One of the best industries for starting a small business in 2011, according to Inc. Magazine, is organic food. With that in mind, it looks like a group of U of C students is on the right track to business success.
Seriously, does anything get more organic than insect meat?
The University of Chicago awarded $10,000 to Entom Foods in the CCI Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition. The winning team plans to start a for-profit business that markets and produces insect meat as an attractive, alternative, sustainable food source.
The contest challenged students to create a viable business plan, using technology, to create a business that would have a positive social impact locally, nationally or globally.
Five semi-finalist teams have been working on their ideas since this January when they were awarded $1,000 seed funding. Several of the judges representing financial services, intellectual property, and entrepreneurship industries encouraged the winning team to patent their idea and to prepare to pitch it to venture capitalists, indicating their belief in the innovative and viable nature of their business.
Having won the grand prize of $10,000, the members of Entom Foods will now create their business, which will promote and make accessible entomophagy, or the consumption of insects.
In their presentation, the students explained that insects are a dietary component of nearly 80% of the world’s population, and in some cultures can sell at higher prices than beef. Their problem, however, will be in coming up with a way to produce the insect meat as an attractive product in mass quantities. Entom Foods pointed out that “insect meat is high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol, rich in vitamins, and it contributes significantly less greenhouse gasses than traditional livestock rearing.”
With that reasoning, it sounds hard to resist. But there's a lesson here too - a solid business plan can make the difference. You never know who may be interested.