Dozie Mbonu, CEO of Janerette's Eco-Friendly Fungi, LLC
Dozie Mbonu, CEO of Janerette's Eco-Friendly Fungi, LLC (Dr. J’s Fungi), distinguishes himself by facilitating business planning. Dozie’s ability to carefully analyze and evaluate situations makes him an extremely valuable company asset.His previous business ventures have added valuable brand development experience utilizing unique marketing and outside the box perspectives. In 2005, Dozie founded a sports management company, and one of his finest achievements involved managing and qualifying the Nigeria men’s basketball team to the 2012 London Olympics.
Additionally, Dozie brings almost two decades worth of experience in leadership, leadership development, team building, infrastructure development, and partnership facilitation. As a lead consultant for several international organizations, Dozie knows how to orchestrate business development and execute business strategies. His ability to carefully analyze situations to find resolve makes him a valuable team asset. His distinguished career in international sports management, allows him to effectively uses a seamless blend of direct, affiliate, participative methods, and coaching styles. Dozie adds valuable experience in negotiations and brand development through a unique marketing and outside the box perspectives. He is well-versed at analyzing various types of situations where his knowledge of the social sciences (particularly social psychology), delivers an essential dimension to the organizational culture.
Check out Janerette's Eco-Friendly Fungi :
[00:00:01] You're listening to thinking outside the bud where we speak with entrepreneurs investors thought leaders researchers advocates and policymakers who are finding new and exciting ways for cannabis to positively impact business society and culture. And now here is your host Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt.
[00:00:31] And everyone welcome to thinking outside the bud. I'm your host and today we've got a really fascinating guest. We've got an interesting Content-Type out. We've got some interesting stories where here. Dozie Mbonu that I've worked on that pronunciation that originally got now and we're going to find out a little bit about Dr. J’s eco friendly Fungi.
[00:00:53] So you know we've got some interesting stuff around the agricultural side or the gross side of the cannabis chain or the product chain. And we're going to find a little bit about how the business got form and the work that they've done where they are kind of a success in the trials and tribulations south. Thank you very much for being on the program. It's been interesting and read your background and does. Why don't we start. What just having you'd give us a little bit of background on yourself kind of professional background personal background. How do you get to know the other night and I know you've got some interesting background. I'm excited to hear about it and I'm going to talk a little bit about the business.
[00:01:30] Ok. Sure enough.
[00:01:31] So a little bit about myself grew up here born and raised here in Philadelphia and ended up on a very unique journey post college I went to Lehigh University on a basketball scholarship and after that set off on a journey internationally it took me to South America Europe and the Middle East. During a career that spanned 17 years and I retired from playing professional basketball at the age of 40 in 2010.
[00:02:08] After that faced with a lot of athletes who are now faced with starting the second phase of their life and career figuring out what my next play was and I ended up in some very unique situations while I was a player specially during the last 10 years of my career I ended up in all this came about because of a shriek injury I had in 1999 when I was 29. I broke my foot very severely. Two days before Christmas that I had the fifth metatarsal what they call now the fracture. I decided not to opt for any surgery so didn't realize that we originally thought that would be about three to four weeks. It ended up being in the cast. I was in a cast for 5 months Slauson was a wrap. Then after they took the cast it was a whole journey with rehab and didn't end up back on the court until December of the next year. So yeah. During my time of rehab in the summer I got a call from from a committee member of a club in Cyprus and he heard about me my fiance at the time was from Cyprus and we were here in the USA living and while I was going through rehab and he calls me offers me a five year deal and I said look I was blatantly honest I don't know how the foot is going to recover. I'm trying to rehab. They made me an offer and I told him if you can organize it with my agent no problem. So the rest is history. I ended up in Cyprus. Didn't get back on the court till December but ended up another 10 years and that took 40. So while I was in that class for 4 months my agent at the time who is now actually the director of scouting for the Denver Nuggets he's no longer an agent and he made me an offer that set me off on another part of my career that has to do with the post.
