On Thursday I attended the first in a series of East Bay networking events titled “Locally Inspired“–put on by the Sustainable Business Alliance. The series aims to “inspire and connect independent East Bay businesses & artisans who are passionate about our community & environment”.
We started with a tour of the Mandela Food Co-Op on 7th Street, Oakland, learning about the challenges of launching a small worker-owned business.
The second part of the evening featured Numi Tea founder, Ahmed Rahim, who talked about his business philosophy and the Numi Tea Foundation.
“Heart, creativity and care” were the principles upon which Rahim and his sister established Numi Tea. From humble roots, and an aversion to business “analysis paralysis”, it’s grown into a hugely-profitable global brand.
From principles to product, Numi has stayed true to its core–working with Fair Trade suppliers and programs that benefit communities worldwide.
Throughout his success, Rahim has stayed connected with the company’s Oakland roots. His entrepreneurial ventures– HUB Oakland and “The Grange”–aim to drive impetus in downtown. Keep an eye out for “O” Days (Oaktown days), another initiative supporting change in the community. His objective: to “rebrand” Oakland through positive transformation.
Rahim sees Oakland as a ‘spotlight’ city in America. Its Bay Area location (a cultural melting pot for talent and creativity), its diverse ethnicity and the richness of natural surroundings is unique. Rahim would like to bring more of the “sunshine” into Oakland’s spotlight–and believes in the city’s potential to thrive.
I couldn’t agree more.