Yesterday we did our final two site visits: FoodCloud and Enterprise Ireland. The day was filled with a Chorus cafe breakfast (sorry no omelettes again), a forgotten rain jacket on our rainiest day yet, and lots of walking (no complaints there, I closed my move ring).
First, we traveled to FoodCloud, which turned out to be one of my favorite companies yet. They gave an overview presentation when we arrived. The main two objectives of FoodCloud are to 1. Eliminate wasted food and 2. Redistribute wasted food to those who need it. They partner with food vendors who sell them their food surpluses and charge food drives a small fee for the foods, thus vertically integrating retailers, distribution centers, resellers, and consumers. Additionally, FoodCloud offers its suppliers insightful data on trends of their food surpluses; this data, if generated and utilized correctly, can potentially solve vendors’ problems of wasting food, which helps to fulfill FoodCloud’s first mission.
I was curious to know which of FoodCloud’s objectives was prioritized, because it is impossible to tackle each one to the fullest extent: if they solely aim to help food vendors reduce waste, they would essentially be putting themselves out of business since one of their main functions is to resell the wasted food to food drives. When I asked, the representative answered that the objective to eliminate waste is their main priority rather than redistributing food to those who need it; however, it is unlikely that there will ever be a time where a food vendor would produce zero waste. If this were to happen, these essential food drives would have no food and those in need would have no food, which becomes its own issue. After being somewhat skeptical of the long-term implications of this process, it is clear that there will always be somewhat of a food surplus and a demand for it from another end.
After this engaging presentation and discussion with FoodCloud, we visited Enterprise Ireland. We heard from four different speakers on the topics of economics, research and innovation, potential start-ups, and female entrepreneurship. These talks were well-organized and the presenters seemed to be on a tight schedule. After each talk there was only a moment for questions, as they had to leave and be at another meeting soon after. Similar to the role the NDA played at Amazon, I felt as though this gave the company some legitimacy. They are up out of the room and onto the next thing.
(I realize that I made this title sound like a mixtape. It’ll be dropping soonish so be sure to check it out on soundcloud)