Health Diagnosis Sparks a Better-for-All Food Business

Sandra Nomoto

Sweetkiwi’s Mission Earns Investment from a Shark


Ehime Eigbe-Akindele, Founder and CEO of Sweetkiwi.

This article is one in a series about business leaders in the Level program, now in its third year. Through the Level program, B Lab U.S. & Canada aims to support and partner with business leaders who identify as women of color to amplify their economic reach and community impact.

Why am I doing this? Oh my God — they’re going to crush me. That’s what Ehime Eigbe-Akindele thought to herself just before she walked into the Shark Tank to face five potential investors in Sweetkiwi, her frozen yogurt company.

Sweetkiwi originated from a desire to eat better. When Eigbe-Akindele’s sister was diagnosed with a uterine fibroid, she researched the condition. This proved to be useful when she received the same diagnosis two years later. “I watched my sister go through hell with the medical system. She was told to do different things that only made the situation worse,” Eigbe-Akindele said. She didn’t want to go the same route, so she continued to research more holistic methods of healing.

After reading about others who improved their diagnosis, Eigbe-Akindele thought she could do the same by changing her diet. “What I found was that a lack of nutrition was the culprit of a lot of the diseases we have,” Eigbe-Akindele said. She focused on getting as many nutrients as she could through food instead of eating foods with empty calories. But, she also had a big sweet tooth.

“It was really hard for me to give up the treats I was used to. I wanted this to be sustainable, not a crash diet I would just give up on after a few months because I didn’t like the stuff I was eating,” she said. “I was intentional in curating meals that I enjoyed that were healthy and nutritious.”

Eigbe-Akindele knew how to make a delicious okra soup, but struggled with desserts. When she bought frozen yogurt at the grocery store, she discovered it wasn’t as healthy as she hoped when she read the nutrition label. It contained no fat, fiber, or protein, but had a lot of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Eigbe-Akindele wondered if she could make a better, more nutritious product that still tasted like a treat. “I started re-creating all my favorite treats to be nutritionally sound but still delicious,” she said.

Ehime Eigbe-Akindele with the Sweetkiwi product line.

Her corporate colleagues served as taste-testers and encouraged her to take her product to market as an entrepreneur. “They said how much they loved the product and that I should do this as a business,” Eigbe-Akindele recalls. When she launched the product to the wider community, more customers sent her feedback and continued to support her. “Black Girl Ventures and New Voices Foundation have really helped us along the way,” she said. “That has taught me to build my business with a community-first approach.”

Today, Sweetkiwi offers a whipped frozen Greek yogurt that helps with gut health, wellness, and nutrient absorption. Along with the delicious flavor of ice cream, the product has 22 grams of protein, 14 grams of fiber, probiotics, and a unique blend of immune-boosting superfoods.

Investment Validates a Business Model

Eigbe-Akindele admits appearing on Shark Tank was initially terrifying because as an entrepreneur, she always has doubts. But as soon as she walked in the room, the mind chatter went silent. It came down to knowing and being passionate about her business. She said, “As I was speaking and questions were being thrown at me, it was the biggest validation I knew my stuff.” Receiving a $250,000 investment deal with Robert Herjavec was a great experience for Eigbe-Akindele. After the episode aired, Sweetkiwi received phenomenal attention and new customers. “It helped shine the light on the work we were doing with the products we created.”

She acknowledged that entrepreneurs of color face unique roadblocks. “It’s really hard,” Eigbe-Akindele said. “Your business has to be a passion. Something you eat, sleep, dream of, and wake up thinking about. Something that’s personal, because that’s what keeps you going during the hard times.”

Sweetkiwi’s Ehime Eigbe-Akindele and Director Michael Akindele pitch on Shark Tank.

B Corp Reflects How Sweetkiwi Gives Back

Eigbe-Akindele learned about Certified B Corporations through Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. She researched the importance of attaining B Corp Certification and saw how it provides a framework for purpose-driven companies. “This is how we’re building our business. This would be a great certification to showcase the important things we do in our business,” she said.

While building Sweetkiwi, Eigbe-Akindele was intentional about how they source their milk. The company works with local, family-owned farms who produce dairy with regenerative practices. Doing this helps people who are lactose intolerant because the milk doesn’t have the protein markers that cause intolerance. It’s also better for the environment and human health.

Additional efforts include a partnership with Black Girl Ventures, which positively impacts Black female entrepreneurs. “When I started my business, it was really hard to find funding,” Eigbe-Akindele said. “We got a lot of support from Black Girl Ventures, and I saw firsthand how hard it was for minority female entrepreneurs to get started or receive support. We made it part of our company mission to donate 1% of our time and our profits to supporting organizations doing this work.”

She takes time to work with other entrepreneurs by taking part in pitch competitions, helping them refine their pitches. She shares lessons about running a business or how to get to the next level with other women founders. As Eigbe-Akindele continues her entrepreneurial journey, she still wants to grow and help others do the same. “I do as much as I can to share information and help others go further. If I’m walking through a door, it’s my responsibility to hold the door open for more people to come through.”

The Sweetkiwi team.

Advocating for Nutrition Knowledge

Helping people to learn more about nutrition and get the right balance of nutrients everyday is how Sweetkiwi aims to leave a legacy. “We’re in a world where everyone says, ‘That’s bad.’ Every day, we’re canceling something,” Eigbe-Akindele said. “I want to help people learn that it’s not about removing things. Of course, remove processed foods, but it’s more about balance.” By advocating for better food systems and sustainable farming and production, she also wants to ensure that we’re not degrading the environment or impacting communities negatively as we feed people around the globe. “Nutrition and better-for-you food must be available to everybody in the world. It’s a basic human right,” she said.

Sweetkiwi can be found in stores like Whole Foods, Walmart, Kroger, and Giant Food across the United States. Learn more at

B The Change gathers and shares the voices from within the movement of people using business as a force for good and the community of Certified B Corporations. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the nonprofit B Lab.

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