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Returning Vitality to Soil

November 29, 2016

CEE Alum Eli Brown, BSCE'16, created a start-up with two colleagues called The Compost Project which was part of NEXPO, Northeastern’s premier entrepreneurship exposition. The Compost Project aims to turn organic waste into fertilizer to revive soil, fortify plant life, and strengthen food systems.

Source: News @ Northeastern

John Lloyd got the idea for his startup while working on global co- op in Seville, Spain. He and his friends there would meet up at hos­tels and con­verse with locals. He real­ized these inter­ac­tions greatly improved his Spanish—and the locals’ English.

This expe­ri­ence led him to co- found Idyoma, a mobile app designed to con­nect lan­guage learners with others nearby, so they can prac­tice the lan­guages in real life. “Our goal is to help you reach flu­ency,” said Lloyd, DMSB’17, who is the company’s CEO.

Lloyd was among the many stu­dent and alumni entre­pre­neurs on hand Thursday night at NEXPO, the university’s entre­pre­neur­ship expo fea­turing some 30 IDEA ven­tures as well as a range of North­eastern entre­pre­neur­ship pro­grams and resources. IDEA—the university’s student- run ven­ture accelerator—organized the event, which was held in Cabot Center and served as the cul­mi­na­tion of Global Entre­pre­neur­ship Week at Northeastern.

Throughout the room, vis­i­tors were intro­duced to a range of inno­v­a­tive ideas. There was NextSteps Con­nect, which is cre­ating an app designed to con­nect hos­pital patients with resources they need and the oppor­tu­nity to pro­vide feed­back about their expe­ri­ences; 3DFortify, which com­bines 3- D printing and mag­netics to create the highest res­o­lu­tion com­pos­ites and which recently received a $50,000 Mass­Chal­lenge award; and even a freestyle card game, called The Rap Game, designed for people who are inter­ested in helping people rap. NEXPO also show­cased Knightly and Cookin, IDEA star­tups whose founders joined Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun ear­lier this week for a Face­book Live dis­cus­sion about stu­dent entrepreneurship.

I’m really impressed by what North­eastern is doing.
—Sarah Merion, DMSB’10, founder of EthosWell, speaking about Northeastern’s entre­pre­neur­ship pro­grams and resources

Else­where in the room, recent alumni Eli Brown, Alex Vipond, and Har­rison Ack­erman were get­ting their hands dirty as they dis­cussed The Com­post Project, which is focused on turning organic waste into fer­til­izer. They see their com­pany as part of a growing net­work of orga­ni­za­tions working to improve farming tech­niques, with the goal of returning vitality to soil. Their approach involves turning Boston’s organic waste into ver­mi­com­post, a fer­til­izer fea­turing not only soil nutri­ents but also a micro­biome that pro­tects and feeds plant life.

You look around and see so much food waste,” said Ack­erman, SSH’15. The Com­post Project, he said, is aiming to solve that problem.

Another bud­ding busi­ness on dis­play was Bul­letin, a web ser­vice that will allow stu­dents to effi­ciently browse through and find campus events that interest them. Bul­letin is being devel­oped out of a pro­gram the Entre­pre­neurs Club launched this fall called InNU­vate, which was designed to bring together a team of stu­dents that spends the semester devel­oping a busi­ness or resource focused on improving campus life. Seniors and Bul­letin team mem­bers Dyan Khur, DMSB’17, and Dan Kohlbrenner, CIS’17, said the goal is to launch the ser­vice in Jan­uary, and NEXPO offered a great oppor­tu­nity to share it with stu­dents at an early stage and get more feedback.

North­eastern grad­uate Sarah Merion is the founder and CEO of EthosWell, an online des­ti­na­tion where people can learn about com­ple­men­tary health­care and find the best providers. Merion, DMSB’10, said she’s received guid­ance from the McCarthy(s) Ven­ture Men­toring Net­work, and noted that building her com­pany through the sup­port of IDEA has helped recon­nect her with North­eastern and build a stronger con­nec­tion to her alma mater.

Speaking of the university’s com­mit­ment to pro­viding resources that sup­port and nur­ture stu­dent entre­pre­neur­ship, Merion said, “I’m really impressed by what North­eastern is doing.”