A team of 34 high school students from British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario has been named the SHAD Innovators of the Year at the SHAD - John Dobson Entrepreneurship Cup.
The team formed this summer at SHAD Queen’s, one of 12 host university campuses for the STEAM-based enrichment program, to create Farms2Forks, an online e-commerce platform directly connecting small scale farmers and processors to households.
People who are food insecure can order their groceries online, get a 30 per cent discount and have the food delivered directly to their door so they can access quality food at prices they can afford.
“Before SHAD, most of us had no idea the extent of the food security problem in Canada,” says Akash Jain, a grade 11 student and team leader for Farms2Forks. “Many families in Canada are struggling to provide nutritious food to their families on a consistent basis, which poses a number of concerns, especially to children who are still developing.”
The team reached out to hundreds of small scale farmers and processors around the country as well as the Dairy Farmers of Ontario. In addition, several prominent business and political leaders encouraged them that Farm2Forks could be a viable business.
The SHAD - John Dobson Entrepreneurship Cup awards were presented on Oct. 27 at Ryerson University in Toronto. Named after one of SHAD’s long-serving supporters who was passionate about youth and entrepreneurship, the cup showcases the exceptional talent and innovative ideas of SHAD Fellows who participated in the enrichment program in 2016.
The program focused around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) is designed to help top high school students reach their potential. SHAD fellows were challenged to innovate to come up with an original product or service to solve a current economic or social problem.
As Canada prepares to mark 150 years, students were challenged to come up with new ideas to improve food security and came up with many interesting and novel ideas.
“It is so impressive to see the kinds of novel ideas top high school students come up with in only a few months when they collaborate at SHAD,” says Tim Jackson, President and Chief Executive Officer of SHAD. He adds, “Many of the students told me this experience has given them added confidence to go back into their communities and to make a difference.”
In addition to the SHAD Innovators of the Year, awards were handed out in seven categories with Farm2Forks winning three: Best Application of Scientific Principles, Best Video Pitch and Best Application of Theme.
For more information about the program visit the SHAD website.