[00:04:17] Part of my career. He made me an offer to come and help him with his business. Sports Agency because it was growing. Probably one of the best opportunities I could have ever had. Not only when I went back to playing those final 10 years from the age of 30 to 40 he was representing me for the first couple of those years. We also started having clients that represented together. My job was to recruit new clients into the agency. We ended up with some clients internationally that that we represented together and then some coaches so that was very unique. While I was still a professional player so I ended up in a very unique situation and then his business started growing even more. He was also selling scouting reports to NBA teams at the time so he got extremely busy and basically at a certain point we agreed that any clients that we were representing at that time we would continue to represent him coach represent them until they retired and since he growing and he didn't have as much attention to apply now to some of the newer clients. I wanted to bring in. We agreed that I would start my own business and we still have those clients that we code represented and that set me off on a whole nother tab because the last four years of my career all of these unique things just happened.
[00:05:51] A teammate of mine who was the junior coach of the club I was playing for he got injured. He grew up through the club he was young 28 years old and now my second year with the club he becomes the head coach at 28 years old 28. So he came to me because I had been bringing players he knew I was I had some former NBA players that I brought to Europe and put teams in other countries in Europe and in Cyprus. So he came to me and told me I'm going to need your help helping to build this team and the very unique situation that I don't think ever existed was not only was I a player on the team but I also represent a third.
[00:06:36] And of course the team until my retirement. That said that's a pretty unique very good set up. Yes very unique after that. In 2010 I started realizing the sports management as far as player representation became oversaturated with agents. Everybody was trying to get into the agent game. Now you had numbers of agents everywhere in the States internationally. So what I did was I said there's had to myself. There has to be a better way and I want it to now started to diversify my offering into sports management space. I still was representing certain players but I set off on doing unique in neech basketball projects in which led me into certain things such as international basketball event management. And I came up with a very unique idea. So there I had also set off a proposal when I retired about since I'm Nigerian and I once played for the Nigerian national team in 1998.
[00:07:49] That was the team that competed for the World Championships in Greece. I knew that there were some issues sometimes it was financial sometimes it was you could say logistics sometimes a little organization.
[00:08:02] So I wrote a proposal and it was about why we weren't in every major sporting event like the Olympics. The men's team had never made the Olympics. The women's team had and I was on one of the teams two teams that made the world championships but we have an abundance of talent from Nigeria. I'm considered you know in America this newfound second generation you know Nigerian and I wrote this proposal and sent it to the president of the federation and actually he responded after a month and make a long story short we met five months later in London. I pitched to him there with him in the vice president he accepted my proposal and to make an even longer story short. Ten months later they asked me how would you like to be the manager of our men's national team the Olympics was coming up and 212 that was in November of 2011 and make an even longer story short. Eight months later we qualified for the first Olympics that's amazing history.
[00:09:14] Yeah it's amazing.
[00:09:15] Yes in London. Yes it was.
[00:09:18] It was from there that I started to notice some trends internationally back here following back home certain trends about sustainability. We're coming to light things like climate change global warming organic food that was on now becoming a very popular topic.
[00:09:40] And I just so happen to have a good family pipeline where my aunt my mother's sister is a plant physiologist and botanists who worked for the Department of Agriculture for the forestry service and I grew up with her in that role in the 70s. So my mother used to take us on vacation to visit her in the summer when school would get out of hand. I have vivid memories of me and my brother running around that government laboratory and greenhouse playing tag and hide and go seek while she was working.
