Palm weevils. To look at, these tiny bugs are relatively unassuming, perhaps even slightly creepy to the insect-adverse. To Mohammed Ashour, however, they are the solution to many of the ills facing the developing world. The humble palm weevil could potentially eradicate world hunger and malnutrition, it could lift whole communities out of poverty, and bring down global C02 levels. For a creature measuring just a few inches in length, that's a lot of power.
"If anything, our business model is too disruptive," says Ashour, who launched Aspire with four fellow MBA students from McGill University. Their aim is to introduce insect farming to countries with an affinity for insect consumption and a lack of access to nutritional sustenance.
Editor's Note: Josh Ruxin is the director of Health Builders, the author of "A Thousand Hills to Heaven" and can frequently be found tweaking recipes and mixing drinks at Heaven Restaurant in Kigali, Rwanda.
After we were married eight years ago, I convinced my wife, Alissa, to leave New York City to move with me to Rwanda.
We both had always wanted to have some impact on health and poverty somewhere on the African continent, and Rwanda was easily our first pick. I had worked in different capacities with the government since the late 1990s, and had been moved by the country's ambition to become the "Singapore of Africa.”
Although reminders of the 1994 genocide were fresh, the country was moving rapidly on its promise to build a new nation. Great public health projects were afoot, and the young president was romancing private investment from all over the world. My wife bravely took the plunge, sight unseen. She expected the worst.
What she saw amazed her: The country was, and is, remarkably clean and safe - well beyond what you would find in other nations on the continent. It was cleaner and safer, day and night, than you’ll find in many parts of New York City. There were no bribes to be paid, construction was happening at a staggering rate and the weather was like Southern California year-round. She set to work with orphans of the genocide, many of whom were in need of scholarships for university education.
What would you do if you had to wait 90 minutes for your pizza to be delivered? Stare out the window with sad, hungry eyes? Call in screaming to cancel your order? Take to Twitter to vent your #waitingforever fury? Or take matters into your hands and launch your own pizza delivery store?
Ritesh Doshi, 32, did the latter.
Back in 2011, Doshi, an investment banker whose career had taken him to London, New York and Amman, returned to his native country Kenya to visit his parents. One night, he and his family decided to order out.
"We had to wait for about 90 minutes for the pizza to be delivered," remembers Doshi. "We then ordered again another night from another place and it took 75 minutes," he adds. "You just couldn't get a decent pizza in a reasonable amount of time. So I thought, you know what, anywhere in the world that I've lived and worked you can get a pizza in 35 minutes - so why not in Nairobi?"