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Ekaterra | Wild Harvested West African Spices

Out of the wild and into the world - let's build a route to market for the hidden flavor gems of West Africa together.

$12,130
pledged of$13,000 goal
27
26Days Left
Fund it
Campaign Ends on October 31, 2022

Project Description

Ekaterra is a Houston-based company committed to bringing wild harvested indigenous West African spices to the world, that are sustainably and equitably sourced direct-from-origin. Our focus is on building a transparent route to market for these authentic flavors, making them approachable and accessible to culinary adventurers everywhere.  We're also building digital channels to educate people about and immerse them in the world of West African food and food culture.

Ekaterra West African Spices
Ekaterra West African Spices

 

Ekaterra - West African Spices - The Problem is Major
Ekaterra - Industry Stats

Home cooks and chefs alike are demanding more complex flavors and variety, beyond just heat from chilies and basic table condiments (salt & black pepper), when it comes to flavoring food. Additionally, most of the African Diaspora which is over 140 million people strong and majority of whom have ancestral ties to West Africa due to history, have not been privileged to connect to their authentic heritage when it comes to food. 

People are missing out on an entire profile of flavors from West Africa as not a single spice from this region is among the top 10 or even the top 25 most commonly purchased spices among consumers.

Ekaterra West African Spices

 

Unfortunately, spices from this part of the world are; 

  • not well known or easy to find, 
  • not easily accessible, and 
  • not packaged to meet global consumer expectations. 

Ekaterra was founded to solve these problems.

​   ​Ekaterra West African Spices

 

Ekaterra West African Spices
Ekaterra West African Spices

 

Ekaterra solves this problem of access to West African spices by building a direct and transparent route to market for these spices from their source in West Africa to our customers in their kitchens in an approachable and accessible way. Our spices are mostly wild harvested, ethically and sustainably sourced, and processed using centuries old practices of sun drying, shade drying, smoking, roasting, burning and fermenting. 

We already have a portfolio of 24 indigenous spices and spice mixes ready for the market.

Ekaterra West African Spices

 

In getting West African spices on more plates we;

  • work directly with partners in rural areas in Nigeria and Cameroon (to start) to equitably and sustainably source spices when they are in season, process them using traditional centuries-old practices and package them to meet global consumer expectations
  • created an e-commerce store for customers to conveniently discover, explore and shop the range of rare high-quality spices and spice mixes
  • are developing a digital platform to educate customers through rich multimedia content, helping them explore and be inspired by West African ingredients, recipes, and food culture helping them connect to their heritage and satisfy their desire for culinary adventure

We are doing this for everyone who has a desire to explore the food and flavors from West Africa, but also for the African Diaspora as a particular avenue for experiencing the culinary traditions of our ancestors. For many, the pandemic started or reignited the passion for cooking in one’s own kitchen leading foodies, home cooks and chefs alike to journey across the world via plate.

Ekaterra - West African Spices

Born and raised in the UK, and having lived in the USA and Nigeria, I have spent much of my life connecting and reconnecting with my Nigerian heritage, particularly through food. It is from my late mother that I first experienced the flavors of Nigerian food, in our small South London flat in the 70s. It is through my mother’s cooking that I learned about my late grandmother, her recipes and the indigenous spices used to nurture, nourish and heal generations for centuries. As an adult I continue to explore and uncover new flavors as I travel across Nigeria and other parts of West Africa - a journey that’s only just the beginning.

Ekaterra photo collage

I have previous experience building a food & beverage e-commerce company from the ground up, having done so back in Nigeria - one of the most complex, vibrant and diverse countries to do business. I have earned my stripes and gained invaluable experience. Having lived in Nigeria for the last 10 years, I have already developed a supply chain and a network of partnerships to secure these authentic spices so as to get them directly from the source to the market.

As a food content creator and trained chef, I have spent time exploring the flavors of West Africa in-depth - to understand the cuisine and how to apply them in cooking. My background in building a food brand and West African food, along with an over 20 year career in strategy, brand management and marketing, including Google and Deloitte, have prepared me to get these spices into the kitchens of people everywhere.

