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Novel Businesses Require Novel Funding

Posted on January 30 2012 | Author: John Pickard

Noted below is a link to an IndieGoGo site for Nicole’s Farm. IndieGoGo is a social capital and "crowdfunding" site for novel, start-up companies. Bioenterprise is currently working with Nicole Huska, founder of Nicole’s Farm, to assist her in proving the business model.

Nicole’s Farm is a pioneer in the development of Small Plot Intensive farms (SPIN) in the Sunshine Coast of BC. Nicole’s plan is to identify 1 acre plots that are currently un-used by landowners and to negotiate a lease of the land for the farming of produce. This land could be a homeowner's back yard or a hydro right-of-way, etc. Nicole's Farm would negotiate the land lease, and prepare the property (fencing, ground prep, irrigation, etc.). Furthermore, they would identify and contract farming staff to tend to the seeding, nurturing, and harvesting of the produce (this staff may be the land owner, but not necessarily). Nicole's Farm would make arrangements with local retailers, restaurants, markets, and food service agencies for the purchase of the produce. Nicole sees this as a franchise model. Each 1-acre farm is forecast to produce $100K in revenue per year through deep bed, no till, multiple crops, and sustainable agriculture practices. $50K is margin after the 1st year costs set-up are absorbed. The proceeds go to the landowner, the farming staff, and to Nicole’s Farm to recover the costs of set-up and management. This is a novel way for Canadians to grow, sell and eat local.

Beyond Nicole’s concept, I think the funding model is intriguing. Much like making charitable contributions to micro-businesses in the 3rd world aimed at getting entrepreneurs their start, IndiGoGo introduces a similar strategy….many “random” partners supporting a business concept that they identify with.

Now, for clarity……I’m not soliciting funds for Nicole. I just find her concept and the IndiGoGo model novel and worth chatting about. A new model for farming combined with grass roots Venture Capital.

I encourage you to visit the Nicole’s Farm and to educate yourself on “crowdfunding”.

John Pickard
Entrepreneur in Residence, Bioenterprise

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