[00:10:15] I'd talk about exposure and I think you know what I love about the story and what I love about the journey and been honest that really as it's going through all those kind of elements of entrepreneurial thinking and experience as you know kind of from the Scrapy how do we get this started. How do we take a system that has a lot of a lot of assets a lot of good qualities but is lacking organization is lacking vision lacking structure. How do we put it together and align it so that we can achieve these big goals. Quite honestly vitrines some of the biggest goals there are all a bit like the pinnacle of the sports world. So I'm really curious to hear how like as you Bhanjyang that you've learned about teens you've learned about leadership you learn about how do you create direction and vision. How is that kind of transfer now. You on a business. So I guess many and Belous and so you. You got into the the botanically not understanding grow ilang and what goes into making high quality sustainable organic products. Tell us a little bit about the business now and what have you been I guess leveraging what we've have been borrowing from your experiences and to into the enterprise at this point.
[00:11:23] Absolutely. So from those experience and two key things that put me where I am now in the biotech the ag tech space is one a friend showed me Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary about global warming and climate change. Number two was wow at the Olympics the London Olympics in 2012 in the Olympic village. What I noticed were their sustainability initiatives. Even the dome the arena that we played in was a sustainably built arena that was going to be parts of it recycled. Actually I think they sent part of it to Brazil and that was utilized in the 2016 Olympics. And that really set my mind off on this tangent came home from the Olympics because I was also living in Cyprus told him I wanted to come back to Philadelphia came back and approached my aunt the scientist. I call her she's the brains behind our Dr. J's eco friendly generous eco friendly fungi and approached her about. She made a discovery in the 80s the mid 80s while I was in high school about these very beneficial fungus that are naturally occurring in almost any soils. So I came back from that experience in the Olympics and approached her about in the 80s. No one was talking about global warming sustainability. You know the EPA was just getting around to getting to companies who were doing a lot of polluting and dumping. So no one was really on that tangent back then except the hippies in California.
[00:13:12] It's a small group and tell a party that I can't get the question alive. Yes they have been at that for years.
[00:13:18] The consensus is so I came to approached her and said I believe the time is right for discovery she made after they closed that laboratory and she kept working on these fungus and I approached her and she said well if you think that we can get product to market and commercialize her discovery which she had patented in the early nineteen 91 in 93 she said Go for it. I will support this but what I did was I said OK I'm a bootstrap this and I'm so glad we did that. Here we are. We really dove into this real deep in 2014 and here we are four years later just sitting right here at the at the at the door at the finish line of our first company race. So you know all those practical experiences with leadership are logistics and putting things together actually are all the things I used in formulating formulating our company. We just registered the company in January as a LLC in January of 2017 so this is just 15 months late.
[00:14:36] Here we are now here with our.
[00:14:39] I'll tell you how we got to this point though tried with a couple of people you know we put paperwork together no interest and then probably the best thing that happened Pennsylvania legalized in April of 2016. The medical marijuana law. Yeah. I never forget as that momentum across states who were already legalized before Pennsylvania we saw a show I think it was either on 60 Minutes or 2020. And it was about to legalize cannabis market now and how it was growing and what the effects were on each state and how it was having effects on the country. And I never forget Dr. generous said I sure would love to test my product on that plan.
[00:15:26] And it just so happened that about literally about a month or two later she hands me a newspaper article and it's about the first conference in Pennsylvania on medical cannabis and she was headed to see some relatives down south. And I said well I'll go. I registered online paid and just went to just go do some fact finding learning. It was a sold out event about four 500 people in Center City Philadelphia and the issue was it was sold out. They had a great panel of people across the industry from all across the country. The issue was because it was sold out. When you had these panel breaks I was sitting in a line of like 20 30 people trying to get to panel members. The day was I was losing the day the time. And I had to be at an event in the afternoon by 5:00 by 2:00 o'clock.
[00:16:31] I hadn't been able to connect with one panel member caught a break had to move my car because the ticket was expiring coming back. I catch one of the panel members who I identified and had written down in each standing on the sidewalk by himself outside the conference. I walked straight up to him introduce myself shake his hand and he looks at me. He knows what I'm about that
[00:16:55] I'm like get it out. He says to me you got three minutes.
[00:17:00] It's to him right there on the sidewalk outside the conference agent. That man is the reason why our company is in the position it is now.
