More than a Drink


1. No Poverty 3. Good Health and Well-Being 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 12. Responsible Consumption and Production


Ekai, a company focused on the development, production and marketing of organic *Panela beverages as a natural sweetener and free of artificial additives, a Colombian product that is a new and healthy alternative to enjoying at any time of the day. The raw material, natural Panela, and herbs bring large nutrients to the body.

*Food product obtained from the evaporation of sugar cane juice (agriculture of the age and family of gramines) 100% Organic, without chemical addition, pesticides, additives. The panel combats hunger for its high grade of nutrients and vitamins.


Johanna Rosso Guerra

Johanna Rosso Guerra

Maria Paula Melo

Maria Paula Melo

Johana Rey

Johana Rey


Universidad Externado de Colombia

Universidad Externado de Colombia


Gustavo A Yepes López

Gustavo A Yepes López


Innovation, "arises from the need to make new foods that provide well-being and contribute to people's health." Around 3,200 people die from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers that are attributed to the use of sugary drinks. In Colombia, approximately 6.8% of all deaths are related to brain-vascular diseases and 5.0% of these are attributed to the consumption of sugary drinks."

"Some of these pathologies can be prevented by changing habits, culture and eating habits that focus on new healthy lifestyles including a more balanced diet and that provides real nutrients to the body."

"In this innovation I thought of the Organic PANELA as the main raw material of the drink because it is a 100% natural product that is composed of 83% sucrose, 6% glucose and 6% fructose thus contributing to 85% or 95% carbohydrates , main energy source. Protein intake is 1% and fat 0%, it is also a raw material that is obtained at low cost, but that generates work to all people who are involved in the production of the panela. The innovation is a drink based on flavored panela, apart from generating employment for panela producers, it also generates those who work to grow the herbs."

This is associated with number 1 and 8 of the UN Sustainable Development Objectives.

More than a Drink


The idea arises one day, when Juan Carlos Belalcázar was he says, "working in a gas factory for 10 years in Bogota, I always had in my mind to make a refreshing, natural and very healthy drink. I thought from the beginning on the panela to replace the refined sugar."

This chemical engineer, born in Bogotá, was responsible for the special processes in a soda plant and it was there that, "thanks to that knowledge, I found a way to make my project come true and start building my own story."

With the business plan already structured, "I leave my work in the year 2017, to begin with, what is now a great undertaking, Ekai, what I always dreamed, to work with the Panela as the main ingredient, which I buy directly from Nocaima to the Association of Paneleros , Asopropanoc.

Overall impact

1. It provides the environment, since it does not require high processes of processing.

2. The pack is glass which is reused and the tapas are used as well.
3. It creates jobs for the farming families.
4. It helps to reduce the percentage of mortality by diabetes and heart disease.

Business benefit

Ekai, "operates with two people including and for now" work twice a week.

Currently, he sells his product in bottles of 35 ml, in nourishing stores like Clorofila in Bogota, hierbauena in Chia, in several mosqueras and on boyahere Avenue with 52 Street in Bogota. Its monthly sales reach between 200 and 330 bottles.

"I would be practicing among the SDGs 1,3,8,12, because this generation is generating a healthy food, and this brings health to the body by responsible producing and consuming."

One of the sectors benefiting from the Ministry of Agriculture stimulated the panela for which they already had 1 billion to support exportation of 2,000 tonnes of composite panelas or commodities, this makes the business more attractive for Ekai.

Social and environmental benefit

The benefits of Ekai are:

1. no pollution

2. use glass pack which drives a higher life cycle and can be reused.

3. provides health and welfare by the components that have the panela

4. waste is minimal because 100% of the raw material is used.

5. reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes.


Juan Carlos Belalcazar, Ingeniero Quimico

Photo of interviewee

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Bogotá, Active, CO

Business Website:

Year Founded: 2017

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Ekai is "an undertaking focused on the development, production and marketing of organic - style drinks with natural sweetening and free of artificial additives, which provide a new alternative for health, which can be enjoyed at any time of the day, from children to any age."