Photo courtesy of Maya French.
Maya French defines herself as a food lover and an adventure seeker. This Chicago-born journalist turned entrepreneur got into the business world with a desire to create and innovate and the goal of giving back to her community. In 2013, Maya cofounded Koia, a plant-based beverage company. Koia began with a nut-based protein shake and today offers 14 products in 3 different product lines. Koia is present in over 7,500 retailers across North America, including Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, and Publix. Koia has been featured in Inc.com and was named one of the 35 black-owned businesses to follow by Cosmopolitan magazine. Maya was featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2019, and today she continues to grow her company and build awareness around plant-based nutrition.
Maya’s story of entrepreneurship began by identifying a market deficiency. When she got into the habit of working out and developed a healthier lifestyle, she could not find any protein shakes for her due to her lactose intolerance. So she decided to create one. She partnered with David Baker and began what later became Koia. After a failed attempt at selling fruit juice in grocery stores, they quickly turned to protein shakes and developed their first nut-based, high-protein, low sugar beverage. Koia’s initial shake was the first of its kind, and today their products are the go-to option for those who want a cleaner, healthier, and nutritious plant-based beverage. Maya’s story is an example of creativity, innovation, and standing for something in the business world.
Learn more about Koia on their website.
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