Mami

Mami

Eryan, YemenHelsinki, Finland
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Mami builds bridges between rural coffee farmers in Yemen and food suppliers in Finland through design research and branding. We create communication channels & trading strategies between small-scale farmers and Finnish retailers without intermediaries to make eco-producers' stories more accessible.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Producers and consumers struggle to understand the supply chain of their food. Even organic food does not necessarily tell the story of production or confirm the consumer's conscience's need for sustainability. We work with a Yemeni coffee farmer to create a coffee trading system. Our customers in Finland are people interested in global sustainability and we make organic food production more accessible and understandable by linking people.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Using storytelling and strategic thinking to understand and adapt to modern markets, we enable customers to create a direct link to each other through the organic produce. Consumers will grasp the culture and background of the food they consume while producers are able to see where and how their product is being experienced. At the same time our design research allows our customers to be dynamic and flexible within our era's economic frameworks. Our closest competitors are big food supply chains that sell organic food, both local and imported, as part of their CSR campaign. We add value by shifting the focus from the food itself to the entire ecosystem behind it. We take away the middle man to offer growth to rural co-ops in Yemen.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Abdulrahman is an older gentleman, worried about the future of his country, Yemen, as khat is ruining the environment and people's minds. His family owns small coffee farms and is a community working towards a more sustainable future. Together we learn about sustainable farming methods, about principles of the commons, about a shared identity. We then co-design the community brand and gather local stories before establishing a supply chain to Finland. There customers in responsible coffee shops get to experience the bran with prototypes before the final design and ordering the shipping. The profit encourages Abdulrahman's community to keep growing with the knowledge that in Finland people now share stories of their beautiful Yemeni culture.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our closest competitors are big food supply chains that sell organic food, both local and imported, as part of their CSR campaign. Many time, branding in itself can convince customers to be satisfied with the minimal information or fair trade label they are being presented with. At the same time, major foreign corporates follow a similar path by shipping their produce as exotic imports to fulfill the consumers' need for "adventurous food".
About You
About You
First Name

Nina

Last Name

Martin

About Your Project
Organization Name
Organization Country

, ES, Helsinki

Country where this project is creating social impact

, IB, Eryan

How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

We have long been thinking of addressing Yemen's water challenge by connecting with local communities. This his how our project MAMI - From Chewing to Brewing came into existence. We realised the great challenge of working with farmers to move away from growing, selling and chewing khat to produce and brew coffee, which originates in Yemen. We eventually posted in a student group that we are looking for links to Yemen. It truly was an "Aha!" moment when the first response came from a Yemeni girl whose father grows coffee in the village of Eryan and is looking to ship their organic produce to Finland. Our visions just matched wonderfully and we can't wait to continue this great partnership and visit their farms as soon as possible!

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Sustainable Agriculture, Smallholder Farmers, Supply Chain Micro-entrepreneurs.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

Our paying customers are people in Finland, the country with the highest coffee consumption, who think and act responsibly and enjoy quality coffee. We initially target organic stores and coffee shops to distribute the produce directly to the customers where they can engage with the branding of the product through its packaging, through its experience, through the service of receiving it. Our customers can this way get to know another culture and support Yemen's transition to sustainability.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

As of now we are in direct contact with the farmers in Yemen as well as coffee vendors in Finland and potential investors from the Middle East in order to set up the first design research, innovation and branding as well as prototyping and testing sessions. We are aligning our missions and creating the initial activities, such as field research, skills training, branding workshops and most sustainable ways of importing and feeding back to the community. We have a core team of business and design experts with consultants on topics of sustainability and partners in the trading industries. In the future we will have the first impact through working directly with the community in Yemen as well as presenting our work in Finland and creating a positive perception of Yemen's culture and coffee heritage, which will further motivate the community's efforts.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

We are already looking at other agricultural produce that could fit our model of storytelling through import and design strategy. One key interest is the Salep drink from Turkey, which comes from the endangered local orchid flowers. Through responsibly, sustainable and community-owned farming methods without exploitative traders, these plants can be preserved and communities and culture can be enriched. We also look at expanding within Yemen, by reaching out to other communities through targeted facilitation and training sessions. In Finland we look at scaling up by reaching out to other local markets beyond the basic coffee shops, such as catering, bigger roasteries and special events.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

Our revenue model is manifold. First of all, we will run a physical space for packaging and user experience testing, where products will be sold and workshops will be held. We also charge for strategy design.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

One of our core members has also founded incobeyt, a social enterprise, which increases social mobility within Lebanon and between Lebanon and the Nordics by following a Living Lab methodology to leverage social business model thinking as a transitional tool towards sustainable economies and societies. This is based on mutual learning frameworks.
Almost all of us are graduates from business schools and have vast knowledge on the topic.