Published on November 21st, 2017 | by Andrea Bertoli
A Food Business Focused on Community Development: Tea Squares
We’ve launched a new feature here at Important Media that encourages our readers to share their personal sustainability story. You can send in your story to have it featured on one of our sites by filling out the form here. We look forward to hearing from you!
Today we’re featuring the story of Tea Squares, a healthy snack alternative that features my favorite food group: TEA!
|What is your Green Business?|
|TeaSquares are bite-sized snacks infused with the natural energy of tea leaves.|
|Tell us about your company|
|We’re all on the search for healthy foods that provide us energy to support us as we strive to pursue our passions, and TeaSquares is a snack that does just that, without sacrificing good taste!Our focus on good food has brought us closer to the communities we serve. Tea Squares believes that food businesses can play a catalytic role in restoring economic vitality to communities in need.
We provide transformative employment opportunities to young adults from underserved neighborhoods through our Fellowship Program.
|Tell us about your background|
|We are 3 entrepreneurial-minded friends with a common vision for the future.
Jordan was born in Englewood. He studied Architecture at University of Michigan and then got his MBA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he grew active in the business consulting sphere. His mom runs a catering business, and he grew up learning the ins-and-outs of the kitchen!
Adi was born in India, grew up in Singapore, and eventually ended up in a Chicago suburb. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well where he studied Biochemical Engineering, and was an active member of the Illinois Business Consulting program, where he met Jordan. He is now a valuable consultant at a fast-growing international firm in their Chicago HQ.
Alex was born in Belgium, grew up there, and moved to that same Chicago suburb where he met Adi in high school, and then roomed with him through freshman year in college. He left college after creating a tech startup while in school, and has hopped around various technology startups since as a product designer & software engineer.The three of us together work in perfect harmony. Our combined perspective is one we know is rare to find, and we have confidence in our ability to achieve our goals. We couldn’t have done it without the support of friends and family along the entire way, and are excited to see how our community will grow through this venture.
|Tell us about your future|
|We are now in 11 Whole Foods stores and we want to expand many other Whole Foods stores, as well as other Natural Food Stores befitting of our product.We also want to expand out Fellowship Programs relative to the grow of the business and sales. Tea Squares believes that food businesses can play a catalytic role in restoring economic vitality to communities in need. We provide transformative employment opportunities to young adults from underserved neighborhoods through our Fellowship Program.|
|Tell us more about the Fellowship program|
|TeaSquares’ social mission is tied in part to the location of the business: on West 75th Street in Englewood, an almost entirely African-American neighborhood that has struggled mightily with economic decline, population loss and violent crime over the past four decades. Tea Squares is part of a rising effort based on one of the tenets of the Good Food movement: that food businesses can play a catalytic role in restoring economic vitality to struggling communities (both urban and rural).
TeaSquares is launching an on-the-job training program hiring talented young adults with from undeserved neighborhoods. We provide hands on experience across one of three verticals: sales, marketing and operations. At the end of the program, we either hire these young adults or we help them find a job elsewhere. We will hire 2-3 fellows at a time. Fellows will shadow a member of our team and have responsibilities within their vertical. Currently our fellowship program is full for 2017. Please check back for future updates.
|What strategies were most helpful for you as you grew your green business?|
|Networking and outreach to our community. Having a story more about our community efforts as opposed to just offering a new, healthy food product. We are now raising funds on Kickstarter, and we welcome all supporters!
|Where can readers learn more about you?|
|Find Tea Squares on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Share, follow & like to help get the word out to your friends and help us spread our delicious energy snack. Your help will also help us continue to provide mentorship and an entrepreneurial learning experience to youth through our fellowship program.|