But we were so lucky that in 6 months after starting the development of our service, we were invited to the Mentor Capital Network business accelerator. During the next 5 months, we had worked with mentors and tutors. And from every one of them we heard that we need to focus on one clear and simple thing: what exactly do we want to supply to our customers. Time which we spent at MCN was very important and helpful for us as entrepreneurs and for our business a whole. At the end of the program, we got a chance to do a pitch at MCN’s annual gathering in New York City at the United Nations. It does not matter that we have not received an investment offer at that time. Participation in the program and an opportunity to present our vision to a wider audience were extremely valuable on their own. Nevertheless, we continued to build our platform, based on the idea that was in our heads. As planned, we have built an online marketplace to bring together producers of fresh, natural, organic products and consumers.
An old saying goes: "You are what you eat!". And modern formula "Eat local. Think global" perfectly complements this axiom. More and more people are beginning to understand it. This is why, perhaps, small and medium-sized farmers, food co-ops, restaurants, catering and chefs, farmer markets in the US and Europe have so enthusiastically accepted us. The desire to attain access to natural, farm-produced products can no longer be viewed as just a trend. They need to become easily accessible and fairly priced.
Today we belong to two business incubators (Bethesda Green and 1776), but recommendations to simplify our service are becoming rarer. People increasingly ask us: "What new options have you introduced recently?". And we keep adding new exciting features every week.
Which brings us to a new project that we’re launching in cooperation with several non-profit organizations, including “Unsung” and Montgomery County Food Council. “Stop Hunger” is a new distinct section of our service. Using our platform, we try to help people that may have surplus food (including restaurants, caterers, grocery stores) to give it to those that cannot feed their families and often stay hungry. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of hunger in this world, not only in the developing countries of Asia and Africa (as evidenced by the UN hunger map), but also in the affluent and wealthy Europe and the US . And we’re looking to play a small role in helping to solve this problem facing the world.
Using our Internet platform, people that would like to provide targeted financial assistance can do it directly to the personal account of a user registered to receive such assistance. And it does not matter where this user is located geographically: in the US, Peru or Zambia. Those that donate their money, will always be able to monitor when, how and how much of their donation has been spent, because their donations can be spent only on food and only on our website.
In addition to this initiative, we launched another social project on our platform: ”Donate to Farmer”. Now any farmer that needs financial, material or some other assistance (to recover from a disaster, buy new equipment, build or renovate farm buildings, consulting, etc.) can register to be able to accept direct donations on 1000ecofarms.com. Donors can also choose to help in exchange for a share of a future harvest or production.
Perhaps someone will say: "You are again losing focus !" But we believe that just as it is impossible for humans to survive by focusing solely on consumption of a single type of food, modern food startups, that need to grow and scale should not be limited to supplying only narrowly targeted services. The world is rapidly changing. Modern society is focused on homo informaticus. Today, for less than a dollar a day a person can get unlimited access to the Internet and consume the unlimited volume of information (consisting of advertising primarily). But we cannot afford to get even breakfast for the same amount of money. And tomorrow, when the Internet access will become free and the army of robots will replace people in many sectors of the economy, would some new mobile app or another 10 Gb of free online advertising be able to reduce the number of hungry people or replace even one fresh apple or a slice of bread?
We are certain that modern humans are not only concerned with making a living, but also with having a sense of broad social responsibility. We hope that our new services will help our users to, at least in part, fulfill their desire to bring positive change in the world. And that is the focus of our endeavor!