In this series, we talk to student and alumni entrepreneurs about how they are making an impact with their startups.
Venture: The Mother Nurture Foundation provides prenatal nutrition and education to underserved communities both domestically and internationally. The foundation’s goal is to eradicate preventable birth defects and childhood illnesses that are linked to poor nutrition.
Founder: Ellie Campion ’19
What was the moment when you had the idea for this startup?
Becoming a mother made me a more compassionate person and gave me the stamina to do more to help others. During my quest to provide the best possible prenatal nutrition for my daughter, I was shocked to learn that 250 million preschool-age children suffer from vitamin A deficiency, which can lead to a range of health complications, including childhood blindness and even death. Poor prenatal health also manifests in other insidious ways such as lower IQ and hearing impairments. My research led me to the conclusion that children in developing countries, as well as in lower socioeconomic groups in the United States, were not given equal footing in life before they were even born. If we want to shape the future into a better place, we need to start at the beginning by supporting mothers and children. All mothers share a unifying desire: to provide the best for their children. I knew I had to help.
What’s the problem you’re trying to solve or the gap that you’re trying to fill?
On the international front, rural communities may not have access to social programs that provide nutritional information or supplies for women, due to their often-remote location. Some foreign governments do not even provide social programs. This is where we step in.
In the U.S., most women in need qualify for social services, but many still fall through the cracks. We provide a backstop for these mothers. Also, some teenage mothers do not understand the importance of prenatal nutrition because they feel healthy themselves. Education is a key supplement to our mission.
What was the most important resource Yale SOM contributed to your startup?
My network. My earliest supporters and sounding boards were my classmates. They helped me refine my business model, practice pitches, brand my social venture, and even put me in touch with my first global partner. David Bach’s course State and Society helped me rethink my value proposition to corporate sponsors. I still have access to Yale’s resources, including our entrepreneurship professors, post-graduation.
What’s the biggest milestone your startup has hit since graduation?
In the five months since I graduated, I moved and gave birth to our second daughter, Lily. Lily’s birth is definitely my biggest accomplishment post-graduation, and it further affirmed my passion to reach all mothers in need of better prenatal nutrition.
We recently partnered with vitamin startup MamaNatal. They understand that supporting a social mission that aligns with their business can be beneficial for everyone. They generously agreed to donate 1% of all their sales to Mother Nurture.
We are also continuing to expand domestically and internationally by building partnerships in eastern Europe, western Africa, and East Los Angeles.