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The Greenhouse: an incubator-cum-venture-capital-fund

The Greenhouse is a partly government and partly privately funded incubator and venture capital fund for start-ups that focus on improving the connection between food production and food consumption.

Photo of Arjan Tupan
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As an incubator, The Greenhouse could provide start-ups with help in setting up their business, advise from seasoned entrepreneurs, a place to meet with other start-ups, maybe even temporary office space. Trainings on business plan making, use of social networks etcetera would also be available. The incubator part is a real greenhouse for entrepreneurs that are trying to make a business out of connecting food production to food consumption.

The venture capital fund provides funding to help start-ups grow. For this, the model of the Pepsi Refresh project is used. Start-ups enter their plans in a platform and the people of Queensland can vote for the best ideas. Convincing people to vote for an idea, can be an indicator of how well a start-up is able to convince people to buy the product. Having funding decisions crowd-sourced like this will also help mitigate the risk of The Greenhouse becoming too politicized.

Start-ups can apply for funding in several business focus categories, like: education, retail, organic production, technological platform. Also, there are in each of these categories funding levels they can apply for: small (up to $500), medium ($500 - $2500), large ($2500 - $5000) and extra large ($5000 - $15000).

Winning funding will also mean that The Greenhouse takes a share in the company equal to the amount of funding.

Funding for The Greenhouse will come partly from the Queensland government, and partly from private investors. Start-ups that have won funding and have proven to be successful later on (say after 5 years) could be required to buy the shares back from The Greenhouse, or should allow The Greenhouse to sell it's share to fund itself with a profit.

The Greenhouse will serve as a hub for local food entrepreneurs to network, learn and generate business.

There are probably additions or improvements that can be made to this concept (especially the logo, I'm not a designer), so feel free to do just that in the comments (or create an improved concept yourself).

1 comment

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Photo of An Old Friend

I'll tag!

Regarding your comment about marketing, I agree. My intent was to list the parties that would be involved.

Your concept's emphasis on funding, and open voting, is great. Letting the market decide is usually the most powerful evidence of an idea's feasibility.

The Farmers Marketing Institute (FMI) focuses more on local distribution of products, as opposed to venture funding for new idea. In a healthy business ecosystem, the presence of both would likely have a multiplier effect.