Where It All Started

wicking-boxes

Back in 2015, for one of my uni subjects, Impact through Science (Global Challenges unit), in small teams we were required to start up an enterprise which we pitched in week 12 of semester 2 for seed money.

Christie, myself and now former co-founder Ned came up with our enterprise called ‘Living Books’. Initially we were ambitious and wanted Living Books to be a children’s education book. Below is a blurb we commonly used:

‘Living Books’ is a series of seed containing books to encourage children and families to get back in touch with plants. Through our first book, children will engage with the garden, the responsibility attached to it and healthy eating, providing a vital educational resource to engage with.

During the semester we were in the process of designing our first book. It involved instructions on how to grow kid-friendly plants, recipes with your own grown veggies, key fundamental scientific principles as well as small envelopes of the seeds inside. Our plan was to have a book that would be engaging with many activities to get involved in through the use of vibrant colours, textures and fun interactive diagrams.

Throughout the semester, both Christie and I practise pitched at Inspire9, a coworking space in Richmond, Victoria. This involved getting constructive feedback from known Australian entrepreneurs for how we could better improve our idea.

Pitching at Inspire9. Source: https://twitter.com/MonashGC/status/651682623484334080

We had multiple opportunities to pitch at Inspire9 which prepared us for the big pitch night, at Monash Science Advanced – Global Challenges’ inaugural LaunchPad Awards.

In order to gain credibility for our idea I contacted Ros Gleadow, former President of the Australian Society of Plant Scientists (ASPS), who was happy to help promote our book at their annual meeting for marketing purposes.

The team and I were also in talks of creating a crowdfunding campaign to help us publish the book. I have had extensive talks with David Orr, designer and founder of a successful Indiegogo campaign, Mammoth is Mopey, http://igg.me/at/mammothismopey/x to further understand his marketing and sales strategies. David gave me copious amounts of great advice for us to further progress our enterprise.

Mammoth is Mopey Indiegogo Campaign. Source: http://igg.me/at/mammothismopey/x

Finally, when LaunchPad came around. I think it would be safe to say both Christie and I were pleasantly surprised with how it turned out.

Check out this video to get a small snippet of what the night was all about (Start from 4:42):

Christie and I pitched ‘Living Books’ and from the countless times we practiced prior to that night, we pitched our best when it was crunch time.

So what happened?

We were one of the lucky teams to get seed funding! We received $3000 in early January 2016 to help us further progress our enterprise throughout the year.

https://twitter.com/andreapopovic_/status/656783899687649280

Additionally Ned, Christie and I were awarded scholarships to attend the Global Ideas Forum 2015 that following weekend.

https://twitter.com/andreapopovic_/status/656807471558717440

We were strongly recommended by one of the FYA representatives to apply for the Young Social Pioneers program during 2016 and despite the successfulness of our pitch, we were unable to be selected into the program.

Nevertheless during the night we received an extensive list of contacts who wanted to help us or get involved. These included illustrators, publishers, mentors and organisations to partner up with.

https://www.facebook.com/heather.yelland/posts/10153244936742337?pnref=story

All I remember was being so overwhelmed with the support and encouragement from all the guests during the night. It was a great event organised by the GC14’ers and all the team behind the Global Challenges course.

Fast forward to this year and early March 2016.

Christie and I have now decided to change tactics and pivot our efforts. The concept of a seed-containing book was great at the time and we’ve now chosen to create a 1-day fully-inclusive holiday program for kids. It will essentially incorporate everything we wanted in the book, but now taught by program facilitators and conducted over an intense, enjoyable and educational 1-day period.

As weeks progress, we will aim to keep you all informed with further progress and updates.

– Nigel

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