Budding Nutrition Businesses Get a Boost

Budding Nutrition Businesses Get a Boost

Friedman School staff member Robin Shrestha, N15, and teammate Sapana Adhikari of Smartbakery won first place in the first Tufts Food and Nutrition Entrepreneurship Competition on April 12.

Shrestha, a project manager at the Friedman School’s Nutrition Innovation Lab, and Adhikari won $15,000 for their proposal to establish a bakery that would sell cheap, healthy lentil curry in fortified bread bowls at a school in a rural village in their native Nepal.

“We’re extremely grateful that everyone thought it was a good idea. To have this support really means a lot to us,” said Shrestha. “It’s such a great opportunity and it’s wonderful that they’re encouraging entrepreneurship here at Friedman.”

Twenty-four teams submitted their business ideas for the competition, which was sponsored by the Friedman School in conjunction with the Tufts Gordon Institute but open to the entire Tufts University community. The seven finalists who presented gave five-minute pitches and answered questions from the judges (and in a few cases, from audience members) for ten minutes.

Second place was a tie between two app ideas. One is OptDiet, a Chinese personal nutrition app proposed by Friedman students Xinge Ding and Yan Bai; Ying-Ju Li, F16; and MIT alum Perng-Hwa Kung. The other, presented by Dylan Anderson-Berens, N17, Ulruch Dossou, and Lauren Betz of GleTech, is a mobile app linking small farmers in Benin, in West Africa, to buyers in an online market and coordinating cold-chain solutions to keep food fresh during transportation. Each team took home $3,750.

“This entire competition and hearing the other contestants really inspired us to move forward,” said Ding. “We’re really passionate about this project and we’re convinced we can make a difference.”

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