Explore Ground Up Nut Butters, a Portland-based venture that empowers women with job training and unique flavors, blending business with social impact.
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From Uganda to Portland: The Genesis of a Unique Idea
When Julie Sullivan returned to her hometown, Portland, Oregon, after a two-year stint in Uganda, she brought back more than just memories.
Working with impoverished women in Uganda opened her eyes to the struggles of homeless people back home.
This led to a eureka: a business model that could blend social welfare with entrepreneurship.
Thus, the concept of GROUND-UP NUT BUTTERS was born. “Why couldn’t this program [in Uganda] also work in Portland?” Julie reflected.
She envisioned a project in which creating nut butter could serve dual purposes: imparting job skills and instilling a sense of accomplishment in the women involved.
Launching a Brand with a Heart
In 2016, Julie and Carolyn Cesario, a colleague and nut butter aficionado, co-founded Ground Up.
This was not just another start-up but a venture with a conscience.
Their mission was clear: building a brand more about societal impact than profits alone.
Empowering Women Through Work and Training
The core of Ground Up’s strategy lies in its collaboration with local non-profits.
This alliance focuses on employing women who have faced hardships, allowing them to re-enter the workforce with dignity.
The brand’s job training program is not just about manufacturing nut butter; it includes personal job coaching.
Impressively, over 75 women have graduated from their six to nine-month program, with several climbing the ranks to supervisory roles.
Julie simplifies their approach: “The more jars of nut butter we sell, the more women we can employ.”
Delicious Innovations: Beyond Just Taste
Not only is Ground Up’s social mission noteworthy, but their nut butter is a hit, too.
They have added a twist to the traditional nut butter palate with creative flavors like caramel apple, coconut cardamom, and salted eggnog.
Julie’s commitment to the product is evident. “Almost eight years in, I still have it every morning,” she shares enthusiastically.
In Summary: A Model of Compassionate Business
Ground Up is a glowing example of how business can be a force for good.
It is more than just a company selling nut butter; it is a story of empowerment, skill development, and community building.
Ground Up exemplifies how innovative business ideas can address social challenges effectively.
In Portland, they are not just spreading nut butter; they are spreading hope, one jar and one job at a time.