The Hague-based social entrepreneur positively impacts Ugandan farmers
MARCH 7, 2017
MEET GREEN BANANA:
He was disillusioned by working in international development for years. Then Sean Patrick decided to take matters into his own hands. He took to producing green banana pasta, while positively impacting small-scale farmers in Uganda. The Hague-based social enterprise Green Banana is now a fact.
Ugandan-born Sean Patrick came to The Hague to pursue his Master’s degree in agriculture and environmental studies at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS). After his studies, he worked in the development industry, but was critical of the outcome of conventional aid projects: “What I learned is that most aid projects don’t last beyond their funding period,” Sean says, “It’s not a sustainable way of development.”
BACK TO HIS ROOTS
That’s why Sean wanted to find another way to make an impact. As a child, he grew up in a banana farming family. That’s why he started looking into alternative uses for the green banana. He did some research and discovered that it is possible to make many things from bananas, even pasta. The idea behind his enterprise Green Banana was born.
His company makes nutritious pasta and pizza dough from bananas. It collaborates with Ugandan farmers, while following fair chain principles. Bananas are bought directly from the farmers, so the farmers are guaranteed to receive a fair price. Additionally, Green Banana emphasizes the benefits of ecological farming practices within the farming communities that it works with.
GETTING GREEN BANANA STARTED
To get his company up and running, Sean applied for the Impact Booster program. Impact Booster is an accelerator program focusing on innovative companies that contribute to the improvement of the agricultural industry in emerging countries. Green Banana is one of the startups that were selected to participate in the program.
During five months, Sean learned about how to get his business started. In addition to informative sessions and access to a network of experts, the program also offers funding. Sean invested the funding in his product development: “Product development is the most critical thing when it comes to food. You need to be sure of your product.”