Creating Social Value Blog / Food

How Food Sol’s Community Table Brought My Product to Life

By Nadine Habayeb M’16.

I came to Babson as an exchange student as part of the MBA program from my home University of IE Business School in Madrid. My partner and I had been developing a food business idea of launching a healthy popped seed snack. The popped seed, which is native to India, had not yet been introduced to the US market but was growing in popularity around the world, so we knew we had a lot of work to do and fast. I chose Babson for their reputation as a fellow leading university for entrepreneurship in hopes of bringing the business to life. Little did we realize that our idea would become a reality much faster than we anticipated.

By my first day on campus, I had been introduced to Food Sol and the team building the food-centric community that is growing at Babson. I knew I would spend my time here being involved in it as much as possible. I took a pivotal class called Food Entrepreneurship with Rachel Greenberger, Founder of Food Sol, where we met some the key players in the food community in the Boston area. This lead to my participation in Babson Food Day and then Community Table. Between having informational meetings and attending relevant events, there were more ways to get involved with the food community at Babson than I could schedule in my week.

The most memorable and ‘business perspective boosting’ experience with Food Sol was the Community Table initiative. For anyone who is thinking of being involved in the food community, (or you even if you’re not but you just like food) I would highly recommend attending one of the Community Table events. They take place on Babson’s Wellesley and Boston campuses once a week and on NYU’s campus in NYC once a month. Community Table is a roundtable discussion designed for those who embrace entrepreneuring in the community as a way to drive innovation and propel the food movement forward.

I joined the Community Table November 13th, 2016 in NYC. I came with a few handmade sample bags of our snack and a list of questions and things I wanted to learn more about. The other attendees on the table were diverse, though all shared a like-minded interest in food.

The table introduced themselves, we explored a few other participant’s discussion topics, and I presented our product and a few questions to the table. The conversation immediately took off. We received amazing feedback and critical, constructive criticism. The energy around the table was incredible. We talked about possible flavor profiles, target customers, health and nutritional trends that were relevant, and what’s new in the field.

The table was extraordinarily helpful; attendees offered contacts and connections as well as lending their experience and advice when I needed. We originally had planned to launch our product growing organically by producing through a local kitchen, but after my experience at the Community Table we were convinced that our route to growth was a different and much more aggressive approach. That was the day we became convinced of its potential and went to work in a different way. Today, we are going through the process of developing the healthiest and most flavorful recipes, testing our seeds, and creating an entirely new brand name and identity. The Community Table gave us the confidence boost we needed to take our business to the next level, and I’m proud to say that we have made leaps of progress since. Watch this space and look out for our launch this summer!