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Success Stories

Raphael Harlan


About my business

Raphael's Donuts is based in Pontiac, Michigan and was born in Flint in 2014, inspired by the founder's late adoptive mom's history of Type 2 Diabetes. Raphael's Donuts is the world's first diabetic-safe, allergy-safe, gluten-free, vegan donut brand. Their donuts and donut ballz are low-glycemic, baked with chickpea flour, and feature 12  flavors year-round (including 3 low net-carb flavors). Their donuts have no refined sugars, soy, yeast, GMOs, tree nuts, peanuts or coconuts. They're health-beneficial and delicious to many, including diabetics and vegans, and may help lower & stabilize blood sugar levels. They are sold online for shipping, home delivery, pick-up  and wholesale, and also are currently available in 9 retailers across 3 states: Michigan, Indiana, and California.
Pontiac | MI

My Mentors

  • Kevin Deverell, Delivery Manager at Accenture
  • Thomas Semaan, Senior Manager at Accenture

Business milestones achieved

  • Funding

Business mentoring story

As an entrepreneur, Raphael has always been passionate about healthy eating and living. His inspiration came from his late adoptive mother's history with Type 2 Diabetes, which led him to start Raphael's Donuts, a business that offers diabetic-safe, allergy-safe gluten-free vegan donuts and donut balls. In the 8 years since its launch, Raphael's Donuts has grown in popularity, with increased sales, press exposure, and recognition for its positive impact on fans' lives, health, and lifestyles.

Raphael had the opportunity to work with two business advisors, Thomas Semaan and Kevin Deverell, both from Accenture, who provided mentorship and guidance through the platform. Thomas, who is based in London, England, provides support to entrepreneurs in various stages of their business, ranging from the ideation and planning stage to early and established businesses, and was able to bring  his extensive experience in the Food and Beverage industry to the conversation. And Kevin leveraged his extensive and diverse work experience bringing products to market across numerous industries from industrial oil and gas and power, to sales of online digital products, to support Raphael as he continues to ideate and develop his unique food business.

During their discussions, Raphael shared his story of the inspiration behind his business, Raphael's Donuts. He spoke about his love and passion for healthy eating, living, and baking, and his desire to create a diabetic-safe, allergy-safe, gluten-free vegan donut that could positively impact people's health and lifestyle. His passion for creating a healthier alternative to traditional donuts touches everyone who meets and interacts with him, as evidenced by the growth and success of Raphael's Donuts over its eight-year history. Recent highlights include increased sales, popularity of his products, press exposure, and a positive impact on the health of his fans.

Thomas and Kevin were supportive of Raphael's business vision and were particularly interested in helping him expand the manufacturing and distribution of his products. They were also keenly aware that part of Raphael's successful expansion will require more funding, and offered advice to support him on that journey. Raphael was grateful for their willingness to cast their votes for his business in Sky's the Limit's monthly $2,500 business grant pitch contest, and overall support of his capital-raising efforts to help him expand into more retailers, and looks forward to even greater success this year!

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