UNC Nourish recently held a 2-part Ventures Incubator to brainstorm and ultimately create five feasible business plans with the potential to become sustained business ventures. The idea for the Incubator was born out of the recognition by UNC’s Chapter that their success with Hunger Lunch should be replicated in other ventures that are equally sustainable and replicable and that create consistent partnerships with vendors or suppliers while fulfilling a need for students.
Elizabeth Smith, Ventures Director, expressed that the goal behind the Incubator was to “move away from events and focus more on long-term ventures that are built around ventures values and that mirror locally the relationships we build with international partners.”
An important component of the Incubator was to create a space for collaboration between the Chapter and the larger community. As Elizabeth explains, “We also wanted a chance to make connections with people in the area who are more knowledgeable than we are and who, if given the chance, would be receptive to communication with Nourish. For that reason, and to get some fresh juice and make sure it wasn’t just our committee members talking to one another again, we invited ‘VIPs’ from the area who were able to give constructive and realistic advice as we sought to scale down our ideas into business plans. It also gave our committees a chance to interact with these incredible people.”
The five proposals generated out of the Incubator vary from ice cream and coffee to second-hand clothing to environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, and discussions are underway to start a student-run bike repair service. From this point forward, the Chapter plans to carry through with 3-4 ventures already planned for the semester while revamping Hunger Lunch and focusing energy on following through with 1 or 2 ideas from the Incubator.
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