Today we visited the site I have most been looking forward to: FoodCloud. There have been many times I walk past dumpsters of grocery stores or restaurants full of food and wonder “why can’t all that be given to a charity for people in need?” This is exactly what they do. During our other site visits they have asked us what other companies we are visiting and when we mention FoodCloud, they only have good things to say. This is because there seems to only be good things to say about the company.
When people think of Ireland’s history, one of the main things that comes to mind is the potato famine. Being that there once was a time where there wasn’t enough food for everyone and millions of people starved and/or had to leave the country, makes the idea of food waste in Ireland even more horrific. Whether it’s food coming from farmers, restaurants, or grocery stores, anything that is safe to eat and fairly easy to transport, FoodCloud wants to save and provide for someone who doesn’t have as easy access to that food.
FoodCloud’s focus on the community and the environment is what drives its success. One of the things Brian, our FoodCloud representative, mentioned a few times was that they have no real competitors. Anyone who wants to adopt their model, take inspiration from their mission, or create a service similar to theirs is completely able and even encouraged to do so. The more FoodClouds that exist in our world, the less food waste there is and that can only benefit everyone. In addition to their mission, their people are extremely important. The combination of enthusiastic employees, the charities and food providers that they team up with, and the volunteers who just want to make a difference, all contribute to the success of the company. Many of our other site visits such as Microsoft, Auxilion, and Thinkhouse have also emphasized the importance of the people that make up their company. It is important for the employees and partners to care about the company and the goals, values, and mission of the company in order to create success. I think this is a common theme that we have seen within the businesses of Ireland and a transition we are beginning to see in the United States.
As we begin to wrap up our time in Ireland, it is nice to take a look back at the companies we have visited and how we can best relate to them. The aspect of “people” is one of the biggest takeaways I have gained from this program. We went into our trip barely knowing each other’s names and only spending a few hours here and there with our teams to work on projects. Now, we have lived together for two weeks, socialized with people we may have never met outside of this program, and worked together to navigate a foreign city. We all have a variety of skills and interests, but when we brought that together, we made a very cohesive team. We can balance work and fun like they do at Google, encourage each other on our future careers in business like they do at GEC, and come together to create good in the world like at FoodCloud.