Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Today's Profiles in Entrepreneurship: Magatte Wade-Marchand

Today's Profiles in Entrepreneurship takes us halfway across the globe and back again through France, Germany, and the US (Silicon Valley). Fortunately for Magatte Wade-Marchand this story did not begin there, but rather it began at the time and place of her birth in Senegal, West Africa. That's because this Founder and President of Adina Worldbeat Beverages found the inspiration for the business that she founded on a trip back home to Senegal.
So let's see if we can find out how she got there. But first, you may want to go an find your world atlas for this one. Magatte Wade-Marchand's background includes being born and spending part of her childhood in Senegal. Then moving to Germany where she spent the rest of her childhood and school years. That was until she moved to France and earned her MBA there. After earning her MBA in France she moved to the United States. Along the way Ms. Wade-Marchand became an expert at sourcing African products and directly helping farmers in the process. Also notable is the fact that she managed to keep her love for Senegalese juice beverages close to her heart after so many years abroad.

During a visit to her homeland in 2003 Ms. Wade-Marchand an interesting observation. To her dismay the healthy juice drinks that embodied everything that Senegal meant to her had been replaced by their western and carbonated counterparts-soft drinks and colas. This set in motion within Magatte the desire to continue the Senegalese tradition and share it with the world. In doing so, she also hoped to also re-awaken within the people of Senegal the yearning for a beautiful flicker of light that this juice drink embodies-a love for Senegal's culture and traditions. It wasn't long after this that she met Greg Steltenpohl. He was the entrepreneur behind the Odwalla juice empire, which started from humble beginnings as a hand squeezed juice company and later went on to become part of a multi-million dollar deal with Coca Cola Company. After Mr. Steltenpohl's departure from the company that he helped to build he was very reluctant to get involved in an executive capacity in another start up. In fact, this was one of the first things that he told Magatte during their initial conversation. However, after hearing her story he was convinced that he'd found something different. They went on to raise over $1 million in start up capital and have expanded their vision to include "reviving authentic beverages and improving the livelihood of rural communities".

They have been making history every since. Below is an excerpt from their vision page, which can be found on their website:

"In Senegal, beverages like Bissap used to welcome you into every home with warmth and hospitality. When Adina founder Magatte Wade-Marchand returned to her tropical homeland of Senegal, she noticed that something was missing. The juices she loved as a child were being replaced by the trendy soft drinks of the western world. Upon her return to California, she met with Odwalla founder Greg Steltenpohl and vented her frustration over the disappearance of these traditional recipes. Together with Greg's French wife Dominique and a tightly knit group of experienced partners, they decided to dedicate themselves to reviving these authentic beverages and improving the livelihood of rural communities...In Wolof, Senegal's primary indigenous language, Adina means life in its creative and spiritual dimension."

Well, I hope that you enjoyed that you have enjoyed this mini-profile of this driven and innovative entrepreneur and as always I love your comments. But, if you can't comment at this particular time- but would like to let us know that you were here; please sign and View my guestbook


Barsawad said...

Thanks for sharing this. I am still trying to read most of your other interesting and informnative posts; it's my first time here.

Benin "Mwangi" said...


I am happy that you joined us. It's my pleasure, it does my heart well to be able to provide this information, but it's even better hearing from you. So please do me a favor and keep coming back and keep the comments flowing.

Also, do you have an experience doing business in Africa that you'd like to share or do you know someone who does? Please feel free
to let these experiences be known.


t said...

May I also say, Wow! Really inspiring blog. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

I can relate to this... Having come from Kenya, the Coke and other drinks here taste quite different. Food also tastes different. Bread tastes like sponge. Chicken contains lots of fat. Obviously after a while one gets used to it.

It's just like the Florida orange tastes great while some from regions without enough sunshine taste horrible.

私はこれに関連できる... ケニヤ、コークスおよび他から来て別の好みをかなりここに飲む。食糧はまた異なっている味がする。パンはスポンジのように味がする。鶏は脂肪の多くを含んでいる。明らかにしばらくすると1 つはそれに慣れる。 それは大きいフロリダのオレンジ好みのようちょうど間、恐ろしい十分な日光の好みのない地域からのいくつかである。 Joel

Benin "Mwangi" said...

To My Anonymous Guest:

Thank you, yes isn't that funny how even the same product can have so many different flavors each corresponding to it's own geographic location?

I appreciate that observation and hope to see you back again soon.

AfroM said...

Excellent post Benin. I had been thinking of doing something similar and i am so glad that you are doing this! (you do great profiles in entrepreneurship!)
I am tuned in!

Benin "Mwangi" said...


Hi, i am glad that you enjoyed it. yes, i think that you doing something similiar could be very for the cause of entrepreneurship in Africa. I'll be sure to keep my eyes open for your posts!


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