The start of South Africa’s truffle industry?
Mpumalanga plantation owner Cameron Anderson has produced what is believed to be South Africa’s first ever commercially produced truffle after nearly a decade of fastidious waiting.
Once Anderson’s specially trained weimaraner discovered the precious fungus it had to be sent to agricultural scientists to be verified and certified as authentic.
He told the Guardian newspaper: “I was elated. The future of the project was hanging by a thread at that point. It’s not assured yet but this motivates you to push a hell of a lot harder.”
This achievement after so much hard work and waiting is not only testament to Anderson and his team, but also to the viability of the future of truffle growing in South Africa.
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Although the answer can only be found in coming years, this discovery raises the question: if South Africa grows its own truffle industry, how will it affect the truffle market in the long run?
Increased availability obviously has the potential to drive truffle prices down, making them less of a luxury item; there is equal chance that production still be limited and will not be sufficient to change the market too drastically.
If an industry does develop, furthermore, then the country could become a truffle hub, serving the high tastes of the rest of the continent and beyond, creating a small but significant number of jobs.
Ultimately, experts will need to see more discoveries of this type in order to make a definitive statement, but this recent growth is certainly very promising and could be the start of something sweet.
[SOURCE: The Guardian]
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.