9 Year Old Impresses at AgStart PitchFest Finals
At first, 17 well-respected agriculture innovation technology companies were selected as qualified to enter the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance's (SARTA) "AgStart Innovation" venture competition.
From among those companies, six were selected to compete in the "AgStart PitchFest," before judges in a "Shark Tank"-like venture competition on September 19, 2013, at University of California, Davis. Of the six articulate, passionate, and knowledgeable CEOs "pitching" to the SARTA judges that night, only ONE had an 8:00 pm bedtime!
And he nailed it!
Nine-year-old Entrepreneur Nicolas Come, inventor of the, "Nicolas' Garden" Mobile App and digital platform, represented his company himself - without adult accompaniment - at SARTA's upcoming, "AgStart PitchFest Finals;" and was selected by the judges to be one of the final three companies to "pitch" in front of key agriculture and technology stakeholders/investors at SARTA's "AgStart Innovation Showcase," on October 16, 2013; as well as receive a scholarship to attend the U.C. Davis Childs Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship's Food, Ag, and Health Entrepreneurship Academy, on October 22 - 24, 2013.
Nicolas Come, the Sacramento-area third-grader, who just four months ago launched a company to encourage healthier eating among his generation (and took his "Farm-to-Fork" advocacy, all the way to the President of the United States), plans to again "pitch" by himself - without adult accompaniment -- against his final other two adult CEO competitors, at the October 16, 2013 "Showcase" before an audience of hundreds. The Wednesday, October 16, 2013, SARTA "AgStart Innovation Showcase" competition will take place at: McClellan Business Park Conference Center , 5411 Luce Ave, McClellan, CA, 95652.
"Most people don't know that my 'Nicolas' Garden' App was always supposed to be 'Farm-to-Fork'," Nicolas reports. "With the team I recruited from Hacker Lab, we created the 'Fork' part. But now we need more funding and content partners for the 'Farm' part. If we win the 'AgStart Showcase,' competition, we can build the 'Farm' part of my company, and teach more kids where their food comes from, and why healthy food is better for them! I want my company and App to teach kids about growing their own gardens and farming, no matter where they live. I think a lot of kids are like I was: picky eaters. But once I started growing my own healthy food, I tried more of it, and liked it. I think 'Nicolas' Garden' can do that for other kids, too!"
A self-proclaimed, "Picky Eater," Nicolas Come decided to develop an entirely new, digital business model to support healthier living and fight childhood obesity late last year. Knowing how much he enjoyed learning to grow his own food, and cooking the resulting, healthy ingredients with his family, he outlined and diagramed an idea for a mobile application and supporting technology that would be, "by kids; for kids" -- allowing them to share healthy recipes, cooking tips, and other healthy options, in an easy, fun, digital format.
Convinced and emboldened that his idea was important, Nicolas bravely pitched his idea (by himself, while standing on a chair) to over 100 technical experts during a Sacramento Hacker Lab "Hackathon" (a weekend coding competition). At the Hackathon, Nicolas recruited a team of designers, computer programmers, and content specialists; and ultimately developed the concept for Nicolas' digital platform and business, known as, "Nicolas' Garden."
Now "live," the Nicolas' Garden website and mobile App allows children and families to share healthy, family- and kid-friendly recipes, create meal plans and shopping lists, learn easy and fun cooking tips, play health-related games, and link to other healthy programs and services. In the next generation of the App, kids will earn points and badges for interactivity, growing gardens, making healthy choices, and participation. A map of local healthy eating events, farms, and venues will be available to support farmers markets, restaurants, and other locations and activities promoting family-friendly, farm-to-fork programs.
In the continued effort to promote the use of his Mobile App, as well as his website, Facebook page and Twitter account, Nicolas has become quite the accomplished chef! He has appeared on numerous media programs conducting cooking demonstrations of his favorite recipes. He has also been interviewed by dozens of print publications; in fact, in the merely four months that the App has been, "live", Nicolas has generated over nine million, positive media impressions worldwide, including media in Japan, India, Malaysia, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and many more. Nicolas has even shared his message (and his tiny business card), with the President of the United States! The White House selected Nicolas' photo with the President as the, "White House Photo of the Day!"
Convinced that that Nicolas' Garden Mobile App should be a vital tool to support the "Farm-to-Fork" initiative, Nicolas recently presented a cooking demonstration before over 100 teachers at an "Ag in the Classroom" Conference, inspiring instructors to incorporate his App in their classroom curriculum. He was also twice a featured chef at the California State Fair. Additionally, he is partnering with Chef Adam Pechal to present the "Farm-to-Fork Family Food Feud" event, as the Opening Act on the Main Stage of the "Farm-to-Fork Festival," on September 28, 2013.
"I know the 'AgStart Innovation Showcase,' is going to be a hard competition," concludes Nicolas. "And maybe some people won't understand right away why 'Nicolas' Garden' should be considered Ag innovation. But think about it; if no one wants to eat their fruits and vegetables in the future, who's going to buy from our farmers? I am trying to help kids like fruits and vegetables now, so that they will grow up, and feed the healthy food to their families, and buy more from our farmers. And we are using a Mobile App and digital technology to do it! What's more innovative than that? These judges are business people and entrepreneurs like me. I'm sure if I explain it to them myself, they'll understand that 'Nicolas' Garden' should be the winner of the AgStart Showcase!"
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