How we won the Social Startup Challenge | TreeDots
Recently, we won the Grand Prize at the Institution of Innovation & Entrepreneurship Social Startup Challenge 2018! Hurrah!
This would not have been possible without the help of our interns Jia Le and Yu Sheng, who also represented us at the competition.
Creating Real Impact
The award was a sign of validation that here at TreeDots, we are doing real work. At the competition, we shared about two of our social impacts: one, reducing food waste; and two, providing affordable food prices to lower-income groups.
At TreeDots, we don’t simply sell to businesses. We also reach out to lower-income groups and ensure that for them, each meal only costs $0.48. Because of that, they are able to meet their required 2 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of meat per day. This was not achievable with the prices at supermarkets.
To top it off, our judges at the competition were active players in the social entrepreneurship scene. It was heartening to know that all our hard work had been recognised.
Tough Times Don’t Last…
As of February 2018, we saved a whopping 1.5 tonnes of food– our biggest achievement to date. We started out with lots of hurdles because we were new to the industry and had to learn everything from scratch. During our first 2 months of operations, we only made $200 in revenue.
However, we pulled through. We continued making refinements and spoke to our advisors. Ultimately, we managed to save so much food in just 6 months. Seeing the impact we made is a huge validation. Previously, we constantly questioned ourselves if we were doing the right thing. Now, we want to make that number grow, and grow exponentially!
…Tough Teams Do
The three of us have varied skill sets and experiences. Hence, we all come in from different angles and that really value-adds to the team. You want different skills and styles of thinking so that you have different ways of approaching a problem.
Cai (also known as Jia Cai) puts on the table the tech skills and expertise that Tylor and I lack. Tylor’s experience in investment banking helps increase our sales and attract potential investors. I go micro, and it helps because I’m handling the operations.
That’s how we value-add each other.
Eliminate all Fear
The startup scene can be very intimidating. Our advice to budding entrepreneurs is: START DOING. If you have an idea, you’d have some things you wanna test- go ahead and test it. Test it and talk to somebody! When you start doing and getting your hands dirty, you’ll eliminate that initial fear.
You WILL face rejection, and that’s okay. If lots of people reject your idea, that’s good too because then you’ll realise that you might be doing certain things the wrong way.
And that’s a wrap! Today, we learned:
- When you’re faced with setbacks, keep refining your idea until it works.
- Work with others with different strengths and skills to bring out the best in your team!
- Have an idea? Start doing now! You’ll overcome your fear once you try!