How a Social Entrepreneur Overcame His ‘Arrogant Failure’ and Won Kudos From Oprah
Monday, October 19, 2015
Lucky Iron Fish, a fast-growing social enterprise in Guelph, Ontario, wants to vanquish iron deficiency, a condition affects almost 3.5 billion people around the world.
It can cause anemia, a failure to thrive in children, cognitive deficiencies, weakness and fatigue, and it’s responsible for a loss of $70 billion of global GDP, the company says.
But the three-year-old business has a solution that’s so simple and effective, it seems too good to be true: Plop a fish-shaped iron ingot into your cooking water for 10 minutes with a little lemon juice; remove the fish, then throw your other ingredients into the pot.
That brief immersion can add 70 micrograms of iron – as much as contained in a chicken breast – to a poor family’s meal, providing 75% of their daily requirement for iron.
Use the fish three times a day in thousands of cooking pots across the developing world, and it might just be possible to overcome one of the world’s most common nutritional deficiencies, according to Lucky Iron Fish’s CEO and founder Gavin Armstrong.
But as many a social entrepreneur has discovered, even when you’ve come up with what looks like the killer solution to a global problem, there are no guarantees of success.
In particular, it’s easy to underestimate how cultural differences can influence the outcome.