St. Louis, Missouri (September 15, 2017) — KinoSol SBC, a Minnesota Specific Benefit Corporation, with an Ames, Iowa office, walked away with the Grand Prize: a $10,000 credit for UPS export services and a first place trophy, during the Midwest District UPS X-Port Challenge Pitch-Off Event held in St. Louis earlier this week. The UPS X-Port Challenge is a promotion to help support small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs in their export initiatives in order to grow globally.
“We were so pleased to win this prize,” KinoSol co-founding member Mikayla Sullivan said. “The $10,000 export shipping credits are going to help us secure distribution, specifically in Africa, where we are targeting reaching rural communities with our innovative product, the Orenda, in order to improve the lives of families in these developing regions.”
The KinoSol Orenda is a solar-powered food dehydrator, capable of dehydrating fruits, vegetables, grains, and insects, using only solar energy. Sullivan says the lightweight solar dehydrator provides an easy, inexpensive and sustainable way to avoid post-harvest loss, thereby reducing food waste, and increase the availability of food during low and no harvest periods.
Sullivan added, “Small-scale subsistence farmers are often those who face the most difficulties providing for their families, but with access to the Orenda, food can be available year round.”
Ten finalists hailing from four states including Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas participated in the Midwest District Pitch-Off Event. Finalists pitched their solutions/products to a panel of judges with the top three finalists selected based on their readiness for the global marketplace.
KinoSol is now eligible to compete with other regional competition winners in a UPS virtual run-off where internal UPS employees will vote on which product is export worthy. The top three contestants with the most votes will be invited to a national pitch-off competition to pitch-off in front of members of the UPS management team for an opportunity to win cash prizes up to $25,000. The national contest will be held the 1st quarter 2018.
KinoSol’s team is comprised of Iowa State University students and alums. Its mission is to end food waste, sustainably. KinoSol launched in September 2014, and began delivering its first product to regions worldwide in January 2017. KinoSol’s first product is the Orenda, a solar-powered food dehydrator with a storage component, designed to help families in developing regions to preserve additional food and nutrients.