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Ivey HBA student's imperfect produce service wins TELUS competition

Aug 8, 2019

TELUS Case Competition Foodfund

Panel judges Suzanne Trusdale and Arlene Dickinson, with event host Amber Mac listening to TELUS Pitch winner Divyansh Ojha, HBA '20 candidate.

Photo credit to Nick Menzies Photography

Ivey HBA student Divyansh Ojha took home first place for his startup, FoodFund Inc., at TELUS Pitch 2019 – Canada's largest small business competition.

FoodFund was chosen from a group of five panelists who emerged from more than 6,400 entrants from across Canada, and received a $100,000 cash prize to help further build their business.

FoodFund's impact on local communities

Ojha founded the imperfect produce delivery service in the summer of 2017 after witnessing a major retailer throw out bins of produce. Along with fellow HBA student, Alysaa Co, Ojha and his team sources recovered fruit and vegetables from farms and distributors and delivers directly to households within local communities.

"FoodFund has developed an exciting initiative that addresses real concerns that not only impact consumers and farmers, but our environment and economy," said Arlene Dickinson, lead judge for TELUS Pitch, General Partner, District Ventures Capital and Dragon on CBC's Dragons' Den. "I look forward to following their story."

With the $100,000 prize, Ojha plans to expand FoodFund's operations, diversify its produce offering, and build a food literacy curriculum for elementary schools.

"We've got a robust plan of action for the next 6-12 months, and the grant allows us to explore these facets freely and make the most of this wonderful platform that is Canadian entrepreneurship," said Ojha. "It's a surreal feeling to win TELUS Pitch and to rub shoulders with Canada's brightest entrepreneurs. This is the stepping stone we need to take our business into new markets and amplify the impact we've already made."

Ojha credits his experience in the HBA1 Communications course with Kanina Blanchard for giving him the level of confidence he needed to go live on stage in front of Arlene Dickinson and a crowd of more than 350 people.

Watch FoodFund receive first place on the TELUS Business Facebook page.