Why this Ethiopian staple could be the new quinoa
Ethiopians have been eating teff for around 3,000 years, but it seems to only have been recently picked up by the west. Teff's been dubbed the “new quinoa” and has received celebrity endorsements from the likes of Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow. Who knows – in the future we could see teff becoming a mainstream grain globally. Just in case, we’ve done some research on the stuff. Here are our ten facts about teff:
- Teff is gluten-free
- It boasts 13 percent protein, thus making it an ideal grain for slow release energy
- It’s been estimated that Ethipiopians get two-thirds of their dietary protein from teff
- Teff’s current cost is at around £7 for a bag of flour, although this price my change as popularity grows
- Many Ethiopian runners (take Haile Gebresalassie, for example) credit teff as their secret to success
- In the US, teff sales rose by 58 percent in 2014
- In Ethiopia, teff is mostly eaten in the form of injera, a tart, spongy flatbread that is served with most meals.
- Government restrictions, instituted in 2006, forbid the export of raw teff grain, allowing only shipments of processed teff products. However, restrictions have been partially lifted to meet prevent other countries from dominating the teff market.
- In Ethiopia, teff yields have increased by 50 percent
- Teff can be used to make products such as pancakes, breads, cereals, snack bars
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.