Anushka Ratnayake of myAgro uses a combination of savings, inputs and training to increase the income of smallholder farmers. As a social entrepreneur, Anushka Ratnayake has seen startup challenges that are not common in other regions. For example, less than a year after launching myAgro, an armed conflict broke out in Mali. A group associated with Al-Qaeda set up a new state in Northern Mali. In response, the French military launched an operation and ousted the rebels. Anushka Ratnayake, the founder of myAgro was an early employee with Kiva. There she learned about the power of microfinance to impact poverty. She also worked with One Acre Fund where her job…Read More
SDG02 – Zero Hunger
These social entrepreneurs are accomplishing Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
Yvette Ondachi uses technology to connect smallholder farmers to markets. Yvette Ondachi is a biochemist. She was a pharmaceutical product manager across several east African countries. “The problem I encountered was, most people couldn’t afford [medicine],” Yvette told me. Even after an experiment in which the company lowered the cost of medications by 75%, many people still could not get access to medicine. “One of the things that propelled me,” Yvette explained, “was watching mothers, helpless as their children suffered from preventable diseases.” She knew she had to do something to make a difference. “Something within me became very restless. I said, ‘I have to do something about this.’” Most…Read More
Smallholder farmers, those with just a few acres of land, produce 80% of the food consumed in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. There are 500 million smallholder farmers worldwide. Esoko is a for-profit social enterprise and technology company that enables smallholder farmers to connect to markets. Farmers can get information on how to best grow their crops, how to deal with pests or to find the best price for their commodities in the local market. As a result of having this information, smallholder farmers can increase their productivity and their income. Farmers can interact with Esoko through SMS, voice messaging, call centers, a web presence and an Android app. Esoko is…Read More
Farmer’s markets play an important role in our food ecosystem. Miriam Haas has been tinkering with the model of the Farmer’s market for more than 25 years. There’s so much to love about Miriam and the story of Down to Earth Markets. We talked about Farmer’s Markets as a tool for economic development, especially in abandoned town centers. Miriam refers to farmer’s markets as local community-scale businesses that sell neighbor to neighbor. We talked about local produce as an alternative to the industrialization of our food. We talked about eating clean, local and organic. I also found it interesting that Down to Earth Markets has found a way to scale…Read More
How Our Inspirational Story Can Keep Us Stuck What happens when our inspirational story keeps us from transformational change? We all have a story. Sometimes those stories hold us back. “I’m not good at math.” “Women aren’t supposed to behave like that.” “It’s too late for me.” Stories can also inspire. They drive our life forward with their narrative. “I’m creating something epic.” “I’m going to help a billion people.” “I overcame adversity to make an impact in the world.” But is it possible that an inspirational story can only take us so far, and, in fact, can become a burden that keeps us from reaching the next level. Maria…Read More
Food Waste is a massive issue. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, or UNEP, about one-third of all food produced worldwide gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems. When converted to calories, about 25% of all calories produced for consumption is never actually eaten. In the US alone, we waste more than 20 pounds of food per month per person. At the same time, millions go hungry. Besides huger and wasted dollars, there are other implications from food waste. Water and energy are also needlessly used in wasted food. Agriculture is the largest user of water globally, accounting for 70% of total water use. Globally food…Read More
Today on the podcast, Social Entrepreneur we meet Dana Frasz of Food Shift. After returning from time volunteering in Mother Teresa’s mission in India, Dana Frasz was shocked to see the amount of food being wasted on her college campus. She founded Empty Bellies, an award-winning system to fight waste and hunger. They collected leftover food from local businesses, campuses and events and donated the food to soup kitchens and communities in need. After graduation, she spent three years at Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs. Eventually, she made her way to the Bay area, where she founded Food Shift. Food Shift is a social enterprise based in…Read More
There’s an old saying that has been attributed at different times to Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln (neither of whom said it. [spp-tweet tweet=”Success is going from failure to failure without losing momentum.”] For any entrepreneur, especially social entrepreneurs, the ability to balance tenacity with humility is key. An entrepreneur listens carefully, designs a minimally viable product, tests it in the marketplace, pivots and then starts again. In this way, we learn quickly and make progress. No one has illustrated this principle better than Curt Bowen. In this interview you’ll hear Curt tell the story of several iterations of Semilla Nueva. They are working on the problem of malnutrition in…Read More
New Year, New You
Hi! I’m Tony Loyd, a former Fortune 500 executive turned podcast host and keynote speaker. Invite me to speak at your event.
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