During the late 1970s, in the heart of one of Miami’s roughest neighborhoods, George and Einez Yap borrowed money from family and friends to launch LEASA Industries to grow and sell bean sprouts.
When the Yaps started, they knew nothing about hydroponic farming, and their first year in business was brutal. Einez worked two jobs to enable George to work 16-hour days at the struggling company. Making a meager $175 a week to start off, the Chinese-Jamaican couple lost $30,000 during the first four months of operation. They also managed to earn only $5,000 in gross income in the first full year, while taking on $50,000 in debt.
However, more than just trying to grow the company, the Yap family has also been paying back the inner city community in which it has thrived. As a result, last month in Atlanta, Andrew Yap was named the regional minority manufacturer of the year for 2009 by the US Department of Commerce Business Development Agency.
Read: “South Florida’s tofu king gives back“, an article from the ChinaDailyUSA.com.