An Incubator – Zach

This week has been quite successful in terms of business: I’m joining an Incubator!

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The logo for Ashoka’s Catapult program.

On Sunday, I submitted an application to the Catapult Incubator run by Ashoka’s Youth Venture. The organization helps young entrepreneurs with ideas and potential gain momentum and develop their businesses. The Catapult Incubator program is a four-month program for high school students with a business. Similar to a bird sitting on an egg until it hatches, an incubator helps companies develop and finally launch. The program starts in November and goes through until March, with three three-day weekends of meetings and workshopping in person at the University of Pennsylvania: one each in November, January and March.

I’m really looking forward to participating in the Incubator. It offers mentors, connections and information that I really need. I’m trying to incorporate soon and figure out the procedure of launching phytoplankton as a food, so this is an invaluable resource. The program also has two types of applicants: free agents and founders. I applied as a founder with Nannofood with option to take on a few “free agents”. They are people who applied to join a team, and would help continue the business. Overall, I am really looking forward to participating in the Catapult Incubator. If you’re interested in the Incubator, you can take a look at the website: http://www.catapultincubator.org/

 

As far as the phytoplankton itself goes, I have made some great progress this week. I have found a few incredible resources, one of which discusses the main reason phytoplankton has not been used as a food source. All single-celled organisms have high amounts of DNA and RNA. These compounds are digestible, however in high amounts they break down into toxic chemicals that are then absorbed into the bloodstream. It can create adverse reactions including pain and build-up in joints, but as far as I know is not fatal. I am searching for a way to further break these compounds down using some sort of artificial enzyme or chemical. I have found something promising used in many commercial food products and is, according to the FDA, GRAS or generally recommended as safe. I am purposely being vague here, not because I don’t want to let everybody know about what I am doing, but more because it is still a long shot. I have to dabble a bit in organic chemistry to make it work, but I am excited.

For those interested in how phytoplankton is cultured, I have found some instructions without diving into the deep-end of large scientific words requiring a google search in every sentence. It is not the exact same procedure we are using to grow phytoplankton, but it’s a great rundown. If you’re interested in that, the link is here.

 

Today’s motivational quote/image represents my week. I was a bit doubtful of being accepted into the Catapult program, and you could say that I feel like I am in uncharted waters with the new advances on neutralizing any problematic nutritional aspects of phytoplankton, but I have to keep going and maintain a positive mindset.

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Until next week,


Zach

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2 thoughts on “An Incubator – Zach

  1. Carrie Brodsky

    Zach –
    I’m delighted to learn that your application to the Ashoka Catapult Incubator was accepted! I look forward to hearing how this aspect of your project develops!
    T Carrie

    Reply
  2. joezhu2014

    Congratulation on being accepted to the program! As I am interested in being an entrepreneur in the future, I hope your experience in the program can provide me with some insights into how to create a business as well as how to achieve long-term goals. It would be great if you could keep updating on your incubator program experience and elaborate what you are hoping to accomplish.

    Reply

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