Ekaterra - West African Spices
Ekaterra West African Spices

Building a direct route to market for West African spices is no small task and it is clear we need your support. We are raising funds here on iFundWomen to grow this business. Here’s what we plan to do with the funds;

Ekaterra Spices - Spend Chart
  • Inventory & Packagingglobal supply chain challenges are real and also, spices are seasonal. We are getting ahead of the game to ensure supplies of product and quality packaging are sorted - these are two important problems we’re solving in the market
  • Marketing & Rich Multimedia Content: to connect, educate and immerse our tribe in the world of West African food and food culture through recipes, stories, interviews and videos that will bring these spices to life in your kitchens
  • Equipment for Local Partners: this equipment will help to improve harvests, storage, processing quality and times for by our partners working in rural areas in Nigeria to get the best spices to you
  • Growing the Team: building a route to market requires some heavy lifting and we need to expand our tiny team to get this amazing work done
  • Working Capital: to keep the lights on
Ekaterra - West African Spices

It is with sincere gratitude that I thank you for supporting us in building this US-based multi-country business. Fulfilling our mission enables more people to connect to the rich food culture of West African countries - all 15 of them! Also, it helps create economic opportunities for our partners in rural parts of the region to earn a higher, more consistent income. Black women still only receive 0.27% of the approximately $272 billion venture dollars in the US, so every penny contributed to this campaign helps to change that narrative. Personally, I’m truly excited to have you join us on this adventure, exploring all these authentic, wild and wonderful spices.

THANK YOU for your contribution!
Ekaterra

 

 

 

Founder, Ekaterra Company, LLC

The Campaign FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I contribute anonymously? 

Absolutely. All you have to do is checkout as guest and use "Anonymous" in the guest name field, type in any password and click return to checkout.

When will the spices be available for purchase on your website?

Spices from your reward and also any pre-orders made directly on our website will be available for delivery at the end of April 2022. Spices are seasonal and our partners are working to get our first batch over to you in time for the grilling season. 

Do you ship outside of the US? 

Yes we do. However, overseas customers should be aware that the customs & excise body in each country may charge you duties separate from what you pay for your reward. 

Is Ekaterra a non-profit or for-profit company?

We are for-profit. However, our goal is to always work towards balancing purpose and profit by ensuring our partners in West Africa earn a livable and consistent income from this business. They work hard. We are just starting up, but we are also seeking to support local BIPOC communities in the Houston, TX area.

Are your spices only for BIPOC communities? 

Not at all. Spices are for everyone who can’t stand bland. Do you add spices when you are cooking? Cool. Ekaterra spices are definitely for you.

What else can I do to support your business? 

We’d appreciate it if you share the campaign link with your network. Purchase spices from ekaterra.com, get cooking and share your feedback. Follow us on social media - Instagram @ekterraco and| TikTok /@ekaterraco

 

 

Ortiz97Designs
08/18/2022
Monetary Contribution
$100
Ngozi Okaro
08/18/2022
Spice Lover
$100
Patrice Davis
07/28/2022
Avid Supporter
$25
Alek omu
07/12/2022
Food Buff
$250
Azara Turaki
06/12/2022
Spice Lover
$100
Ozoz K Sokoh
04/29/2022
Cultural Explorer
$500
Heather Sabotta
04/28/2022
Monetary Contribution
$25
04/28/2022
Monetary Contribution
$40
Kim Clark
04/22/2022
Spice Lover
$100
Uzoigwe
03/28/2022
Monetary Contribution
$350
25.00 USD
Avid Supporter

Thanks for supporting the mission. You'll get a personalized digital thank you card from us.

99 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
50.00 USD
Music Aficionado

Access to our customized Afrobeats Spotify Playlist, because we believe in jamming to good vibes while throwing it down in the kitchen. With this playlist you'll get to explore West Africa through music.

74 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
100.00 USD
Spice Lover

Heading to the market to shop in many parts of West Africa are known as "market runs". With this reward you'll receive a $100 Ekaterra digital gift card to shop on our store to fuel your culinary adventure.

