A chocolaty career takes off at Blue Ridge Food Ventures

Theresa Green, CEO of UliMana, in a video about her chocolate company

You could call Theresa Green, founder and CEO of UliMana, a chocolate chemist. After all, it wasn’t a sweet tooth that inspired her to create a chocolate company. It was the chemical compounds in raw cacao that got her wheels excitedly turning—literally.

“From the moment I tried raw cacao nibs back in 2005, when the first raw chocolate became available, I knew it was something amazing,” Green shares. “Cacao is a natural mood elevator, and I liked the effect it had on my brain.”

A Sweet Start-Up [at Blue Ridge Food Ventures]

With the happy hormones swirling, she hit the specialty food ground running that same year. Fittingly, she called her first product Nirvana Manna, a jar of creamy raw chocolate ready to be eaten by the sublime spoonful.

And serendipitously, she began production the same year that Blue Ridge Food Ventures opened our doors. It was a match made in commercial kitchen heaven.

“Blue Ridge Food Ventures made it possible for me to grow into a national brand,” says Green. “I’ve met some amazing food producers and have received priceless guidance.”

Eight years later, UliMana has transcended into a full line of raw cacao products, including truffles in every flavor imaginable: peppermint, espresso, coconut, and the list goes on.

Healthy, Handmade

It’s not just the raw aspect that makes these truffle treats something to bliss out about. They’re handmade using “the healthiest organic ingredients available.”

That includes, of course, the cacao—which Green sources from deep in the jungles of Peru and the heart of Bali—as well as alternative sweeteners like agave and palm sugar. “That makes UliMana products a low glycemic option for those with blood sugar issues,” she notes.

Having tasted success, Green is paying it forward. She’s currently helping other entrepreneurs start businesses online by sewing and selling a line of bras and yoga wear she designed.

“My vision is that single moms can work from home and start a business without any capital upfront.”

In other words, UliMana is well on the way to achieving their mission to “co-create a more joyful and prosperous environment for all living matter.”

We’re proud these products hatched right here in our culinary incubator.

Hear more of Theresa's story

Hear more about how Theresa got her start at Blue Ridge Food Ventures. View our video here (shown under production in the above photo).

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