Roxanne Chelsea Mathurin is a woman on a mission to get people eating and drinking healthy. Since co-founding Vegan Avenue with her husband, Genard, just over two years ago, she’s been making strides by capitalizing on the rich benefits of sea moss.
Vegan Avenue is a small business that currently produces a variety of sea moss drinks, such as Veg Nog, Coco Up, Beet Supreme, and Pump Up, and popsicles. All of the company’s products are plant-based, naturally infused and naturally preserved, thereby ensuring the consumers digest healthy rewards. Vegan Avenue also specializes in catering meals for events upon request.
“Most of our food and drinks are sea moss based,” said Mathurin. “In the future, we hope to introduce a variety of desserts.”
Benefits of sea moss include its higher fiber content than most vegetables, its ability to lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar control, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Sea moss also promotes weight loss, is a good source of iodine, supports gut health, may boost immunity, and can build muscle and aid in workout recovery.
The aim of Vegan Avenue is to reach specific target audiences, namely seniors living with chronic conditions and pregnant women, and people who are into health and fitness. However, most of Vegan Avenue’s customers are women.
“I decided to start my business when I realized that many family members and others had perished and that I also had health issues,” the young entrepreneur stated. “The business was founded on August 2020, and registered in March 2021.”
Through the exposure the company has been receiving through participation in various farmers’ markets and other endeavours, Vegan Avenue has been able to reach regional and international markets.
“Generally, the feedback about our service has been great and encouraging,” Mathurin noted. “However, a dine-in location would be ideal, so we’re working on that for this year. We also want to have our products on local supermarket shelves.”
Speaking to the business’s performance, Mathurin said there have been a few ups and downs, especially during the post-pandemic period. However, with the help of agro-processing markets, there have been some successes.
For example, Vegan Avenue benefits from their relationship with Helen’s Daughters through Mathurin membership with that organization which focuses on women entrepreneurship.
“This allows for discounts and other concessions for the business and also makes me aware of potential avenues that exist for workshops and funding,” she explained.
In November, Mathurin participated in a Business Pitch Competition sponsored by the Taiwanese Embassy and hosted by Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC). She said competition opened her eyes to a lot more that she can do. Nevertheless, the young entrepreneur admits that support from other sources is still lacking.
“Not getting enough support is always a great challenge for any business,” said Mathurin. “From the Government’s standpoint, for example, such assistance is usually limited. So we’ve had some financial setbacks which caused business to be a bit slow. This year, we’re hoping to forge more partnerships to expand our reach. We want to build lives through entrepreneurship.”
For anyone wanting to be an entrepreneur, Mathurin’s advice is simple and straightforward: “I would advise them to not limit themselves. Everything is possible if you put God first. Always believe in yourself first and you will achieve what you envision. The journey is never easy but you need to trust in God and He will lead the way.”
Her husband, Genard, also has some crucial advice: “Faith is nothing without works.”
Vegan Avenue is also soliciting assistance in sourcing a suitable location to house their business and welcomes donations in cash or kind. For more information, call 1 (758) 484 4347.
SOURCE: Vegan Avenue. Headline photo: Roxanne and Genard Mathurin