In this episode, we speak to two powerhouses in the ready-to-use food industry from Edesia, Navyn Salem, and Maria Kasparian.
Edesia is a unique organization that manufactures specialized ready-to-use foods (RUFs) that treat and prevent malnutrition in the world’s most vulnerable populations. Since its inception in 2010, Edesia has produced and shipped enough food to help transform the lives of nearly 5 million children in 48 countries throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.
Navyn Salem is the Founder and CEO of Edesia. In 2012, Navyn was named New England Business Woman of the Year by Bryant University; received the Roger E. Joseph Prize from Hebrew Union College for being an outstanding humanitarian; was given an honorary doctorate in social sciences from Boston College.
Maria Kasparian has been with Edesia since its inception in February 2009. Previously, Director of Operations, she became the Executive Director in 2015. She is passionate about drawing attention to issues of malnutrition and the life-long, positive impact good nutrition can have in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life.
“[The world] currently creates enough food to feed 10 billion people, but 40% is wasted.”
06:35 – Tell us about Edesia. What was your lightbulb moment?
09:00 – What goes into your products and are they used?
10:45 – Is it true that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are the most important for nutrition?
13:20 – What are some of the signs of malnutrition?
14:53 – Malnutrition has dropped from 5 million to 3 million, but what are you doing about the current famines?
16:16 – Other than money and resources, what needs to be done to change the industry?
20:00 – What were some of the hurdles you faced in starting this business?
22:40 – What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from running a social company?
24:21 – How do you deal with all the tragedy you see?
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[The podcast name 22Lightbulbs is from Chinese numerology where the number 22 serves as the destiny number of individuals who are builders and leaders.]