In this episode, we chatted with Alisa Sydow, professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at ESCP Business School. Alisa is a German researcher, teacher and entrepreneur living in Milan, Italy.
What is Alisa’s story?
After an experience in the corporate world, Alisa decided to pursue a Ph.D. at Università Cattolica in Milan on the subject of entrepreneurship in Africa. After her Ph.D., Alisa knew she didn’t want to leave the university environment, so she applied to teach at ESCP in Turin.
She then started a business with a friend from Argentina based on their shared love of natural products, travelling and discovering authentic products that are made by small family businesses in precisely the same way as they were hundreds of years ago.
In 2017, they founded Nampelka, a startup in the food and beverage space. They began by selling wine from Argentina and then transitioned to selling coffee from Cameroon as well.
What does “Nampelka” mean?
The name comes from the root of a Mapuche word, an ethnic population of the Andes, “Nampëlkafe”, which means “traveler”.
What is Nampelka’s mission?
Their goal is to work with family businesses around the world that make high quality, authentic and sustainable products. Their principles are ethical entrepreneurship and responsible consumption of products, as they want their customers to be conscious about what they are consuming and what it can return to nature.
What is next for Nampelka?
Nampelka is expanding: starting with their desire to help women entrepreneurs in developing economies, they aim to create an international community that connects women entrepreneurs in these countries.
Some advice from Alisa:
- By stepping outside your comfort zone, you will learn what your true interests are;
- Never lose faith in your idea: as long as it is rooted in your true passions, you will be able to achieve your goals.