JUA Applied sciences CEO Dr. Klein Ileleji was awarded the Nice Lakes Exporter of the Yr from the SBA. (photograph supplied)A Purdue College engineering professor who developed a solar-powered software to assist subsistence farmers protect meals in Africa has been named Indiana and Nice Lakes Area Exporter of the Yr by the U.S. Small Enterprise Administration. Dr. Klein Ileleji, co-founder and chief govt officer of JUA Applied sciences Worldwide, devised a transportable dehydrating system that dries contemporary meals. The Dehytray helps small farmers cut back meals waste in international locations the place refrigeration and storage are restricted, however solar energy is plentiful.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Enterprise, Ileleji defined exports are a fantastic alternative for small enterprise house owners.
“Typically once we consider small companies, we consider a small enterprise simply doing issues right here, simply doing enterprise throughout the states. However fairly just a few of us truly export our merchandise abroad,” Ileleji mentioned.
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The SBA says 96% of the world’s consumers reside exterior the U.S., so exporting is nice alternative for small companies to broaden their income streams. The Indiana SBA presents sources and finance alternatives to assist Hoosier entrepreneurs who wish to reap the benefits of the worldwide alternatives obtainable.
“Entrepreneurs and small companies are elementary to the long run development and sustainability of communities throughout the state,” mentioned David Watkins, state director of the Indiana Small Enterprise Growth Middle and vp of small enterprise for the Indiana Financial Growth Corp.
JTI exports most of its models to non-governmental organizations that help small farmers in sub-Saharan international locations. Ileleji says small and medium-sized farms and meals processors usually throw away extra contemporary crops due to the dearth of storage.
“We’ve all of the logistics corporations to maneuver issues round on this nation, [but] they don’t have the refrigeration programs we’ve got. They don’t have the storage programs we’ve got. So, if farmers can’t go to the market with their produce, all that goes rotten,” Ileleji defined.
Purdue professor Dr. Klein Ileleji, developer of the Dehytray, visits with Dr. Jane Ambuko on the Meals Processing Hub, College of Nairobi, Kenya.Ileleji, who’s a professor with Purdue’s Division Agricultural and Organic Engineering, launched the corporate in 2018 with assist from the Purdue Analysis Basis.
The skilled engineer admits he was a enterprise novice when launching the corporate. He’s needed to study alongside the best way. However he says he acquired loads of assist from the Indiana Small Enterprise Growth Middle and the Indiana District Export Council.
“Our mentors they put us by the export Indiana accelerator program and that’s the place we truly obtained to study the processes of exporting items manufactured within the state,” mentioned Ileleji, who provides the USDA-Nationwide Institute of Meals and Agriculture, and U.S. Company for Worldwide Growth have been essential in opening doorways abroad and offering grants.
“There’s a big export marketplace for American items, that are fairly valued as “good” items, items which might be effectively manufactured, effectively designed, fairly aggressive within the market,” mentioned Ileleji.
Ileleji is happy with the truth that his system is manufactured in Indiana. He says manufacturing of the tools has not been troublesome, however getting it shipped to distant international locations the place farmers may benefit from the expertise is a problem.
“We will solely fill in all probability lower than 10% of inquiries. We get lots of people saying they wish to purchase, however we ship out plenty of replies saying we can not ship to that area but,” mentioned Ileleji.
Ileleji says the system is being shipped to 10 international locations on 4 continents, however usually in small orders. He says the corporate remains to be working in the direction of financial system of scale the place it will probably decrease the worth per unit. However he says the actual problem is transport prices.
“The associated fee to ship is 5 occasions that of the system,” mentioned Ileleji.
Whereas a majority of the models are shipped abroad, Ileleji says he’s found a rising home market.
“We’ve small growers within the U.S. at farmers markets. It’s a rising trade the place folks wish to know the place their farm produce comes from.”
As Ileleji responds to a rising shopper base within the U.S., he says the international market is vital as he continues to assist in the worldwide battle in opposition to meals insecurity.