief: Developing a Nutrient Rich Snack Brand

Since 2007, I sit on the board of dmff. The following guest post is written by Juan Almeida, founder of dmff. You can follow him on Twitter @jac2769.

It is an inspiring story about entrepreneurship and persistence. This “social enterprise” has developed a nutrient rich snack brand that has the potential to contribute to economic development in the Andean region and to fixing the global malnutrition problem.

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The Power of Belief: Developing a Nutrient Rich Snack Brand

Our global society faces many problems; one of them – malnutrition – is something that everyone can relate to whether the output is undernourishment or obesity. The World Health Organization predicts that obesity related diseases — diabetes, heart ailments, strokes, kidney failure — are rising fast across the world, and they will be the leading causes of death in all countries, even the poorest, within a couple of years.

While finishing my studies in business, I got this idea in my mind and fire in my heart to be part of a solution; to work with my homeland resources in order to fix the malnutrition problem. I faced major obstacles in developing my food business: outdated paradigms, closed mindedness, corruption and lack of access to capital and markets. With every obstacle I became even more convinced that nutrition – and good nutrition – is relevant to everyone.

A couple of years ago, while in Cologne, Germany (photo) working on our entry strategy to developed markets, an “interested businessman” asked me how I would get funding to accomplish our company’s goals of “developing a highly nutritious, all natural, tasty quinoa bar brand while selling and distributing a snack that has 94% of the micronutrients and macronutrients required by kids ages 5 to 12.” I answered that the right funding will be there in the right moment once an investor recognizes that good nutrition is fundamental to a healthy lifestyle.

Malnutrition continues to be a major problem and the “nutrients for all” community provides a mechanism to raise awareness and implement solutions relating to malnutrition and obesity. If you want to be part of our solution and increase the odds of changing the food system, I humbly ask you to contact us and together we will create a nutrient rich food brand that will bring the benefits of good nutrition to people who need it.

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Good News Stories

Bad news travels faster than good news.
While this seems to be a global truism it is only when living in Latin America that I repeatedly heard this expression.
And it’s unfortunate.
Bad news sells – but I think – and hope – that good news has an equal if not higher probability to “sell” if we give it the opportunity. If we share the stories that inspire rather than just the ones that criticize, I think we could be on to something powerful both for business and for society.
But it takes effort and courage. I recently came across a good news story about one of my companies (link here) but I only saw it a month after it was released.
Being proactive and positive in our communications is a two way street and I think we have just as much a duty to demand good news (and seek it out) as we have in creating it ourselves.
Here’s a great quote from Anne Frank:

Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!

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The Quinoa Grain as a Super Business Connector

quinoa

Those who live in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia know about quinoa. They know about it because they likely had to eat (willingly or unwillingly) quinoa soup or quinoa cakes at some point in their lives. The point is that quinoa – which South Americans see as nutritious and perhaps a little boring – is now making it in the mainstream food market in the US, Canada and EU.

It’s tasty, nutritious and gluten free. It’s fun to cook with. It’s great for your metabolisn. It’s organic.

With an increase in demand the alternative grain is becoming not-so-alternative anymore. 2013 has even been declared “Year of the Quinoa” by the United Nations. And recently the film idea “The Mother Grain” reached its funding goal on Kickstarter.

But what does quinoa have to do with business? More specifically, why does the title to my blog post describe quinoa as connecting business?

Innovation is about making unexpected connections between things. While quinoa may just be a grain it has enormous potential to solve some of the nutritional challenges we will be facing in the foreseeable future. It connects businesses because it is grown by community farmers but, very quickly, reaches a global community of people who love it and value it for its nutritional properties. It sits on high end retailer shelves but also fills the soup bowls of many South Americans.

Quinoa is an ancient alternative “mother grain” in the Andean region (mother in the sense that it is a nourishing grain that bestows great benefits to its users). It connects food, nutrition and metabolism. It also connects communities, families and businesses from Latin America to the world.

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