Business ideas from Peru: Antioxidant pills from purple corn

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The product will be called Zea Life and the business plan is to sell it in U.S. natural and organic product. It would start off in Miami.

The group responsible for Zea Life, finalists in the business idea competition Idea Tu Empresa, say they would look to offer farmers above-market prices as suppliers. Fair trade prices (above the current market price of 0.7 soles per kilo) would create a supply-chain relationship that offers access to good agricultural practices, administration and environmental care. “We are also going to incorporate members of the family of the farmers so that they become in charge of the harvesting of the corn,” says Taxa.  “We will look for advice so that they will receive financial support; this way they could increase their production capacity and together they could offer their products to other buyers.

One of the challenges to resolve is that purple corn farmers cultivate on very small parcels of land, and with varying own farming methods. This business plan would require coordinating standardized cultivation methods to ensure sustainable production and quality. “Our challenge is to reach out to them and accomplish that they come together,” Taxa says.

The rest of the process would be outsourced: the extraction of the anthocyianin (converting corn cobs into powder) and the encapsulation.

More details

1.    The antioxidant properties of the anthocyianin of the purple corn have been approved by universities in the USA and Japan.
2.    The recommended consumption is one capsule a day
3.    At the offset, Zea Life hopes to export three million bottles every three months. To avoid a decline they will sell the grains of corns like nourishment for birds and the stems as balanced nourishment for beef cattle.

From farm to export
1.    Transportation of the cobs to the manufacturing plant
2.    Extraction of anthocyanin
3.    Transportation to the laboratory
4.    Encapsulation of the anthocyanin
5.    Transportation to the main plant
6.    Pack and label the product
7.    Export

This business idea was a finalist in the Idea tu Empresa competition, which promotes the sustainable business projects by small-time entrepreneurs. Since 2008 the NGO Technoserve has organized Idea tu Empresa in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Chile. Learn more at technoserve.com and ideatuempresa.org (in Spanish).

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