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The Big Idea

  (Others may call it a mission)

We aspire to increase accessibility of healthy foods for all people. A percentage of our profits go towards donating Banato to communities in need.

<A couple

of pals behind


Jen Chan

CEO & Founder

Jennifer Chan is the founder and president of Banato and a 2019 NPR How I Built This Fellow. She is also a co-founder of Champaign Urbana Business and Engineering Consulting (CUBE) and the parent non-profit entity, Junior Enterprise USA (JE USA), which enables students to perform consulting work for local businesses. In these roles, she aided the expansion of the organization across the United States and increased organization member retention rates. As the leader of the JE USA Alumni Board, she connects working professionals to students for mentorship and professional development workshops. Currently she works as a forensic consultant for a multi-national consulting firm advising clients on identification and mitigation of white-collar crime. Chan graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a MS in Accountancy.

Melanie Iverson

Creative Director & Co-Founder

Melanie Iverson is a Design Consultant for her company MI Design and helped launch the Banato brand. As a Design Coordinator at Cristaux International Chicago, a design agency she works in manufacturing and materials for its awards.  While in Champaign-Urbana Business and Engineering Consulting (CUBE), a not-for-profit consulting firm for small businesses, she was the first Creative Executive. In this role, she founded the Design Team and recruited a team to develop branding for the organization. She continues to help design for startups such as CUBE, 4Here, and her terrarium decor business - Meli’s MiniVerse. Iverson graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a dual degree in Industrial design and Graphic Design.