When Umeeda Switlo visited Belize in 2014 on assignment for an international NGO, she immediately fell in love with the Central American Country, its people, and a golden, pungent root spice.
“It was the most beautiful turmeric that I had ever seen in my life,” she recalled. “It was huge and really orangey in colour.”
And when she shook the hand of one of the old Indian turmeric growers, she felt inspired, determined to help him, and other growers reconnect with their culture.
Revered for its medicinal qualities, turmeric is also deeply rooted in Umeeda’s culture. Born in Uganda to a renaissance woman, Umeeda recalls that her mother, Lella (aka Mamajee), raced cars, ran her own Montessori and cooked a mean curry. They fled the war-torn country in the 1970s, arriving in Canada with nothing more than a suitcase and memories.
Their entrepreneurial venture, Naledo Belize, combines Nareena’s name with Toledo, the district in Belize where the turmeric is sourced. The company purchases turmeric directly from local farmers and uses it to manufacture Truly Turmeric the world’s first wild crafted, whole root turmeric paste.
Watch Nareen, Umeeda, and Leon Higinio of Naledo Belize pitch their business idea to secure 75k for 10% business share on Dragon’s Den. Watch the whole nail-biting segment here: https://www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/pitches/truly-turmeric