NOMINEE/COMPANY PROFILE FORM
Nominee's Name: Charlene Riikonen
Company Name: Cera Products, I nc.
Category: Outstanding Entrepreneur
In the space below, please address the criteria for the award category. Please use the same format as i n the criteria description, using an a, b, c, d, sequence. Additional documents may be attached. Please do not send resumes.
During the 1980's, Charlene Riikonen, met Johns Hopkins physicians Dr. David Sack and Dr. W.
Riikonen founded Cera Products in 1993. After years of research, product development and clinical studies, Ceralyte was developed. This product is used by health organizations throughout the United States and in Canada, Central America, Europe, and parts of Africa.
Continued research with Cera's rice-based powder systems resulted in three other products: CeraSport® for sweat replacement and performance; CeraVet®, an advanced hydration product for animals; and CeraVacx®, a buffer delivery system for oral enteric vaccines.
It took great perseverance for Charlene to progress from the idea in Bangladesh to the successful company Cera Products is today.
Ceralyte was the first rice-based hydration solution. It was a brand-new approach to hydration. Ceralyte would be important domestically, but even more important in developing countries.
Ceralyte is competing with Pedialyte, a brand of Abbott Laboratories. Cera's sport drink, CeraSport, had to compete against a well-known brand, Gatorade, which is backed by Pepsi Cola, another huge company.
Not only did the company produce a novel and more effective product, but it has shown superb leadership in marketing and branding. The fight for market share against well-known mass-market brands has been accomplished very effectively. By sponsoring athletes, and offering highly effective product to "sample" to medical opinion leaders, hospitals and other health organizations, Charlene has managed to carve out a good name for her company, and hi re approximately 10 employees in the process.
She has also managed to secure production operations, warehousing, quality-control coverage at top notch manufacturing companies, saving costs associated with purchasing expensive equipment which saves overhead costs and obsolescence associated with aging manufacturing equipment. This option also enables Cera Products to be at the forefront of new systems and packaging.
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