[00:17:12] His name is Steven Shane. He works for one of the largest law firms in legalized cannabis industry called Hoeben law.
[00:17:22] And Steve Shaine told me he said look give me your card. If I can't help you strategically I'm gonna introduce you to some people who can. After that I walked into the event to the conference. There were still lines of people I had to get to. And I left. He was the only person I got to that day. I leave go to my event at my high school that was the reunion alumni weekend. Go have fun come back in. The next day is Sunday morning and I don't know if I'm going to hear anything from them.
[00:17:56] You know how it goes. That working. You might hear you might not. The next morning there's an e-mail sitting in my e-mail when I wake up from Steve Shaine introducing me to the guys at Greenhaus Ventures who were the group that put on the conference last year of this conference and the rest they hold this greenhouse Ventures is a company that was started here in Philadelphia for ancillary companies not touching non plants chip companies for the cannabis industry.
[00:18:28] They run a business accelerator and we're about to have their first class in the fall. We applied got rejected in the summer.
[00:18:38] They told us Your is too early you got more infrastructure things and then I guess the conversations started coming up for them with growers and people in the industry about how is your your cannabis being grown. What did you know what are you ingesting and consuming in your body.
[00:18:59] And is it a pure form of cannabis. I went back to Cyprus while I was in Cyprus. I was naturalized. I was back there after they told us we were rejected and I said okay we'll work on those things and apply for your next celebrator with it was due to happen in the spring of 2017. I get a call in September email asking Could I get on a call. Get on that call. They said some things came up within the industry that need addressing. I was out riding my bike I stopped. I called them back and they said We need you to answer some questions. I raced home they send me to questions I race home. Call Doc degenerate who is here Philadelphia. We answer the questions I emailed back. Hey don't hear few days. A week later I'm out riding my bike again I get an email can you get on a call. I was at a store checked my phone. I get on that call. They said Look something came up that addressing what your company is figuratively claiming it can address it as come up in the industry and people are interested in sustainable growing practices and having sustainable eco friendly organic cannabis. By the way that was like a Friday their business accelerator was set in September late September their business accelerator was set to begin on that Monday.
[00:20:26] They said by the way congratulations.
[00:20:28] Here is our business raider and class starts on Monday the weekend.
[00:20:36] We are called founders that we in now.
[00:20:41] Now let me set up this picture. There are classes in this was basically a boot camp progressive basically graduate course in graduate level course load it for 10 weeks class met three times a week there in Philadelphia.
[00:20:59] But you were able to take that class by videoconference and soon they had another company out of Las Vegas another one in Maryland D.C. area and we were the third company and final company to get into their accelerator those classes were from 6 to 9 p.m. three times a week Monday Tuesday and Thursday. I took the class via a video conference in Cyprus at 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.
[00:21:28] And their deal with me was your company is in. But you personally must show up here in person for the final four weeks of class. I only missed one class and I happened to be just. I was early for the class. I was ready had eaten dinner and then I got tired I said OK I'll take a quick 45 minute nap I woke up at the end the TLAC. But luckily my two other cofounders Dr. J were on the on the video and I was able to catch up from that.
[00:21:58] One class showed up here for a final month and we successively completed that accelerator in December of 2016 hit the ground running. And after that it was all about positioning Dr. J to be exactly where we are right now.
[00:22:15] So I was like a constant in the business. What are your current plans. One of the real priorities I guess now that you've got something you've got some traction you've got a lot of funding behind you. What is your next move. My worry about from here.
[00:22:29] So I'll tell you exactly where we are. So our goal was one to get people educated about what ecto mycorrhizal fungi is actually is that is a fungus that Dr. Jannard has really basically gone where no other scientists has ever gone before on the mycorrhizal fungi market. There are roughly around 200 products. The 99 percent of those products are indult Mike arises from China. We work with ecto Mike arise or fungi and there is a difference.
