Five years ago, Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise (LIFE) was founded with one daunting goal: to solve iron deficiency with a simple health innovation. Over the years we have evolved, expanded and most importantly, helped improve the health of people all over the world. Our mission against iron deficiency isn’t complete yet, but we’re proud to say we are continuing the fight across the globe every single day.
In order to appreciate what we’re accomplishing today, it’s important to reflect and remember where we started. We began our work in the country that inspired our mission - Cambodia. Iron deficiency is a serious problem in Cambodia. According to national nutrition surveys it is estimated that over 6 million people in Cambodia suffer from iron deficiency, mainly women and children. It is mostly caused by a lack of iron in the diet.
Our health innovation started off as an iron disk. Though it was scientifically effective, women in Cambodia were hesitant to cook with it because they said it looked like trash! After some research we discovered that the symbol of a fish is lucky in Khmer culture, so we shaped the disk like a fish and the Lucky Iron Fish was born. Not only are fish considered lucky, but so are sets of three. It feels fortuitous that our journey began five years ago on 12/12/12.
Since then we certainly have come a long way! After our first two years, we raised nearly $1 million from grants, donations, revenue and investments. At first, we had one employee and an annual budget of $50,000. Today, we have grown up to 10 employees and sell the Lucky Iron Fish in 66 countries. So far, some 500,000 people worldwide have benefited from using the Lucky Iron Fish, and we’re only getting started.
Our dedication to social responsibility has earned us B-Corp certification, an international certification assigned to companies that are committed to doing good. Since certifying as a B-Corp, we have consistently ranked within the top 10% of B-Corps globally, earning us the ‘Best for the World’ designation. Thanks to our Buy-One-Give-One promise, we’ve impacted 50,000 people in need in the past year alone. This program has distributed Lucky Iron Fish to places like British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Hampshire, Peru, Nicaragua, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Haiti, Uganda, Pakistan and more. To learn additional information about how we gave in 2017, check out our Giving Report which details our impact across the globe.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 2 billion people around the world are affected by iron deficiency. Five years ago we set out to create a simple, effective and affordable solution to this complex, global problem that affects nearly one third of the world’s population. From modest beginnings as a PhD project in Guelph, Ontario to being noticed by Oprah, we are proud to have celebrated many milestones and to have positively impacted many lives. As this year begins to wind down, we couldn’t be more excited to continue sharing what we have instore for 2018. Thank you for believing in us. Together, we can put a fish in every pot.