Mama’s Mushrooms’ CEO Fanny Fiteli believes in a Pacific Islands region where women-led households are thriving. Yet, research shows that in Fiji for every 10 women-led households, 8 of them rely on a singular income source to support their family’s needs, and 60% of these households live in poverty.
Passionate about solving this problem and empowering women, Fanny created Mama’s Mushrooms, an indoor farming company that focuses on the production of high end, healthy produce and value added food products. Fanny trains single mothers in the highly technical process of indoor farming, which they can do from the comfort of their own home, and then purchases produce from them to sell to both individual and business customers.
At the start of the pandemic, Mama’s Mushrooms saw an increase in the domestic demand for their products, and needed support to respond to this opportunity and grow their business domestically, as well as their impact. This increase in demand resulted from a decrease in imports for similar products, as well as a shift in purchasing behaviour to support local producers.
They knew the opportunity for growth was there, but sought support to respond in a way that was strategic and would help them build their resilience and sustainability in the long term. As part of the program, they received technical support to establish the processes and systems needed to grow their operations and diversify their product range, as well as to develop and deliver a strong domestic marketing campaign. Within weeks, the latter saw them launch two new products and grow their customer base to three new business customers, and 50 individual ones. They were also able to purchase key equipment, which allowed them to increase their resilience in the face of adverse weather events. This included a commercial cooler, which has made a significant difference to their storage and delivery capabilities, allowing them to increase the amount of produce they source and store by 70%, without reaching full capacity, increasing the revenue opportunity for farmers. They have recently secured new land and space to support their growth through 2021.
Funding to invest in human capital as well as to create a cash pool so that they can pay for the produce at the time they source it from the farmers, and replenish the pool at the end of each month after they’ve sold the produce and value-added products to customers.
If you would like to learn more about Mama’s Mushrooms or have any questions, feel free to send us an email.
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