Four students at Iowa State University came up with an idea that they knew could not be put to waste. Clay Mooney, Mikayla Sullivan, Elise Kendall, and Ella Gehrke decided to create a solar-powered food dehydrator to fight hunger and food waste in foreign countries in September of 2014. They got involved in a competition for Global Business and specifically focused on how to feed people from countries who do not have the resources and funds to do so on their own.
After the idea was planted in their heads, they knew they were going to need assistance to turn KinoSol into a business. They reached out to the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, who then directed them to Ted Bair of the America’s SBDC Iowa located in Ames in early 2015. Although they were still students, they were very persistent and serious about the business opportunity that was arising, and Ted Bair recognized that.
Ted Bair helped them with managing the financials and being able to turn their idea into an organized business plan so that they could officially launch KinoSol in September of 2015. The team also utilized the resources and services within the SBDC to help them organize a list of potential customers, which saved them a lot of time. When asked about their assistance from the SBDC, Mikayla Sullivan said, “Having access to the resources to help turn our idea into a business was a vital part that got us where we are today. How much interest the SBDC has in every business just goes to show how much they care and want us to succeed, which means a lot.”
After networking with existing organizations that have the same goal to help out abroad, the founders of KinoSol launched their sales in January of 2017, and found amazing success. Despite the small struggles of navigating international waters and figuring out shipping complications, KinoSol now delivers their products in 42 different countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. They hope to go to Kenya in December and start focusing on becoming wholesalers of their products.
For more information on KinoSol and their mission, visit www.getkinosol.com.