Leah Driscoll will share the story of this start-up enterprise. They're a nonprofit social enterprise with the mission to strengthen communities by increasing access to healthy food. The Innove program just invested in the Mobile Market.
Description: The Twin Cities Mobile Market is a nonprofit grocery store on wheels that brings fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods to “food deserts” and other underserved communities. Our goal is to provide fresh food at or below market prices in order to make healthy food more affordable for those with limited incomes.
“Food deserts” are geographic areas where mainstream grocery stores are either totally absent or inaccessible to low-income shoppers. Instead, these neighborhoods are saturated with convenience stores and fast food restaurants that sell high-calorie, highly-processed junk food.
Research shows that socio-economic factors such as where a person lives impacts their health even more than the healthcare they receive. In the Twin Cities, people living in poverty are more than twice as likely to be obese and to have diabetes. To compound the issue, many low-income people live in food deserts where they don’t have access to food that promotes health. The two largest food deserts in the Twin Cities are North Minneapolis and the East Side of St. Paul where approximately half of residents are poor.
The Twin Cities Mobile Market is currently being developed by two individuals who are passionate about food justice. We believe that access to fruits, vegetables, and other healthy food is a basic right all should have. We have secured half of our initial start-up funding and are working on raising the additional needed funds – approximately $40,000. Our goal is to launch in summer 2013 on St. Paul’s East Side and then expand to North Minneapolis.
The Twin Cities Mobile Market works through community partners, local farmers, and other food suppliers to purchase produce at wholesale, bulk prices. Because we are a nonprofit social enterprise, we'll mark up our prices just enough to cover our basic operational costs, and these costs are much lower than those of a stand-alone grocery store. As a result, we will be able to offer food with prices at or below market rates. We will accept EBT and WIC, which will help make our prices even more affordable.
We're also seeking community partners, volunteers, and donors to work with us in providing nutrition education through meal kits, healthy recipes, cooking demonstrations, and other educational services.
About the Meetup
Meet other entrepreneurs and independent product developers. Bring your questions and "group-source" the answers. Hear from specialized experts willing to share their insights. Get energized and stay motivated to pursue your goals. Relax and have interesting conversations. Participants have found clients and collaborators through this Meetup.
Software, electronics, life sciences, med tech, services, products, materials, designs--innovators of a wide variety of value propositions participate. Both for-profit and non-profit entrepreneurs participate. Many are starting their second or third business. A partner in McKinsey & Company (NYC) turned up one evening. We have enjoyed meeting people from China, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Italy, India, Bangladesh and other countries. Many are newcomers to Minneapolis/St. Paul. Multi-generational, our age range has been 20 to 70+. Several investors make periodic visits for those of you looking for capital.
RSVPs on the Meetup website don't include participants from our hosts personal email list and LinkedIn groups. Many regulars just show up. We don't cancel a meeting due to low RSVPs on Meetup. Our largest attendance was about 20 people, but I've enjoyed smaller groups where I get to hear more from each person.
Let the host know what kind of expert you would like to have at a future meeting and feel free to refer speakers.