“Save the world, eat bugs” her card said.
There I was, in The Hague (the city, and not, fortunately, the international criminal court). In front of me were sumptuous trays of lobster and steak and wine, and as I jostled for a seat, I saw an opening and found myself next to what turned out to be two amazing entrepreneurs.
Daniela Arias Rivera and Alejandro Ortega are partners in an impressive Costa Rican venture called CRIC, the Costa Rican Insect Company. As they explained it to me, they are raising crickets and other bugs to create a healthy, sustainable flour and other affordable, high-quality, nutritional food products.
“The environmental benefit of using insects as a source of food has been proven to be not only the option that benefits the most people but also the only option that is scalable and sustainable for the future,” they say.
Apparently, Daniela and Alejandro are not alone; according to PrecisionNutrition.com, edible bugs and insects just might be the future of food.
“Think eating bugs is gross? Think again. A new generation of chefs, farmers, sustainability experts, and adventure eaters is embracing entomophagy (insect-eating).” Why? “Bugs are nutritious and delicious. And more than that, they are a sustainable, ecologically viable food source.”
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I was in The Netherlands, speaking and participating in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. The GES is an amazing event that is put on every year by the U.S. State Department and different host nations. Last year, it was in and with India. Before that, Kenya, and so on. The great idea is to boost entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship around the globe, foster innovation, facilitate funding and relationships, create economic ties and altogether be a beacon of prosperity and ingenuity.
Indeed, if I was to make a word cloud for the event, the top words would be sustainability, opportunity, gender empowerment, climate change, and so on. Those were the issues and solutions and products people were creating. Yes, everyone wanted to make a profit, but that seemed almost secondary to making a difference.
I have been around enough entrepreneurs to know that that is the rule and not the exception. Most entrepreneurs are passionate visionaries who want to change the world, or at least their world, and in the process, plan to make some money. But along with that they will also create great products and services, generate jobs, create a tax base, inspire imitators, and change hearts and minds.
Or, as the famous Apple commercial once put it,
“Here’s to the crazy ones.
“The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
“Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
So kudos to Alejandro and Daniela, and all of the other entrepreneurs out there who are just crazy enough to think they can change the world.
Because, while some might see them as crazy, we see genius.
Steve Strauss is an attorney, popular speaker, and the bestselling author of 17 books, including The Small Business Bible. You can learn more about Steve at MrAllBiz.com, get even more tips at his site TheSelfEmployed, and connect with him on Twitter at @SteveStrauss and on Facebook at TheSelfEmployed.