At first glance, Chicago-based Rumi Spice may seem like nothing more than a purveyor of specialty spices. But the story behind the company and its primary product — high-quality saffron from Afghanistan — was so compelling that it won over the judges of the 2018 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest, who awarded Rumi Spice the contest’s grand prize.
Rumi Spice was founded after Kim Jung and Keith Alaniz, who were on combat tour in Afghanistan, had a chance meeting with an Afghan farmer selling saffron in his local market. Through connecting Afghan saffron with global markets, Rumi Spice has opened three processing facilities, developed a network of more than 300 farmers and hired nearly 2,000 Afghan women during harvest season.
A similar passion and sense of purpose take shape in the other FedEx Small Business Grant Contest winners. Since 2013, FedEx has awarded more than $548,000 in grants and prizes to small businesses around the U.S. through the contest. Learn more about the winners and their insights on succeeding in business.