• Social Innovation Fellowship


Economics/Development Studies

Award Year 

Boost Juice

Boost Juice is creating a business platform for ethnic minority communities in the Central Highlands through the cultivation of gac fruit— a “super fruit" indigenous to Vietnam. Given the recent boom in the functional beverage market, our venture looks to bring an affordable mixed-fruit gac juice (“Boost Juice”) that serves as a healthy, vitamin-rich beverage to US consumers. The profit generated from selling the product will provide farmers with a sustainable income stream to make a livelihood for themselves. In the long run, we also hope to create a local non-profit organization to advance other social aspects below the national standard, including agricultural sustainability, financial management and education.

I spent the summer of 2013 in Vietnam, first working on a private township development project in Ho Chi Minh City, followed by research in an Ede ethnic minority community in the Central Highlands. The contrast between these two back-to-back experiences slapped me in the face. While private corporations injected US$32 million developing villas and country clubs in the outskirts of the city, displacing indigenous populations in the process, members of the ethnic minority groups still lacked hot water, basic infrastructure, and sanitation. No matter how hard ethnic minority members worked, they remained victims to low and fluctuating prices of agricultural goods, and as a result, were subject to a life of deprivation. 

Boost Juice is a project that stemmed from a conversation with our host mom while we were in the Central Highlands. She approached us with the gac fruit and expressed her desire to be a business woman, to have access to US markets, and to be able to give the best to her 8 children. Reflecting on the opportunities that I have been fortunate enough to be given, it became obvious to me that I had a role to at least try to help her achieve her goal, and to offer her the chance to create a livelihood for herself and her family.