This pitch has been selected to receive a €30k grant and six months of mentoring to develop its project further.
We wish to do something about the food challenge in the 6th district of Athens: Offer accessible healthy food to local families and fight malnutrition of the vulnerable groups, while contributing to a sustainable food cycle, waste management and food waste reduction.
For that, we want to create a space in the 6th district where:
1) we will be serving fresh juices in affordable prices at the visitors of the space
2) we will be packaging juices in glass bottles to sell them through other points of sale. Our juices will be freshly-squeezed, raw, non-pasteurized, something unique in Athens. It's the real thing. We want to make these super-fresh bottled juices accessible to the residents of the 6th district, especially children. How will we do that? First, by selecting Points of Sale in the local district, like school canteens and small outlets (at the moment there is no real fresh juice drinks available at schools!). Also, we aim at exploring the concept of 1+1: Selling our bottled non-pasteurized juices in multiple locations (e.g. Museums shops, Foundations' canteens, canteens of big companies and super-markets with CSR programs) and using the revenues to subsidize the cost of juice for local children in the 6th district. For every 330ml juice sold --> one 250ml juice to local children for only €0,50 (something like the 1+1 Toms shoes concept).
3) we will be offering workshops/events teaching locals how to prepare healthy nutritious drinks and meals, how to reduce food waste and how to move towards practices of zero waste in their daily life.
All the above will be done based on our core principles:
- low prices for all: democratize healthy fresh juices, make them accessible to all. Not premium products aimed only at the high-end sophisticated consumers.
- saving and using produce to make our juices that otherwise would be left to rot or sent to landfills
- getting fruits & vegetable directly from local farmers that respect the environment and the people
- no food waste. Any food left-overs given to local charities.
- sustainable food cycle: we want to close the loop: farmers supply us fruits and vegetables --> we make the juices and sell them --> we divert food-scraps (e.g. orange peels) from landfills, we create compost and biogas --> we give compost back to farmers for their cultivation and we use the biogas for energy.
- zero-waste mentality during the whole process of producing, delivering, consuming.
- employee fair treatment and transparency: hire people from vulnerable groups, share information & revenues with all employees, retain our open-book policy, train employees about technical on-the-job skills, soft skills, customer service, basic intro to Marketing and Finance.
Our solution has already been tested to a good degree. We have deployed it to some extent since a few years ago. In 2014 we started a juice-bar in the center of Athens (not in the 6th district) which is quite successful and commercially sustainable. That has been quite an experience! We've learned so much in all aspects of running such a business. We know the market good, we know the competition, the suppliers, we know what customers want. Now we want to deploy our concept in its full extent, as described in our Solution above.
Our biggest strength is the experience gained, the know-how, plus the networking all these years with stakeholders, suppliers, organizations, people. Our weakness at the moment is that we do not have enough (wo)manpower to run this new extended project, we need to grow our team in order to grow our impact and business.
There is no actual competition in our area. There is no juice-bar in the 6th district, nor is there a non-pasteurized juice drink offered in Athens (there is only one very small private company selling non-pasteurized juices in very few locations in Athens' rich suburbs. They have a very different positioning, premium expensive product aiming at upper-class consumers).
We wish for competitors actually. We wish to set an example, a new paradigm. Just like after we started our juice-bar; we were soon copied by people who opened juice-bars. Technically those were competitors to us. But for us, this gave to more people in more areas a healthy fresh option in a decent price. Before us, there was no such option in Athens. So, we see them as fellow contributors to bringing more healthy and nutritious food to people. The same way, we wish for local businesses and healthy food initiatives to copy us in the 6th district too, (and ideally to level-up their operations regarding food-waste and zero-waste), so that to see inadequate food options and malnutrition be fought there as well.
We aim at creating a self-sustained business that will be supported solely on the revenues from its customers. When this grant is up, we don't wish to look for another grant from a foundation or something. We will be having a sustainable business kept alive by its customers.