Akron-‐based social entrepreneur outsells his ‘Shark Tank’ pitch
— Evan Delahanty, founder of Peaceful Fruits, made a pitch to ABC’s “Shark Tank” a week ago. While he didn’t receive an investment from the aforementioned sharks, in the week following this national exposure, Peaceful Fruits has received more than 3,000 online orders, totaling to more than $75,000 in sales (which was actually the amount of his pitch). To manage the influx in sales, Peaceful Fruits has created 10 new jobs in Akron for adults with disabilities.
“We’re excited to expand our partnerships here in Akron and introduce ourselves to people across America,” says Delahanty, a client of the Economic & Community Development Institute’s (ECDI) client.
Peaceful Fruits promotes eco-‐friendly development for communities in the Amazon rainforest, while providing full wage jobs for people with disabilities in Northeast Ohio. Delahanty partners with the Blick Center and Hattie’s Food Hub (a work-‐training program at Hattie Larlham) to employ individuals with disabilities in Akron to produce his fruit snacks. This past week, the Blick Center added additional work groups, and Hattie’s Food Hub added a second shift.
More growth lies ahead for Peaceful Fruits with new flavors and a new product releasing this spring. Watch the shelves for new flavors: mango, peach acai, blueberry acai and strawberry acai, as well as the new acai granola strip. This year will also feature expansion across the region through new partnerships, to be announced soon.
“I’m a big believer in social enterprise. I think it’s the future of capitalism,” said Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and ‘Shark Tank’ panelist.
Despite leaving the show without an investment, Delahanty received strong, positive feedback, and ultimately surpassed the goal he set out to achieve. “Shark Tank,” Episode 16, featuring Peaceful Fruits, can be seen online at abc.go.com.
Peaceful Fruits was launched in 2014 by a returned Peace Corps Volunteer and has a mission of economic empowerment for the people of the Amazon Rainforest and for people with disabilities in Akron. snacks are 100-percent organic fruit. For info, visit www.peacefulfruits.com.
The Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI) is a Columbus, Ohio-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit economic development organization founded in 2004. As the third largest US SBA intermediary micro-lender and a U.S. Treasury designated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), ECDI’s mission is to invest in people to create measurable and enduring social and economic change. Since 2004, ECDI has assisted over 9,700 individuals, disbursed over $36 million through over 1,700 loans, and created and retained over 6,400 jobs via our comprehensive suite of programs available through our offices in Columbus, Cleveland, and Akron Ohio. Our programs and services have been supported by over $52 million in federal, state, local and private funds and have proven to spur local economic development.