[00:23:07] Yes how can you give us a quick synopsis of the yes chemical chemistry here.
[00:23:12] Yes so endo basically and no mycorrhizal fungi is what they say in all of the science literature on mycorrhizal fungi. What they say are the Endo's only work with non Woody plants. You're her basis plant fruits are certain fruits and vegetables and all nationally your ecto microbes are fungi only work with your Woody plants your trees certain fruit trees. The beauty of doctor generates discovery her ingenuity her innovation her genius is that she was able to work with these.
[00:23:52] She identified 15 mycorrhizal ecto mycorrhizal fungi. So not only do these fungi form the relationship with the woody plants but she also was able to do was make them form endo Mike arise fungi relationships with the non woody plant. Therefore you have one that can treat practically any plant in this whole world.
[00:24:16] Shuteye an event spot a comfortable bed and a comfortable couch.
[00:24:21] So imagine that in all science literature says that this is impossible and she's the only person that knows how to do this correct.
[00:24:29] She ended up with 15 patents internationally back in the early 90s and she ended up two years later in 91 to 93 she ended up with the US.
[00:24:41] So anything about Paten she would know they have a lifespan 18 to 20 years that has passed.
[00:24:48] But so with her ingenuity and innovation we have a couple of trade secrets involved in it in our process of making these so still no one to this day has been able. It's 32 years no since she made the discovery no one has been able to read duplicate her invention. That's correct. Her discovery. So where our company is.
[00:25:09] We have been able to educate neech group within the cannabis industry. The legalize cannabis industry on the benefits of ecto mycorrhizal fungi.
[00:25:22] We ended up with then the next phase was to go into trial mode because you have to imagine in all these years 13 2 years not one farmer would agree to use her inoculant for a trial. Therefore we found our first break within the cannabis industry with industrial hemp in a project with the Pennsylvania Department of Act Now.
[00:25:46] The EPA says yes the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Natural Resources and Conservation my alma mater Lehigh University was involved in that trial as well and the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council who's the one that put that whole baby together and we were invited after being on a panel in Pittsburgh last year. The moderator Erica McBride is a huge advocate for industrial hemp across the country. She's one of the lead officers in that organization and while I was answering a question to the audience she stops in and says wait a minute we have to talk after this and invites us to participate in this trial and this trial was to remediate an abandoned coal mine anthracite coal mine in Missouri county in Pennsylvania utilizing industrial hemp.
[00:26:40] We were invited and we ended up with a beautiful non nutrient deficient hemp plant that was dwarfed but once you see these pictures Bruce it gives you all the hope in the world a beautiful ready budded hemp plant no droopy leaves and ready to flower hemp plant that gives hope to the rest of this world.
[00:27:07] From there we were invited by a nonprofit named Mackenna walk that was actually treating there from Philadelphia but they were treating waterborne illnesses in a village in Kenya because they didn't have clean drinking water. We met him and was introduced to him by one of the cofounders of greenhouse ventures at the Rylie Coetzee's hemp Keel's event last November. But owned by Roc Nation was introduced to the founder of the Canada Family Foundation and he offered to for us to participate in a trial utilizing regular cash crops. The first crops they planted we sent them with a sample of our product utilizing strawberries tomato plants and fig trees and that trial has basically been those two trials have led us to here we are at our friends and family early a stage round of funding with a pipeline of roughly 30 people and I didn't have to ask one person for any money. Once they found out or learned of what we were doing and the results that have been coming back that we've received and these results are so groundbreaking very disruptive that people just offer it.
[00:28:29] Yeah. I mean that's the ideal way right. Credit Credit great product get great great data great research proof that it actually does. Yeah exactly. And you know the people lining up literally.
