We face a global nutrition crisis. The food system now plays the single largest role in both health and the environment, and contributes to disparities and social injustice, threatens national security, strangles government budgets, and reduces competitiveness of U.S. businesses and the global economy.
The problems we face today will not be entirely solved by the solutions of yesterday or today. At the Friedman School, we recognize that entrepreneurial thinking and action will be crucial to generate novel solutions for the future. Following our strategic plan, we are creating a hub of nutrition entrepreneurship and innovation at Tufts, where students, faculty, scientists, companies small and large, advisers, and funders can come together to create new strategies and approaches for a healthier, sustainable, and more equitable food supply.
We view entrepreneurship as not synonymous with business or profit, but as the bringing together of a novel idea, human capital, and other resources to create something new.
The four pillars of our initiative are:
- A graduate-student Nutrition Entrepreneurship program, in collaboration with the Tufts Gordon Institute, including new courses, workshops, internships, mentoring, and food-focused competitions.
- Partnerships with major food-business accelerators, such as Food-X, IndieBio, and MassChallenge.
- A growing network of entrepreneurship advisers and mentors to help guide and support our students, faculty, and overall efforts.
- A planned Innovation Council linking diverse companies, established and new, that are prioritizing nutrition innovation and entrepreneurship, including in agriculture, retail, manufacturing, restaurants, supplements, health care, life insurance, and technology.
Ultimately, our vision is to inspire a new physical ecosystem of small and large pioneering companies around the Friedman School in downtown Boston—a new “Silicon Valley” for food innovation and entrepreneurship for a healthier, more equitable, and sustainable food system. We view entrepreneurship as not synonymous with business or profit, but as the bringing together of a novel idea, human capital, and other resources to create something new. This may include an innovative product, company, organization, or other effort including social and nonprofit endeavors. I invite you to join the Friedman School’s efforts for food entrepreneurship and innovation. For more information and to get involved, visit nutrition.tufts.edu/entrepreneurship.
Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H.