In a small town in Ontario, Canada, magazine editor Shelby Taylor became fascinated with stories about food—how it impacts the environment and health. Fueled by her newfound interest, Ms. Taylor left her corporate job and purchased a local health-food store.
As her store became established, Taylor noticed that many of her customers were struggling to find nutritious yet convenient meals for their families. In customer interviews, she learned that pasta was a parent go-to. However, because pasta is full of empty carbs, she thought there should be an option that’s healthful instead. From that insight,Taylor turned the family favorite into a superfood and Chickapea was born in 2015.
At its core, Chickapea strives to make a positive impact in the community both socially and environmentally. Toward that end, Chickapea dedicates resources to three main efforts: Donating three cents per package sold to feed nutritious meals to children in need both at home and in Los Rios, Ecuador; funding a new school kitchen and garden; and supporting agricultural education for the community in Los Rios.
“One of our guiding principles is that everyone should have access to nutritious food,” Taylor says.
As the company sought to expand, Taylor certified Chickapea with WEConnect International in 2016. She found that sharing experiences with other women-owned businesses helped Chickapea communicate its values and commitment to women and customers. Participating in the organization’s events also led to meetings with a national retailer, who then agreed to stock the product line on their shelves country-wide.
Since then, making decisions based on extensive research and company values, Chickapea now ranks in the top 10% of B Corps worldwide for meeting the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility.
Taylor advises fellow women entrepreneurs to ask for what they want and know their value.
“The investment world comes with some real egos,” she says. “Remember that you are valuable and stay confident in yourself and your ideas. Do what you do best and farm out the rest!”