Globe and Mail “The Challenge” Submission

As an entrepreneur I often found myself filling out grant proposals and feeling like the message just disappears when I press send. So – I decided to write my responses for one of them here and to share them with you.

Let me know what you think.

HOW WOULD RECEIVING A $100,000 BUSINESS GRANT HELP YOU OVERCOME YOUR CHALLENGE?

Having won a business plan competition with my father and brother in 2012, then participated in Invest Ottawa’s GrindSpaceXL training program and purchased my family set up then tested all the equipment needed we had started on our way toward building a business – the worst happened.

During road construction – an accident knocked out power to our neighborhood. Power was lost for long enough that all the high value animals and cultures died. We were between a phase when we were testing equipment / processes and the next where we would focus on rapid growth the animals. We hadn’t invested in insurance either in the form of a backup generator nor insurance on the animals (which we had been told at the time weren’t insurable).

I say this not as a complaint, but rather to set the stage appropriately for the opportunity. We already have the space, equipment, knowledge and plan in place. We just need some labor to help get everything up and running again. The product is a jump start on research into a valuable branch of biotechnology including human safe food mass-food production and water purification techniques.

We think algae can be cheaper than beef within 3 years.

WHAT RESULTS DO YOU EXPECT TO ACHIEVE?

Immediate Expenses – $5,000:
– Specific cultures of animals
– ~200 Man Hours of unskilled labor

For a Year – $50,000:
– Training a full time staff member for a labor position @ $12/hr wage ($15/hr+ cost)

Over the course of a year – $45,000:
– Facility operating expenses until we break even.

With this we expect to do many things. We expect to feed people, clean water, reduce air pollution, decorate homes and start working to build, and continue building, Canada’s image as a leader in both biotechnology and entrepreneurship.

DESCRIBE HOW YOU WILL INCORPORATE THE FOLLOWING VALUES INTO YOUR BUSINESS:

1) community investment/commitment to charities

We hope to build a company which teaches a skill to youth and gets them interested in studies towards a profession in biotechnology.

As we grow food as one of our products and aim to move into producing bulk human food at a low cost we hope to be able to produce a surplus.

We feel that properly managed aquatic and aquaponic systems can help people become more self-sufficient and protect communities against environmental unpredictability.

2) putting customers first

We want to build the tools to help people grow their own food. We want them to be able to save money and learn new skills. We want this because it’s the right thing to do to build stronger, more resilient communities.

We can’t think of a better way to put customers first than to put our customers in control.

3) innovation

In order for this dream to properly grow, we need to share what we learn and continue to learn. We feel that the best way to grow and innovate is to build a community with the right tools working on the right problems.