In 2016, Rebecca Scott, Founder of Sustainable Snacks, won the Envolve Award USA, which supports entrepreneurs from underserved communities. In honor of World Food Day, which raises awareness around issues of poverty and hunger, don’t miss this quick read with Scott on food security and creating a health-focused, Bronx-based brand.
Concordia’s Day of Engagement connects the issues discussed during the Annual Summit to high-impact social alliances with one goal: to highlight public-private partnerships in action. This year’s Day of Engagement was co-hosted by Envolve, a nonprofit that connects diverse communities to resources to realize their business goals. Hosted by The Lit Bar, the Bronx’s only Afro-Latina-owned bookstore, the day featured inspiring stories from established and budding entrepreneurs – including the Co-Founder of Ginjan Bros (Ginjan Juice) and Little L’s Artisan All-Meat Dog Treats – both popular immigrant- and locally-owned businesses.
At the Day of Engagement you mentioned how high-quality produce is often grown in The Bronx and shipped out to more affluent areas in the city. In your view, how can small businesses and entrepreneurs make their products more accessible to their communities, while still turning a profit?
Sustainable Snacks is a social enterprise. We did not just consider profit when designing our business plan but, rather, the 3 Ps (People, Planet, Profit). It is 100% possible for entrepreneurs to “do good” and financially sustain their endeavours. In fact, our sustainability mission has helped us close many business deals. Consumers are increasingly interested in the story behind their product (where it was made, where the ingredients were sourced, the business’ social mission) in addition to the product itself. We continue to see more business opportunity by working to sustain the community!
My recommendation for other social entrepreneurs is to start small and ensure the numbers work. For us, this meant starting in our home community, The Bronx, and offering a discounted model that still allows us to break even. As we continue to scale, we will expand to other underserved communities and further reduce our price point — but we cannot make this transition until additional efficiencies are achieved.
Why did you opt to develop a Bronx-based, health-focused brand, in what many would deem an unlikely market?Prior to launching Sustainable Snacks, I worked for public health nutrition programs in The Bronx and Upper Manhattan. At the time, I supported clients on improving their health outcomes by incorporating more whole, plant-based foods into their routine. Part of my role included developing delicious, healthy recipes for my clients and taking them to supermarkets to share best practices for shopping healthy on a budget. I saw over and over again that the community was open to healthy food, so long as it tasted delicious, but the access to nutritious options was limited. We intentionally launched Sustainable Snacks in The Bronx with the aim of making Better for You products available in the community, in addition to distributing our snacks far and wide. We believe healthy food access is a right, not a privilege, and we are committed to continuing to expand our reach in food desert communities as the company grows.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Be nimble! I heard this during an entrepreneurship panel prior to launching and it is truly the most important piece of advice. 10% of business success is rooted in a great product or service; the other 90% depends on the founder’s ability to pivot and problem solve.
About Sustainable Snacks: Sustainable Snacks is on a mission to promote public health by creating 100% plant-based snacks. Learn more at https://sustainablesnacks.co.