What is the extent of Eywa’s social impact in Burkina Faso and on what levels it developed?
“Cohesion and trust between people is crucial in those areas. It is impossible to simply export the Western and European way of doing business to Africa with the presumption of getting value without giving it back. Business relations, as all the human ones, take time and patience, especially where trust is built with continuous, personal, and valuable sharing. It is relatively easy to export raw materials from Africa, a completely different story is to establish an activity there, to have a real impact on the life of workers, to enhance and promote the territory. It takes time and effort, but the personal satisfaction you experience is immeasurable. The human ties linking the members of the community are what counts the most for me. With all the activities related to the production, Eywa is able to generate a domino effect of welfare and wellbeing in the community that goes further than the mere payment to suppliers. We give to the workers a purpose, we have an impact on a whole network of families, they gain expertise and we learn every day something new from them.”
Which were the main difficulties that you encountered, how were you able to leverage on them?
“Launching a startup is always an arduous journey, there is no one that can guide you through unexplored roads, no professor will have the answers to all of your doubts. Starting Eywa and bringing our products to Europe we felt like pioneers, the first bringing into this market date and baobab oils. This was both the strength and the weakness of Eywa, because on one side we did not have competitors, on the other we found ourselves in unexplored lands, with no standards and benchmarks, any point of reference for orientations. In these challenges we learned to be like water, and this is something that Africa and its rural communities taught us. Fluidity means to adapt and learn to leverage on the obstacles encountered, acquiring new shapes without interrupting the run and without losing its true essence.”
What can we expect from Eywa in the future?
“Our main objective for the coming years is to keep growing sustainably and to be able to find the right positioning for our company. We will keep transmitting stories through our products, we want to give the right visibility to areas with high potential and at the same time fascinating problems. I love this kind of contradictions, this being the reason why Eywa’s second line will be the Blue Sardinia.
We want to create something that is able to highlight the extraordinary but too often unknown peculiarities of these territories, in order to generate positive impact for communities and the planet and to spread the word about the treasures we have.”