A Selfless Entrepreneur who Focuses on Sustainability, Nutrition, and Collaboration

Lisa Curtis, CEO of Kuli Kuli Foods

L isa  Curtis is the CEO of Kuli Kuli Foods in Oakland, California, a company that advocates for sustainability and proper nutrition. Curtis was also featured on Forbes 30 Under 30. She partners with local farmers to distribute the versatile moringa plant. I had the opportunity to discuss her entrepreneurial journey and quest to fight malnourishment.

Discovering the moringa plant

When Curtis was in the Peace Corps in Niger, Africa, her vegetarian diet consisted primarily of rice and millet. “I felt like I didn’t have a lot of energy. I was feeling full but not nourished.” This made Curtis realize that “a lot of people in the developing world are filling their stomachs but not necessarily nourishing their bodies.”

“Speak up for the issues that you care about.” - Lisa Curtis Click To Tweet

Curtis found a solution when women at the local community health center suggested trying moringa leaves. She first ate them with a popular West African peanut snack called kuli-kuli, and after consuming this dish, felt rejuvenated. She then wondered why there wasn’t more of a market for this amazing plant.

Expanding the moringa market

Curtis’s exploration of moringa in Niger was cut short when a terrorist attack forced her to evacuate. But after returning to the states, she wanted to give back and continue what she started.

She explained, “I came back to the US at the age of 22 and thought, I’m going to create a market for moringa here.” Now Curtis employs office, field, and sales workers.

Kuli Kuli sells pure moringa that can be sprinkled on anything from guacamole to oatmeal, and the company even has a smoothie line. Curtis talked about the benefits of this sustainable product. For starters, it’s a complete source of protein and natural anti-inflammatory; she even referred to it as “the tree of life.”

“Now that we've figured out the roadmap, we're excited to add a little more fuel to that flame.” - Lisa Curtis Click To Tweet

Future goals for the company

Curtis acknowledges her competition and aims to set the standard for the marketing and production of moringa. “It needs to be grown sustainably and needs to be grown where it benefits the community where it’s stored.” She continues to form valuable partnerships with moringa farmers.

Fighting malnutrition

I asked if Lisa Curtis could make one major impact on the world what would it be? Without hesitation, she answered, “To end malnutrition. In the 21st century, there should not be anyone in this world who does not have nourishing food.” We should all pay attention to this unique entrepreneur’s selfless goal.

“I'm a big believer in the Me Too movement, and the empowerment it has given to so many women.” - Lisa Curtis Click To Tweet

About Lisa Curtis

Lisa Curtis is the Founder & CEO of Kuli Kuli, the first brand to introduce the green superfood moringa to the US market. Lisa founded Kuli Kuli after working with moringa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Lisa has grown Kuli Kuli from a Peace Corps dream into a multi-million dollar social enterprise that sells delicious moringa products in over 6,000 stores. Lisa and Kuli Kuli have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and hundreds of other publications. Prior to Kuli Kuli, Lisa served as the Communications Director at Mosaic where she managed a team of six to grow the company from zero to over $5M invested in solar through Mosaic’s online marketplace. Previously, Lisa wrote political briefings for President Obama in the White House, served as a United Nations Environment Programme Youth Advisor and worked at an impact investment firm in India. She writes for a variety of outlets including Forbes and The Huffington Post. Lisa has been recognized as a StartingBloc Fellow, a Wild Gift Better World Entrepreneur, an Ashoka Emerging Innovator and a Udall Scholar. She was honored as a 30 Under 30 Leader by Forbes, GreenBiz and the University of California. She was also named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 “Top of the Class” for Social Entrepreneurship. Lisa is a frequent speaker at social impact and natural food conferences on topics such as supply chain transparency, building buzz, fundraising and millennial entrepreneurship.

 

Marco LeRoc
Marco LeRoc
Marco LeRoc is a three-time author, an international speaker, an accountability partner and the founder of Marco LeRoc & Co.

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