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?
Our farmers have identified 2 challenges to scaling QPM: increasing yields and promoting varieties that allow seed saving. In 2014 we’ll continue working with research partners like CIMMYT and the Guatemalan Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology to develop the best high-yielding, open-pollination varieties for Guatemala. We’ll continue working with on-the ground partners like World Food Program and Caritas to disseminate seed, with aims to reach 10,000 farmers over the next 2 years. We believe we have appropriate partnerships with farmers and organizations to lay a foundation for QPM in Guatemala. Prize money will give us resources to experiment with new varieties and the staff required to double our reach next year.
Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?
We seek financial support from a wide range of sources. Foundational grants help pay salaries of required staff to adequately disseminate seed to farmers, and current partnerships with research institutions help offset the cost of seed by providing some of it for free. In the long run project costs will be minimal once farmers have the seed and understand the benefits, as they can save and replant every year.
Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
I helped found Semilla Nueva in 2009. As Executive Director I have been a part of the inaugural Ignite Good class, an Ashoka Emerging Innovator, and a speaker and policy consultant at several conferences in Latin America. My values and dedication have earned mentors and partners from some of the most respected agricultural development organizations including CIMMYT and ICRISAT, whom have all played key roles in this project.