“Accept to change your plan 360°”, Vishesh Gangaram
Inspired by an initial project created amidst a world pandemic and a national lockdown to provide food to families, Vishesh Gangaram sought to provide a platform where sustainable agriculture and food safety would prevail. His plan was to save 2nd-grade fruits and vegetables from waste, by selling these “safe for consumption” products at cheaper prices for consumption or processing. The impact would have been more affordable consumables for people in the vulnerable community as well as job creation.
Selected to participate in Trampoline’s Impact Accelerator Programme in January 2022, EVERBLOOM was founded by Vishesh Gangaram, an experienced social entrepreneur. However, a few months down the line, the results were astonishing and completely different from the original plan. Discover what Vishesh Gangaram has to share, a few weeks before the official launch!
You are officially launching EVERBLOOM in a few weeks. Was your journey what you expected so far?
I started EVERBLOOM due to my passion for two things: agriculture and helping others. When I discovered Trampoline, I was very happy to find out that I could do both, in a sustainable way, thanks to their Impact Accelerator Programme. Social Entrepreneurship is still very new and unknown in Mauritius and I was glad to be able to work on a business model that would allow EVERBLOOM to be financially viable by selling a solution that would solve a social problem. However, when I started getting more in-depth in my project, along the way, I realised that I had to readjust and made a 360-degree change to my business model.
How did you react to this? How did the Impact Accelerator Programme help you?
I was not expecting to have to radically change my business model after starting the program, but when I realised that I could make a much bigger impact, the decision became easier and the plan even more exciting. I am not the kind of person to quit easily. It is quite impressive how the Impact Accelerator Programme prepares you to be a successful social entrepreneur by guiding you and sharpening your analytical and questioning skills. It’s like a GPS enabling you to reevaluate your route to ensure you reach your destination and avoid taking wrong turns.
How did your mentors and advisors help in the journey?
The mentors are real eye-openers that made me think of things I never questioned before and helped me define a completely different – and much better – approach to achieving my objective. I am now fully confident that I am going in the right direction, and this motivates me.
How is your new project different from what you started up with?
Our initial project is just going to be put on hold for now. Food security is becoming a very important issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Mauritius has to become more resilient in its food production, rely less on imports, and improve the quality of food being produced. The country’s soil is getting very poor and we are well below the minimum amount of organic matter needed in soil, which is 3%. On an environmental level, this is dramatic proof that our soils are being soaked with pesticides and other harmful substances. This not only negatively impacts the quality of food we eat and our health but also has a negative economic impact!
To tackle this problem, we will help people and communities develop sustainable agriculture, and successfully set up and run their own fruit, vegetable, medicinal, or herb gardens in a sustainable way. We will also help those who are practicing monoculture or traditional agriculture shift to a healthier way of planting and growing products that are bio and good for people’s health. This new project will help our soil get more fertile, improve food security and create employment. Our ultimate goal is for everyone to benefit whether it be eating healthy food, improving the quality of the soil, creating jobs, developing new opportunities, and also being aware of the importance of being resilient in our food system. This can be achieved by helping people use land that is either not used or badly used in traditional agriculture to grow crops in a way that is respectful of our environment. Their harvest is for their own consumption and the excess can be sold in their communities or transformed into other products. From individuals, communities, businesses, schools, and hotels to planters, everyone is invited to start growing their sustainable agriculture garden.
What would you say to young social entrepreneurs who also want to launch their enterprise?
Acknowledge that there are uncertainties when starting an enterprise and be willing to pivot. The learning curve to success is steep but there are many lessons learned along the way. New ventures are created out of existing consumer problems, so try your best to be a problem solver and always believe in your own strengths and abilities, no matter what! Despite all the changes I had to make, EVERBLOOM is launching soon and I am extremely proud to present this project that is going to benefit the country and many people. Follow us to find out all about it!
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