Scientist-turned-yogurt entrepreneur sees big growth for Ziwa brand
Several years ago, Mohamed Ismail, a medicinal chemist, worked as a research scientist at Paratek Pharmaceuticals, living a comfortable life on a $100,000-plus salary in a Boston suburb with his wife and children.
Ismail, 54, a modest man who laughs easily, was a Fulbright Scholar from Somalia in 1987, before civil war broke out in that East African country. Ismail earned a doctorate in chemistry at the University of Massachusetts and focused on combating drug-resistant bacteria.
Today, he is an Eden Prairie-based yogurt entrepreneur, in his fourth year developing and building
the Ziwa brand of drinkable, nutritious yogurts.
And it has been a struggle at times.
“My wife, Asha, thinks I’m a lunatic,” conceded Ismail, who has often gone without a paycheck. “I have an unlimited vision but limited resources. It has been challenging. But I am an entrepreneur and hanging in there. I want to realize my American dream.”