Light Years IP have worked with the Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania and women in Uganda to establish the Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative and Women's Owned Nilotica Shea, respectively, using their Intellectual Property Value Capture concepts to enable them to create and take ownership of brands from which they can make a sustainable financial income.
Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative:
The Massai, a tribe of three million, has a cultural brand used by over 1,000 companies to gain sales from the value of the association with the Maasai culture but at least 80% of the Maasai live in poverty. By taking control of the Maasai cultural brand themselves, the Maasai people can benefit from this use. With the assistance of Light Years IP, the Maasai have formed a representative entity in Kenya and Tanzania of Maasai elders and leaders, the Massai Intellectual Property Initiative Trust, and with intellectual property training and a licensing program designed and delivered by Light Years IP, over 1.5 million Maasai have been engaged. Taking ownership of their cultural brand and licensing this to corporates will make a substantial and financially sustainable impact to the Maasai people.
Women's Owned Nilotica Shea (WONS):
Light Years IP has trained the first 700 women, including former child soldiers and abductees to launch a new brand and own the exclusive importer/distributor for their highly distinctive East Africa Nilotica shea butter. The women have formed a Ugandan-based cooperative, WONS, in which they each have an ownership stake. Light Years IP has completed the first round of Grade A nut purchasing among the leadership of WONS, as a test purchase for high end sales testing. Partners at Do More Good, and Impact Labs will complete brand packaging for full service re-positioning, and along with Timothy Han of London re-position the women to achieve high end prices, targeted at $US 45-60/30cc.
The intention is for WONS Uganda to own the exclusive UK-based distributor that will market high-end Shea cosmetic products in 2015. Currently, Nilotica shea producers receive up to 1% of the retail price paid in wealthy markets. The UK business owned by the shea gatherers will put the women in control of about 50% of the retail price with placement in high-end UK stores, with branding and quality designed to last for the long-term. In 2015, Light Years IP will take expand this project to the women of South Sudan.