Meet Fanny Fitelli.
Fanny is a Fiji-based trailblazing entrepreneur who took part in our 2019 yher Pacific Islands program.
She believes in a Pacific Islands region where women-led households are not living in poverty and food insecurity. Yet, research shows that in Fiji for every 10 women-led households, 8 of them rely on a singular income source to support their family’s needs, and 60% of these households live in poverty. They rely on welfare assistance and often struggle to cover school fees.
Passionate about solving this problem and empowering women, Fanny created Mama’s Mushrooms, an indoor farming company that focuses on the production of high end, healthy produce like microgreens and edible mushrooms. Fanny trains single mothers in the highly technical process of indoor farming for high end produce. The women are then taught how to replicate the same process in their kitchens and backyards, and can sell their produce to Mama’s mushrooms as a second source of household income, as well as use part of their harvest to cook delicious, nutritious daily meals for their families. This allows single mothers to further invest in their children’s education, health, nutrition and wellbeing.
Mama’s mushrooms buys and collects the produce directly from their small scale women farmers, and then supplies them to individual consumers, restaurants, supermarkets and soon hotels. To be able to offer consistent supply to business customers, Mama’s mushrooms also owns their own farm, where they also train and employ women.
In addition to offering training and employment opportunities, Mama’s Mushrooms also provides psychosocial support for women and girls in Fiji.
Although Fanny had started to work on her venture prior to the yher program, she officially launched Mama’s Mushrooms after our week long accelerator program in August 2019. With the guidance given through the accelerator programme, Fanny has streamlined the enterprise’s model to include a clearer impact view which reflects the work carried out with women farmers. They have built key relationships with government, corporates and international communities, as well as trained 50 women in mushroom farming and supported 12 more women in further technical training.
When I was invited to be part of the yher cohort 2019, I knew very little of what was in store for me but also how it would help our venture. That week took us to a whole new level of understanding about who we were but also what we could potentially become. I was encouraged. And since then yher has continued to support us with mentorship, small grants and connections. We were able to test our systems and processes and are where are now because of this support. Thank you yher for believing in our dream. It is fast becoming a reality.Fanny Fiteli