Startup Contest shortlister Urban Seedling sheds light on recent success (Views: 5054)

Mon, 22 Oct 2012

A certain mantra guides Urban Seedling cofounder Tereska Gesing in her entrepreneurial endeavors.


“Someone told me that as long as you’re making people happy, you’ll be successful,” said one of three partners at the urban gardening start-up. “And I think we’re making people happy.”


Indeed the Fundica/ Startup Canada Startup Contest finalists are making headways in a relatively untapped market. They started with just 15 clients. This year they’re aiming for 600.


“People want, need and deserve to have more control over their food and have a greater connection with the earth,” said Gesing. “But because we’re in the city and we’re busy, there are perceived obstacles to vegetable gardening.”


And thus the product that Urban Seedling offers to clients. They come into your home in the city and build a raised-bed vegetable garden with high quality soil and compost. They plant their heirloom variety seedlings three times a year to ensure a maximum harvest and they close up the garden at the end of the year.


They also offer a strong support system, complete with a weekly newsletter with recipes and tips.


If clients aren't satisfied, Gesing assured that their services come with a 100 per cent money-back guarantee.


Part of their her team’s motivation (which includes her husband Shawn Manning and another partner Bryce Nagels) is providing customers with fresh and nutritional alternatives to mass-produced vegetables.


Rather than eating produce that can ripen in the dark or easily be picked and transported, Urban Seedling provides a different choice. 


“I think that people are starting to understand that the current model of food production is broken and they’re looking for an answer,” she said.


Next year their goal is to reach more clients. The company is also planning to move to a “real” location (they currently work from home) and to develop a hydroponic tower for clients to grow vegetables in their kitchens.


Which also means they will be looking for further funding.


The company likes to “apply for everything” to get their name out there and have benefitted from a Canadian Small Business Financing (CSBF) loan of $45,000. Next year with their client load expected to rise they’ll be looking for an additional $150,000- $200,000 in grants, loans or other funding options.


Urban Seedling has used Fundica frequently for assistance in locating potential funds and recommends the free online database to entrepreneurs.  


Gesing mentioned that as an entrepreneur and a parent she simply doesn’t have the time to search for appropriate funding options.


“Without Fundica we wouldn’t have access to that money at all because we don’t have the time resources to go look for it,” said Gesing. “If they can help out entrepreneurs access the money that is actually there, it’s a huge, huge service.”


She also raves about a Montreal community that seems to be receptive to small businesses, both on a support level and a willingness among its people to try new things.


“It’s been amazing,” she said. “There’s so much support here for small businesses and most of that support comes from the consumer.”

by Joseph Czikk

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