Founding Vision Guides Lasting Legacy
5th March 2019 Paul Andrews
Wealmoor is a family owned ethical business specialising in the supply and delivery of fresh exotic fruit and speciality vegetables.
Wealmoor was established in 1973 by Rati Dhanani, a pioneer of export horticulture from Kenya, who identified the potential market for exotics in the UK and the need to expand sources outside of Kenya. They are committed to sustainably ethically sourcing and delivering top quality fresh produce whilst making a positive impact on communities and local environments. We spoke to Leena and Avnish Malde (Executive Chair and CEO) about how the vision of their founder continues to guide them in an increasingly disruptive world.
"We are a global business and we are an agile, entrepreneurial business. I think your values strengthen as time goes on, it doesn't need to change and act as guiding principles"explains Leena Malde, Executive Chair.
Wealmoor has an incredibly strong heritage in terms of what it has done and how it has evolved. It has been built on the vision of its founder to mobilise rural communities in Kenya. The founders spirit continues today and it is incredibly important to Leena and Avnish Malde, that they are immersed in the communities in which they operate in across many different parts of the world.
Avnish tells us, "We’ve done a piece on values recently, to bring them together. Over the years we’ve had values the business is strongly aligned to and now we’ve captured them and we want to make sure everyone is on board." The values of community & environment, entrepreneurial & passionate and empathy & win-win, now help them define the business, in terms of what they do and how they do it.
Values in action
To promote their values they use storytelling and share their own experiences. They also have exchanges where people come from different countries and talk about how their lives have changed since working with Wealmoor. There are still challenges of course, Avnish and Leena recognise they are still learning, as they explain "We’ve got to constantly think about better ways of getting that message across. This includes improving our website, better use of social media, sustainability, and just getting our communications internally more powerful."
Their family values extend across the globe as they work with local farms and communities to achieve sustainable solutions, putting the local environment at the heart of what they do. For Wealmoor, helping over 6,000 small growers to access the UK and international markets means more than supply chain, it’s about helping those communities develop through health and education. As well as supporting individual producers, Wealmoor helps fund a number of projects in Kenya such as a clinic which treats 1,500 patients a month and a school with 8 new classrooms. The Company has just very recently built and opened a school in a small village where it first started farming in The Gambia which will provide education for up to 1,600 pupils from the ages of 6 to 12.
Another great example of their values in action is their Women Empowerment Program in The Gambia. Working closely with the World Bank they have provided the support and infrastructure for over 1,800 woman to increase the number of crops they can grow in a year, helping their incomes rise between five and eight times. Building on their tradition of women growing crops locally they have got them growing high quality crops. This benefits Wealmoor, the communities, and gives the women a livelihood for eight or nine months of the year.
Wealmoor’s commitment to have a positive impact on the communities and environment they work in is an important part of who they are and why they are ready to embrace new technology. Recognising technology is changing the grocery sector; one area of concern is cyber security. Leena tells us, "There is always good in new inventions and technology improvement and we can’t do without it. The big unknown is cyber security."
Another emerging technology impacting their sector is the potential for automation. Wealmoor’s products are fragile and the whole supply chain has to be managed carefully with a lot of human intervention. So while right now the opportunities are not as great as they initially thought, there are still ways to make the entire supply chain more efficient.
Avnish tells us, "Our challenge is to make sure that the entire supply chain from end-to-end is looked at carefully. So we’ve got the most efficient routing of those products without compromising any of the quality. It’s a fine balance to make sure automation or semi-automation is an important element of what we do and deliver across the entire supply chain."
With a clear purpose to ethically and sustainably source and deliver top quality fresh produce, whilst making a positive impact on communities and local environments, Wealmoor’s next generation share the same passion as their founder to build a positive legacy for the communities they serve.
This article featured as part of the 2018 PwC Family Business Survey and has been reproduced with their permission. Find out more about the work they do with family businesses here