MacEwan University's School of Business welcomes Kristina Botelho, founder of plant-based café, kb&co, as the university’s 36th Allard Chair in Business, an honorary position that recognizes a distinguished business and community leader.

Individuals selected for the Allard Chair in Business possess exemplary business acumen, demonstrate remarkable leadership skills and have made significant contributions to the community. As part of the Chair in Business initiative, students and faculty members will have the opportunity to meet with Botelho during classroom visits, lectures and special events where she will share her experiences and the insights she has gained throughout her career.

Past Allard Chairs include Cam Naqvi, Bill Comrie, Simon O'Byrne, Teresa Spinelli, Irv Kipnes and Naseem Bashir. Each has brought something unique and personal to their experiences as Allard Chair.

“Like all of our past recipients, Kristina Botelho is a shining example of a business owner and community leader. Her approach to business, her skills and the level of success she has achieved make her a perfect example of the kind of business leader we want our students to learn from and emulate,” says Dr. Annette Trimbee, president and vice-chancellor. “She has built her career on hard work and continuously striving to achieve bigger goals. At the same time, Kristina’s actions to help the community she is part of are worthy of being recognized and celebrated.”

Botelho’s career shows an upward trajectory that is an example of commitment to continuous improvement and growth leading to impressive achievements. She has been a franchisee, a consultant and a manager both in the restaurant and commercial property industries. She has used that knowledge to establish her own franchise when she opened her first kb&co, a plant-based café that is meat-free, dairy-free and egg-free. Under her direction, kb&co has expanded to seven locations in Alberta and British Columbia.

"I’m extremely pleased that Kristina Botelho will be 36th Allard Chair in Business," says Dr. Richard Perlow, dean of the School of Business. “Kristina is an excellent example of a business owner who does everything she can to build relationships with those in the downtown core, some of whom are facing economic and societal challenges. In that way she exemplifies what MacEwan is all about. MacEwan is Edmonton’s downtown university, and we aim to support the community that we are so proud to be part of. Kristina has an inspiring story and has a powerful message our business students need to hear."

About Kristina Botelho

Kristina Botelho was born and raised in Kelowna B.C. and moved to Edmonton in 1997. After studying business, she ran a Quiznos outlet for several years before becoming the director of operations for Quiznos Canada. She then held positions with Booster Juice and Oxford Properties.

During this time, Botelho obtained a diploma in Natural Health in addition to learning about raw food fundamentals, meditation, and plant-based nutrition. Armed with this knowledge, a strong work ethic and an entrepreneurial mindset, she believed it was time to pursue a franchise concept of her own: kb&co.

In 2016, Botelho decided downtown Edmonton was the place to open her first location. She has since opened six others, four in the Edmonton region, one in Calgary and one in her hometown of Kelowna. The franchise has built its reputation on natural-based, non-processed foods while also utilizing social media to maintain a dedicated customer base and appeal to others who have yet to visit a location.

One of Botelho’s proudest accomplishments in business is to have made it through the pandemic without closing any of her locations while holding on to most of her employees, a feat few businesses can claim.

Botelho is committed to spending time in the community and dedicated to helping those in need. She believes that we can take small steps in changing the narrative by acknowledging the pain individuals are experiencing and doing our best to understand the challenges they face, including mental health issues.

Botelho hosts an inner-city donation drive every year around Christmas. All kb&co locations take donations for warm clothing, blankets, gloves, and toques for the month of November. Her team then distributes the clothing along with kb&co lunches to inner-city residents.

She has shared her experiences many times including as a keynote speaker at the Woman in Wealth Gala, as a small business spokesperson for ATB and addressing MacEwan business students. She received the Emerging Entrepreneur Award from Alberta Women Entrepreneurs in 2020.

In her spare time, Botelho enjoys spending time with her young niece as well as her children, aged 15, 21 and 25. She enjoys the outdoors and frequent trips to the mountains, quaint cafés, good food and conversations about big ideas.

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