Love Grain is an artisan food product line of baking mixes, packaged desserts, savory snacks, cereals and pastas based on the nutrient rich, Ethiopian grain teff, that will simultaneously provide market access to African farmers and nutritious products options to the rapidly growing gluten-free market.
In its pilot stage, Love Grain will enable 30 small-holder Ethiopian farmers from the Becho Waliso Famer’s Cooperative to double the yields and increase the incomes of by 25% by July 2014..
Aleem is a first year MBA and MPA student at MIT Sloan and Harvard Kennedy School where he is focusing on entrepreneurship. Prior to joining Sloan, Aleem worked as a management consultant at L.E.K. and in international development in East Africa. In Kenya, Aleem helped Innovations for Poverty Action scale-up a drinking water safety technology to reach 400,000 people. Most recently, Aleem provided analytical and implementation support to the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency to provide three million farmers with yield-increasing technologies. Aleem holds a B.A. in Political Science from Haverford College. His favorite activity is cooking spicy foods and his favorite Love Grain product is Nutter Butter Cookies for dessert.
Caroline Mauldin is a first year MBA and MPA student at MIT Sloan and Harvard Kennedy School. She is a gluten-free former political appointee at the U.S. Department of State, where she worked extensively with governments and civil society organizations in Africa and Latin America. Caroline has helped launch two ventures in the past five years: the Center for Financial Inclusion and the Open Government Partnership, both of which are still thriving in their respective sectors. She graduated from Tufts in 2005 with a BA in International Relations and Latin American Studies, and her favorite Love Grain product is the Breakfast Baking Mix—because even gluten-free folks shouldn’t have to live without brunch.
Kaia Lai is currently an MBA Candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to Sloan, Kaia worked as the director of marketing communications at Sambazon, a sustainable food and beverage brand. For the past five years, she supported the company’s triple digit growth by leading marketing, digital media, PR, lifestyle marketing, creative processes, sales support and strategic partnership initiatives. In collaboration with the CMO, she spearheaded the successful cross-departmental adoption and implementation of social media as a critical connection point to the company’s most influential retailers and consumers. Kaia holds a BA in International Studies from the University of California, San Diego. She also enjoys surfing the California coast and eating Love Grain Pancakes.
Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency
The Government of Ethiopia established the Agricultural Transformation Agency by Federal Regulation in December 2010 as a catalyst for positive, transformational, and sustainable change. The primary aim of the Agency is to promote agricultural sector transformation by supporting existing structures of government, private sector and other non-governmental partners to address systemic bottlenecks in delivering on a priority national agenda for achieving growth and food security (more info can be found at http://www.ata.gov.et/).
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