First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Galen Welsch: Fine and fortunate, thanks.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Jibu
Galen Welsch: I co-founded Jibu with my father in 2012 out of my two years with the Peace Corps.
How does Jibu innovate?
Galen Welsch: Jibu has blended a traditional franchise model with SME financing and customer-centered product design innovations. We decentralize the ownership and manufacturing of essential products in emerging markets. Our innovative business model accords us better quality, affordability, and customer service than previously existed.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Galen Welsch: Fortunately, decentralized ownership allows for agile, community-level responses to COVID-19. We have continued serving customers throughout the pandemic and ensure they have access to safe drinking water, LPG, and fortified porridge.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Galen Welsch: We have seen the pandemic as an opportunity to support Jibu communities and deepen our long term relationships. We have donated extensive resources and assistance to our local communities, health workers, and government task forces.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Jibu in the future?
Galen Welsch: Jibu’s goals are global. We believe that every talented, emerging market entrepreneur deserves the opportunity (tools, training, and capitalization) to improve his/her community. We will be on every continent and the majority of emerging market countries in the next ten years.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Galen Welsch: Our competition comes from traditional behemoth companies and informal micro-enterprises. Jibu plays in the middle – giving growth entrepreneurs the big business advantage without losing customer and community intimacy typically only afforded to small businesses.
Your final thoughts
Galen Welsch: Jibu is now fully subscribed to our debt raise but is not yet fully subscribed in equity for the time being.