[00:28:43] Absolutely. And they did. And they are and all of our razes culminating with the cannabis learn conference so Greenhaus ventures is putting about another conference next week here in Philadelphia Pennsylvania Convention Center surrounding research innovative technologies all about learning not just about the plant but all these innovative things that are happening within the industry. I will be speaking three speaking engagements on Tuesday May 1st. I'm speaking on the panel with athletes for care at 11:00 a.m. at 2:00 p.m. speaking on ag tech and sustainability in cannabis and growing sustainable practices and at 320 p.m. I will be presenting for the first time in this presentation releasing some of this groundbreaking data to the public as first time and there we have it. Here's our introduction to Dr. Jaye's generates eco friendly fungi doing business says Dr. JS fungi to have a very wonderful situation. Dr. Jannard and I live together so I get to interact talk discuss plan in anything concerning and we end up with all these unique late night conversations that sometimes go into the wee hours of the morning. I mean Nerva than mornings where we've been up eight o'clock in the morning and that conversation started at midnight and the possibilities that exist to sustainably heal.
[00:30:20] Not only that the cannabis industry but to also sustainably and eco friendly heal the world utilizes he's very beneficial and special funds.
[00:30:32] You know I would love that we can schedule another episode I would love to get both on and can get into some of us that I'm sure there's fascinating details about what you guys are learning that you know about not only the plans but also the Intacta plans can have you know really on the world on and on and where we're at time here so I want to say. Well first I want to thank you enough. Great story great conversation. And I am really excited about what you do. I can't be there this coming week against some travel sites. But if people want to reach out I'm sure there's lots of people here that would love to get more information and insight you know have questions you know as you start to release this data I would love to get that as well.
[00:31:11] What's the best way to get a hold of you and contact you.
[00:31:14] Yes you have my e-mail Diệm at Jana RETS fungi dot com. We have a Web site which is Janah Rich J N E R E T T E S fungi F U N G I dot com. You can learn all about this wonderful technology and I will leave you with this. And we also have a Facebook page which is Facebook and you will find us as at Facebook dot com backslash Jana RETS J and E R E T T E S and there's a whole page there. Corey I want to leave you with this Bruce.
[00:31:55] Before you go some of the things that I will be releasing in the talk and also there is a campaign for athletes for care on Indiegogo that you can actually support charity. All about CTE in traumatic brain injuries supporting athletes and research. There is a campaign on Indico go. You can actually sign up to get the videos from the conference. In this campaign is going on for 30 days so you can purchase the whole all the videos from the conference many speakers the mayor of Philadelphia the controller city controller all these universities are coming in. You can support charity and also end up with the videos for all of the speakers from the conference data. I will be releasing is we are talking something where your plants. So let's say you'd plan a normal plant with fertilizer. With our product you only need a teaspoon to a tablespoon depending on what type of seed or seed you're planning.
[00:33:05] You end up with increases of 40 to 50 percent or more in non woody plants and in increases yield increases of 1000 percent or more in the woody plants we'll be releasing that information along with one of our trials with the tomato plants came back and this is history in real time being made with a natural resistance to infestation and we're talking about you know the reducing the amounts the use of pesticides as well now and what also we ended up with is a very beautiful picture which I will be sharing at the presentation where when you look at a normal plant root and if that came from the fig tree that plant root was about six inches with the size of the plant being only about 10 inches compared to the control that's the control compared to ours where plant root system very thick but over three feet long. Yet at the end of the tree it was planted in August and the size of the plant is over so we're talking over. We're talking well over in that thousand inch increase in yield and also the size of the plant the fruiting.
[00:34:27] The fruits increase the amount of seeds increase and also the structure of the fungus which has this structure of the anatomy of the root of the plant which is changes but is also very large and dynamic so there are endless possibilities to sustain this industry specifically to cannabis but also to help sustain the world.
[00:34:53] That's amazing and excited to follow up and hear all those plays out. You again. I will be in touch.
[00:35:00] It's a pleasure and I'm I'm really excited to hear you guys do wonderful and I hope that one day meet you in person. Well I'll make that. And we're not far away. Thank you Bruce.
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