Aduna, startup from Ghana makes Richard Branson’s ‘Pitch to Rich’ semi finals. Help them win by voting here

Aduna, the Africa-inspired health food brand and social business has beaten 2,500 companies to reach the Final 10 of Virgin’s “Pitch to Rich” competition. The company’s mission is to create demand for natural products from small-scale producers in Africa – starting with baobab. Baobab is a nutrient-dense fruit that is abundant in Ghana’s poverty-stricken Upper East. Aduna needs Ghanaians’ votes to win a GHS1.5m marketing campaign, which they will use to Make Baobab Famous and create sustainable livelihoods for 800,000 households in Northern Ghana. The link to vote is:

Baobab trees are entirely community-owned & wild-harvested. There are 8,000 communities in Northern Ghana alone that can supply baobab fruit from a crop that is so abundant, it goes mainly to waste.

Aduna Co-Founder & MD Andrew Hunt said: “Aduna is already sourcing baobab from 1,100 women in the Upper East, with average annual income increasing from just GHS 50 to GHS 600 – this is transformative. We need Ghanaians to take 10 seconds to vote for us so we can get Richard Branson’s backing to Make Baobab Famous and radically scale-up our work in Ghana.”

Aduna has pioneered a new model for development in rural Africa. Recognising the failure of the traditional aid model where donor-funds are invested in cash-crop “development projects” that ultimately fail due to lack of demand, Aduna focuses on creating a market for existing indigenous species that already grow in abundance. The company invests heavily in marketing to build demand for Africa’s under-utilised natural products then directs that demand to rural producers via its pro-poor supply chain.

Aduna is an Africa-inspired health & beauty brand and social business. Our mission is tocreate demand for exceptional and under-utilised natural products sourced directly from small-scale producers in Africa. Our brand and products breathe the vibrancy of Africa into the daily lives of people all over the world, creating a virtuous circle that feeds significant positive impacts back to the source. Our range of African super-ingredients include Baobab, the vitamin-rich superfruit from the ‘Tree of Life’ and Moringa, the nutrient-dense superleaf of the ‘Miracle Tree’. Available in 100% natural powder format and as delicious raw energy bars made from organic fruit and nuts, Aduna’s super-ingredients help bring out your natural vibrancy. Aduna means ‘life’ or ‘world’ in Wolof, the main local language of Senegal and The Gambia, where Aduna’s founders discovered their passion for Africa. Aduna’s logo is adapted from a Ghanaian Adinkra symbol called ‘Owia Kokroko’ which stands for vitality, renewal, life-giving energy and the power of the sun.

#Voom: Pitch to Rich 2015 is a nationwide competition run by Virgin Media Business to find the country’s most exciting and innovative businesses. Virgin Media Business is offering an unprecedented £1m business accelerator prize fund to support three winning businesses – whether it’s just an idea, a promising start-up or a company with huge growth potential. The competition is the latest Virgin Media Business initiative to support small, growing UK businesses – the disproportionate drivers of the national economy. This has included the introduction of specifically-designed broadband services and the creation of free expert resources to help entrepreneurs make the most of the opportunities created by the digital world