Andrew Hall's New Entry

Andrew Hall's New Entry: Mealshare Expansion Funding Project

Vancouver, CanadaVancouver, Canada
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Mealshare is a brilliantly simple buy-one, give one model for restaurants. We put our logo beside a few items on a restaurant’s menu. When someone buys a Mealshare menu item, they get their meal just like normal (no extra cost or action needed), but they’re also providing a meal to someone in need.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if every time someone dined out, they fed someone else in need?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Nearly one million Canadians access food support programs every day; people are hungry, and incapable of economically supporting themselves. This shows shortfalls in education and social services sectors in our country. Nearly 200,000 people die of hunger every week globally. The issue of hunger and economic inability to support oneself is found outside our country as well.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Mealshare aligns itself with organizations that provide short-term aid in the form of food, BUT we do so in situations that work toward long-term development aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty. We partner with restaurants to activate this industry into providing food to those who need it through an attractive buy-one, give-one model that allows them to easily respond to consumer demand for socially responsible products and services. By building an alliance of restaurants, and using their funding to support change organizations, we'll increase the capacity of these agencies and enable them to continue providing the vital short -term aid (keeping constituents alive) required to bridge them through long-term development to break poverty.

Awards

Co-Founders won Top 30 under 30 in Canadian sustainability by Corporate Knights. Organization won Calgary Small Business Award for Community Impact. Org won BC Small Business Award for Community Impact.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Locally, Mealshare provides meals through shelters and to kids before school. Internationally, we provide lunches to kids in school. At a shelter, someone might come in for a warm meal when they're hungry. From there, the world opens up to them and they're introduced to services from showers, to shelter, to job training. There are amazing opportunities for growth and many people change their lives with a meal as step one. At Breakfast Clubs in Canadian elementary schools, kids receive nutritious meals before class which increases attendance and learning. In Mali, children who might otherwise not attend at all or might leave at lunch time stay for more classes. In both cases, we're ensuring kids are getting energy and education!

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

So far, in about two years, we've gathered over 200 supportive partner restaurants sharing meals every day. This has resulted in over 500,000 meals donated to people in need! We can't believe how fast it's added up, but it shows how a little contribution each day from a dedicated group of individuals can make a huge difference. Undoubtedly, each of these meals has done more than fill an aching stomach - it's provided energy and motivation, and in many cases introductions to amazing services that can help people break the cycle of poverty themselves - through education, and meaningful work. If we stopped growing today, but kept consistent operations, we'd provide around 500,000 meals per year, every year, until our operations ceased. This would be without any external funding. At a given size, Mealshare is self-sufficient! Outside funds help us GROW. But we plan to grow. Lots.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our strategy to spread our model is to continue perfecting and systemizing our model over the next year. Then, we'll expand our model to the United States and to other cities in Canada through outside funding - from those who want to see our model expand. We'll continue to grow our model and control and manage it in North America. Once we've systemized our model here, we're excited to white-label it. We'll build a package that allows people in other countries outside North America to run Mealshare programs in their own nations. Through this method, our model will have MASSIVE impact!
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Mealshare collects $1.00 for every Mealshare item sold at a partner restaurant. We use $0.70 for every $1 collected to go straight to purchasing meals for people in need. We use the remaining $0.30 to run our business. Because we sell thousands of Mealshare items per month, we're able to operate sustainably using these funds. Our plan is to continue using this model to ensure we aren't reliant on grants or other funding to adminster our program!

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We have a few competitors doing similar things: Streetsmart: Puts materials on restaurant tables, but asks customers to pay. We love how our model is guilt-free for customers Eatiply: runs a similar model in the USA but is a for-profit. They've stopped growing. Feedie: Asks customers to take a picture of their meal to feed someone OneFeedsTwo: Similar program, but works mostly with consumer packaged goods instead of restaurants and only provides international meals instead of helping locally.
Team

Founding Story

Jeremy and I are cousins and best friends. We grew up together in Calgary and were always raised to appreciate what we have and to finish our food, because there are less fortunate people who can't afford it. We went to University and got business degrees, and then both got hired for "dream jobs" - in at Big-4 accounting firms. We realized that despite the stability, we weren't going to be happy growing big businesses. We wanted to have an impact. We developed an idea for a restaurant where every item we sold, we'd provide a meal. However, we had no restaurant experience. Then, we had it! We could enable EXISTING restaurants to do Mealshare, and make a business out of it!

Team

Jeremy and I have an incredible level of trust for one another, and due to effectively raising each other as kids, see the world eye-to-eye most of the time. We make all high-level decisions together and don’t move forward without reaching an agreement. We divide day-to-day work and management of employees into our two portfolios, something we’ve worked on defining significantly this year. Our portfolios play to our strengths and interests – from partnerships, to finance, to design, to HR. We also employ two other full-time employees who manage restaurant clients in two major cities in Canada, and a host of volunteers who manage smaller communities.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Through Twitter

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder is both my role and my title!

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Zero Hunger.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Jeremy started up and ran a handiman service for his summer jobs after High School and was very successful. He also purchased a house in University and rented it out to others and managed the property.

I became the captain of a Business Competition team at my University and managed fundraising, training, logistics, planning, and leadership of 50 students over the course of 14 months in order to get the team recruited, trained, and to the event. We did the best our school's ever done!

Despite these cool achievements, Mealshare is definitely the most entrepreneurial thing we've done, and the most successful thing we've done in the space!

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We don't actually provide any of the meals ourselves; we rely on an amazing network of partner charities to be our boots on the ground. We have charities right in the cities we have restaurants in so that they can have a local impact, and we also have international charity partners creating impact in foreign countries. We think both causes are important!

We have independent, trusted individuals that form our Board of Directors and our Board of Advisors. They oversee what we're up to and ensure we're on the right track and supported where we need it.

We each have personal mentors who can get help from in our individual positions and career development.

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