After an accident with a stove when he was 4 years old, Teodoro Ortiz suffered severe facial burns. Determined to overcome discrimination because of his injuries, he began to help grow the family business — running a stand selling grains in the local market in Cusco, Peru.
In 1971 he founded Incasur and has grown it into a multimillion-dollar company that sells breakfast cereals, chocolate and confectionery. The company uses traditional Andean grains as its ingredients — once called “sacred grains” by the Incas — and reintroduced quinoa and kiwicha to the local population. Teodoro works closely with Andean farmers to oversee the production, storage and quality of the grains. The fashion for superfoods has opened up the global market, and today Incasur exports widely to countries from the US to Japan.
Teodoro has achieved success despite the challenges he has faced from his scars. “I learned to sell, thanks to my parents, before I learned to read and write. Hard work and running a business is in my DNA,” he says.