Last week, the US State Department brought a group of seven women from the Africa Women’s Entrepreneurship Program on a tour of Bob’s Red Mill. This group, representing Benin, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, and Zambia, was touring around the United States to learn about different industries and how they can improve their businesses at home.
Topics included information on organic growing practices, import/export advice, overcoming social barriers, different packaging options, raising capital and crafting business plans. Each of these women own some type of business including organic farms, beauty products and investment firms, among others. After first visiting several cities on the East Coats, Portland was lucky enough to be asked to host this group and on the list of destinations was Bob’s Red Mill.
On Monday, June 11th, Bob and our Outreach Coordinator, Lori Sobelson, gave these ladies the grand tour of Bob’s Red Mill. Bob inspired these women with his stories of entrepreneurship (all of which you can read in his biography, People before Profit). The group was very interested in learning about his many ups and downs on his path to founding Bob’s Red Mill. Bob entreated them to value their employees and treat them as the very important asset that they are to the success of a company.
Afterwards, they met with our VP of Marketing, Dennis Gilliam to learn a little bit about how we market our products. Dennis taught them that the job of any marketer is to craft a genuine story around their brand. He asked each woman to tell them her story and as they did, you could see their faces light up and the passion each of them had for their business.
Truly, we learned as much from them as they learned from us and we hope to host another such tour in the future.