This Finnish Entrepreneur And Chocolatier Wants Food Businesses To Be Accountable For Public Health

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Jukka Peltola worked in the gaming industry before launching a food brand. He was busy developing games at Rovio, the powerhouse that created Angry Birds. He had no experience in food nor a co-founder who was steeped in the food business. But he decided to switch gears, leaving behind his gaming days for a chocolate factory. Why such a dramatic career shift?

More companies need to focus on trust and quality ingredients that are good for consumers, not just bottom line economics, he says. Health, not disease is the premise of Goodio, which produces health-conscious snacks and treats, namely raw chocolate bars.

“I was looking at food labels and had a question: “What if there was a food brand you could trust?” he recalls in an phone interview from his Helsinki offices. “It felt a bit crazy, at least for the people around me, since I don’t have an entrepreneurship background in the food business.  But personally I didn’t care, I just had a passion and I thought it might be my advantage to see things outside the box to make the change I felt was so important.”

In 2011, he began tinkering with chocolate. “I rarely ate chocolate because I was interested in sports and keeping fit. I thought it wasn’t good for you. Turns out it can be.” 

As a health food enthusiast, Peltola researched the benefits of cacao — an ingredient that is often overlooked as being gluttonous, not nutritious. Though chocolate sales fetched $98 billion in 2015, they were primarily for the sugary candy type.

Read the full story at Forbes.com.

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YouTuber Niomi Smart Builds An Online Career And A Startup On Wellness and Conscious Living

This YouTuber has amassed 1.6 million subscribers by building a lifestyle that’s balanced, empathetic, and wellness-driven. On a platform that sells quantity over quality, Niomi Smart’s unique brand is as much about giving back as it is about herself.

This month, she released her first book, Eat Smart, a guide to eating well and being fit. Within minutes of the announcement, the book climbed the ranks, becoming #1 on Amazon. (Though it’s only available in the UK and select countries currently).

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Photo Courtesy of Harper Collins UK.

The 24-year-old Brighton-born author tests natural beauty products, shares healthful recipes, runs for charity, and endorses causes on her YouTube channel.  Her most recent video highlighted StandUp Cancer, a UK-based charity, working on cancer research and prevention.  More than just a photo op, Smart’s involvement is seemingly genuine and stems from life experience.  When a friend passed away from skin cancer, Smart was shocked and saddened; she transformed her routine, plunging into a plant-based lifestyle and putting her health first after a few indulgent years at university, snacking on cakes and biscuits.
Read the full story at Forbes.com.

After Pampering Celebs In Hollywood, This Entrepreneur Is Ready To Take On The Goliaths Of Beauty

Celebrities don’t want you to know that they’re using other beauty products than the ones they endorse, Jean Seo, a skin care expert to Hollywood stars, says.

Seo has spent the last decade catering to the who’s who of Beverly Hills with her anti-aging skin care line, Èvoluè.  But now she’s launching a more affordable option, Luè, which is already available on Amazon and her own site.  Made of natural, and often organic ingredients, Seo’s new line is as much a business as it is a defiant gesture to the goliaths of the beauty industry. 

“Skin care in America is really messed up.  These companies have so much money for advertising that they make you think you need all this.  When in reality, it’s just an ugly cycle to get you to buy more and more,” she says.

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Jean Seo of Lue and Evolue, two brands made of natural, organnic ingredients, sourced from around the world.  Photo Courtesy of Subject.

Read the full story on Forbes.com

Does A Higher Minimum Wage Work In All Industries?

Minimum wage increases seem like a great idea unequivocally. But are they truly good for small businesses in all sectors?

Dylan Hull, owner and CEO of Select Home Care, a California-based company that provides private non-medical care to seniors, says no: “I want to be able to pay people more. I really do. But realistically, it’s driving costs up to the point that many senior citizens just cannot afford to have a private caregiver at home anymore.”

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Dylan Hull, CEO of Select Home Care.

Select Home Care opened in 2005. Three years ago, Hull says that a private full-time caregiver would have cost $6,000 a month. Now, it’s in excess of $15,000 a month, making it an elusive reality for most seniors.

What’s causing the price increase, aside from just inflation?

Hourly wages have increased from $8 to $10 (and are on path to go up to $15). In addition, the state passed new legislation requiring caregivers to be paid for sleep time. “That means while the caregiver is sleeping at the residence, you’re paying for him or her,” he says.

Read the full story at Forbes.com

Why The Nordics Are The Best Place To Run A Business And Live

Is Denmark the best place to start and run a business?  A new book argues yes:

“When the World Bank ranks countries on ease of doing business, based on criteria such as starting a company, dealing with construction permits, getting credit, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, or paying taxes, the Nordic countries consistently rank among the most business-friendly nations in the world.  In fact, on those criteria, American entrepreneurs would be better off in Denmark, which scored higher than the US in the 2015 ranking.”

Finnish journalist Anu Partanen is the author of the newly released, “The Nordic Theory of Everything – In Search Of A Better Life,” which compares life in Nordic nations (Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway) to the US.  Love brought Partanen to the United States 8 years ago.  As s a freelance journalist in the States, Partanen is self-employed.  “I know the American tax code well now and it’s not easy to navigate,” she jokes.

Her book is an effort to get Americans to consider an alternative model, particularly for business and work-life balance:  “For many people, it seems to be an either-or debate of capitalism versus socialism.  But I want readers to see that Nordic life does celebrate the individual, and encourage money-making. It’s also a capitalistic system, centered around innovation,” she says, as she drives across the Northwest, from Portland to Seattle promoting the book.

Before she sets off driving, I ask her a few questions about the nuances of running a business in the Nordics and why we should look northward for social innovation.

Read the full story at Forbes.com

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New Charity Invites Female Millionaires To Donate — And Get Involved

There’s a lot of talk about helping the girls and women of the developing world, but there’s not a lot of money to back it up.

According to a 2014 report from the United Nations Population Fund, “less than two cents [of] every international development dollar is spent on an adolescent girl.”

The Maverick Collective hopes to change that breakdown. It’s a philanthropic organization that was publicly launched this week at the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen. Its 14 members, all women, have each contributed at least $1 million to fund a specific project in the developing world that tackles a women’s health issue: domestic violence, maternal health, cervical cancer. The goal is to come up with projects that get good results, then build them up to a bigger scale.

And it’s not just about writing a check. Each donor is involved with the project she is sponsoring. The women have traveled to the countries where the project is going on and are tracking its progress.

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The group’s CEO is Kate Roberts, who was a top advertising executive before becoming senior vice president of the nonprofit PSI — Population Services International. The co-chairs are Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, who is also the co-founder, and Melinda Gates. (As our readers may know, the Gates Foundation is a funder of NPR.)

We spoke with Roberts in Copenhagen to learn more about this new organization. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Read the full story on NPR.

Feel Better, Millennials—Matt Damon Says His Generation Was Terrible

Anyone experiencing fatigue over millennial bashing may find actor Matt Damon’s take refreshing.

“My generation had our heads up our own asses. That was Gen X. Today’s generation is so much smarter and interested in fixing these issues,” he told journalists at the Sundance Film Festival this week.

The issue the Bourne Identity actor is interested in is a water crisis that has left 663 million people without access to clean drinking water. Damon spoke of becoming a cofounder in 2009 of Water.org, a nonprofit that delivers microfinance loans to water-deprived communities.

Read the full story at TakePart.com.