Plus access to our customized Afrobeats Spotify Playlist

 

45 Left
5 Supporters
Select this reward
250.00 USD
Food Buff

Be ready to run to the store to pick up your groceries looking all kinds of vibrant. With this reward you will receive a;

  • Custom Ekaterra t-shirt made locally by one of our partners in Lagos Nigeria
  • Shopping tote for holding all your stuff while running errands that you'll actually want to carry

We'll also give you a shoutout on our Instagram and Facebook pages thanking you for supporting our cause.

35 Left
5 Supporters
Select this reward
500.00 USD
Cultural Explorer

You're ready to explore the food culture of West Africa and we're here for it. With this reward you'll get a;

  • Three-pack of our favorite indigenous spice mixes
  • Custom "ankara" print apron 
  • Ekaterra custom Tote bag that'll make you look fab, while holding all your stuff when you're out running errands
  • Access to a private video showcasing the spices, ways to use them and the stories behind them

 

We'll contact you at the end of the campaign to get your preferred selection of spice mixes and to share the video link.

5 Supporters
Select this reward
1,000.00 USD
Culinary Adventurer

Yay! You’re a culinary adventurer ready to savor the flavors of West Africa. With this reward you will get a;

  • Box of 6 indigenous spice mixes for you to explore flavors from the Motherland in your kitchen
  • Custom “ankara” print apron 
  • Access to a private online cooking video hosted by the founder - Affiong to demo great ways to use your spices

 

We'll contact you at the end of the campaign to get your preferred selection of spice mixes and  information on how to access the demo video.

 

1 Supporter
Select this reward
2,500.00 USD
Regional Champion

You’re a regional champion supporting our mission. Our village people celebrate you! With this reward you will get a curated selection of beautifully handcrafted high-end home and lifestyle items from artisans across West Africa - from Nigeria, to Ghana to Senegal.

 

0 Supporters
Select this reward

Rewards

25.00 USD
Avid Supporter

Thanks for supporting the mission. You'll get a personalized digital thank you card from us.

99 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
50.00 USD
Music Aficionado

Access to our customized Afrobeats Spotify Playlist, because we believe in jamming to good vibes while throwing it down in the kitchen. With this playlist you'll get to explore West Africa through music.

74 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
100.00 USD
Spice Lover

Heading to the market to shop in many parts of West Africa are known as "market runs". With this reward you'll receive a $100 Ekaterra digital gift card to shop on our store to fuel your culinary adventure.

Plus access to our customized Afrobeats Spotify Playlist

 

45 Left
5 Supporters
Select this reward
250.00 USD
Food Buff

Be ready to run to the store to pick up your groceries looking all kinds of vibrant. With this reward you will receive a;

  • Custom Ekaterra t-shirt made locally by one of our partners in Lagos Nigeria
  • Shopping tote for holding all your stuff while running errands that you'll actually want to carry

We'll also give you a shoutout on our Instagram and Facebook pages thanking you for supporting our cause.

35 Left
5 Supporters
Select this reward
500.00 USD
Cultural Explorer

You're ready to explore the food culture of West Africa and we're here for it. With this reward you'll get a;

  • Three-pack of our favorite indigenous spice mixes
  • Custom "ankara" print apron 
  • Ekaterra custom Tote bag that'll make you look fab, while holding all your stuff when you're out running errands
  • Access to a private video showcasing the spices, ways to use them and the stories behind them

 

We'll contact you at the end of the campaign to get your preferred selection of spice mixes and to share the video link.

5 Supporters
Select this reward
1,000.00 USD
Culinary Adventurer

Yay! You’re a culinary adventurer ready to savor the flavors of West Africa. With this reward you will get a;

  • Box of 6 indigenous spice mixes for you to explore flavors from the Motherland in your kitchen
  • Custom “ankara” print apron 
  • Access to a private online cooking video hosted by the founder - Affiong to demo great ways to use your spices

 

We'll contact you at the end of the campaign to get your preferred selection of spice mixes and  information on how to access the demo video.

 

1 Supporter
Select this reward
2,500.00 USD
Regional Champion

You’re a regional champion supporting our mission. Our village people celebrate you! With this reward you will get a curated selection of beautifully handcrafted high-end home and lifestyle items from artisans across West Africa - from Nigeria, to Ghana to Senegal.

 

0 Supporters
Select this reward