Sometimes, the ideas posed at #MashupWkd all share a similar theme. In Yarmouth, this was definitely the case as many of the ideas were centred on a well-known problem that happens in fishing communities: Herring boxes and how they’re discarded. Simple, cardboard, wax covered herring boxes. That, when finished are thrown into the garbage and more than likely end up in a landfill at the end of their lifecycle. Recognizing the obvious problem that this causes, Mashup Lab was excited to hear some of the innovative ideas that were pitched to combat this issue. We had many NSCC students together at Ignite Labs in NSCC Burridge campus that had simple, creative ideas and worked together to tackle the problem these herring boxes are creating if not utilized more mindfully.
One of the group’s ideas had a tourist-centred approach as they hoped to up-cycle the cardboard and repurpose it for novelty items with a distinctive Nova Scotian flare. Another team in the room wanted to change how the cardboard ended its life and eliminate the waste associated with the product altogether. With teams created the students worked collectively all weekend to push those ideas forward.
Teams worked on their business models Friday evening and then returned in the morning to get back to work. What Mashup Lab saw from this group of students was a pedal-to-the-metal approach all weekend so that their potential businesses and products would be as shaped as possible when presenting to the panel of entrepreneurial judges at the end of the event. What we observed from these students was nothing but inspiring, which could be easily seen be their hard work and pure focus on helping solve a problem in their community.
The group that hoped to create tourist-aimed novelty products with the cardboard were on the phone sourcing contacts that would be able to print on their wax-coated cardboard and coming up with designs to be printed. Also, hard at work on their business model canvas to ensure that their products would deliver on the type of relationship their potentials customers would expect.
The other group had an idea to turn the herring boxes’ cardboard into a combustible fire starter product that could be utilized in the campground fire pit. The group was hard at work creating prototypes of their product that they hope they could take to market. Working together to create a mini production line so they could present as many prototypes as possible was interesting to watch, to say the least!
After working on these ideas for over 12 hours over the course of one weekend, it was time to present! Both groups were ready to stand up in front of the crowd we had at Ignite Labs and share what they were working on!
The panel of entrepreneurs we had as judges were really inspired by the ideas these students had shared in order to help solve a real issue their community was facing. The feedback that they were given was exploratory for both groups. For the first group, why does the product need to be only branded as Nova Scotian, as herring is fished all across the Atlantic provinces, they could expand the scope of their brand even further… amazing! Then the group that hoped to turn the herring boxes into a combustible product were asked why specifically towards campgrounds? That’s a product that could provide heat and warmth to customers, year-round!
It’s amazing to see what can come out of a weekend where people take the time to share ideas, work together and put things into practice that can turn real-world into viable business ideas! See you at the next #MashupWkd!
Working with over 1,000 Entrepreneurs starting and growing businesses from rural communities gives you perspective. Here is where I share the things I'm learning through my work with Mashup Lab. This is my Rural Perspective; I'd love to hear yours.