That change in strategy in 2005/2006 was seminal in the history of both organizations. Aquada became an export-focused company, subsequently evolving into a exciting science-based organization that processes food, produces materials and generates energy (all from local agro-based resources). Vertical Optimization has continued to grow as an enterprise development service provider.
Once we built the systems and platforms that would enable us buy produce from farmers in Africa, convert it to value-added, shelf-stable products, and sell the products in the U.S., it did not take long for people to notice. (This is a problem many organizations have grappled with, with limited success.) Before long we were being approached by public and private companies as well as non-profit entities in many countries, all seeking to walk the same path. The goal was almost always the same - help small businesses to develop their products and processes, and assist them to get their products into the U.S.market. That led to the formation of Export Path™ (our trade development service focused on emerging market entry). Export Path™ has assisted hundreds of micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses in close to a dozen countries seeking to enter the US market, and vice versa.
Subsequent to that, we were engaged by a U.S. government development finance entity (one of a very small number of companies worldwide) to assist with the origination of loans and the extension of development support to micro-enterprises in the countries we serve. That marked the beginning of our capital formation practice. Beyond that, we have worked with commercial and development banks to enable access to capital and productive capacity for small businesses and micro-enterprises.
At our core, we remain a manufacturing enterprise development firm. We remain focused on helping our clients develop, produce and distribute their products (and services, in some cases) to suitable markets. Our goal is to help our clients grow, as we grow. In our line of work, there is no such thing as "success". It is virtually impossible to measure. But we can measure "progress". That is what drives our work in the firm, continuous improvement, and the resultant progress we can deliver to our clients. As our clients progress, so do we.
It would be our privilege to contribute in whatever we can to the progress of your endeavor. Thank you for the interest in our organization.
Founder & Chief Executive Officer