A shared interest in experiencing different cultures and a passion for helping others led to the creation of Tiiga. Co-founders, Jeff Tezak and Harrouna Malgoubri, met while pursuing degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; but that was just the beginning. Both have traveled extensively, witnessing various cultures and engaging with people from all over the world.
Both felt a strong calling to connect cultures and create opportunities for improving people’s lives. It wasn’t uncommon for Jeff and Harrouna to share cuisine and knowledge from the places they’ve traveled to; however this changed when Harrouna shared a baobab-based beverage from his native country of Africa.
From initial taste to learning more about the health benefits of the baobab fruit, Jeff and Harrouna’s conversation led to the idea of combining the power of baobab with other native flavors of West Africa. Soon after, they explored ways to elevate the economic and social value of these potential baobab-based products. Tiiga was born: this low-calorie and natural drink option is sustainably produced and has the potential to create positive change for women and entire communities in Africa.
As a former professional baseball player and Coach for the Nebraska Huskers, Jeff Tezak has always had an interest and passion for health. He never really was a fan of the sugary sports drinks but water sometimes just didn’t feel like enough for those long days on the field. Jeff began experimenting with different drink types and what sort of ingredients gave him a bit of energy and hydration as well as something he could feel good about putting into his body. It was at this time that Harrouna introduced him to the Baobab fruit. Immediately falling in love with its citrusy taste and versatility, Jeff knew that this widely unknown superfruit was exactly the edge that he was looking for. As the Co-Founder of Tiiga, Jeff is passionate about spreading the word about this game-changing superfruit as well as the incredible impact the growing popularity of Baobab will have on communities all over Africa.
Harrouna Malgoubri was born in the Ivory Coast and raised in Burkina Faso. He grew up drinking the abundant Baobab fruit in native drinks like baobab, milk, and honey. In 2015, Harrouna was granted a Fulbright Scholarship and moved to America to work on his Doctorate Degree at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. It was during this time that Harrouna and Jeff met and Harrouna introduced Baobab to Jeff. Harrouna had been looking for some sort of business that he could bring back with him to Burkina Faso that would help build up his communities. He knew firsthand just how abundant Baobab was and how beneficial harvesting the fruit can be for women and their families. He agreed with Jeff that teaching the western world about this amazing superfruit baobab would not only benefit consumers looking for a better beverage, but help communities like his all around Africa build sustainable business harvesting fruit.