Blog #10

Design Grants

The USAID Development Innovation Ventures Stage 1 Proof of Concept grant is a good grant for us to apply to because its open for applications at any time and awards up to $200,000 for up to 3 years for testing a creative solution to a global development challenge. Our proposal would focus on our current research and projections of how much money the mushroom farm could make and how many people it can offer jobs to along with plans for scaling up.

EPA P3 Program which stands for People, Prosperity and the Planet promotes teams of college students to better the planet and future for doing research in topics related to their P3 goals, including sustainable healthy communities, which relates to our project. We would first be applying for Phase 1 of the grant which is a one year grant of $25,000 to test, research, and develop innovative scientific projects or engineering designs that promote development, and serves as a proof of concept for research ideas. Completing Phase 1 would allow us to apply for the Phase 2 grant which is 100,000 to further the project from Phase 1. Our funding proposal would emphasize the sustainability of growing mushrooms and how it will create a healthier community by creating jobs along with delivering a nutritious product. Though we applied to it before and were rejected, we would hone in on what we’ve accomplished and relate it to sustainable healthy communities more.

Dissemination Grants

The USAID Development Innovation Ventures Stage 3 Scaling would be for the scaling of our mushroom production factories. It provides between $1,500,000 to $5,000,000 for up to 3 years. With success, this grant fits the goals of our venture to spread its success. For applying, we would use data from the success of the single mushroom production factory in Sierra Leone for the proof of concept and scalability as well as demand to show success possibilities with scaling with the grant.

The Laidlaw Scaling Impact grants range from $25,000 to $100,000 a year for up to 3 years. They support youth projects that impact communities and that overall better the lives of young people. With our venture hoping to better the youth unemployment rate in Sierra Leone, that is what we would be targeting in the application. With proof of concept with one factory, we will show the need and anticipated success with scaling which would also give more job opportunities to the unemployed youth.


Blog #10/11

This week for our blog post we are tasked with analyzing a company, Mia and I chose One Acre Fund, and creating a business model canvas for the company we chose. The aspects of a business model canvas are: Partner network, key actives, key resources, value propositions/offers, customer relationships, customer segments, channels, cost structure, and revenue streams.

Our analysis of the One Acre Fund goes as follows,



Citations through links:


Blog #9

  1. List five take-aways from Guy Kawasaki’s talk and explain exactly how you will integrate that concept/construct/strategy into your project.

Guy Kawasaki used the phrase “let 100 flowers blossom”.  Going into Sierra Leone I worry that our team has only one idea in our heads for how our product will be sold. A big piece of what we are doing is adapting our processes to work in Sierra Leone. If there is one lesson that we need to be aware of, and embody, it is this idea of “let 100 flowers blossom”. Pivot.

Another idea that Kawasaki brought up is the simple idea of marketing. He used interested anecdotes to make the ideas stick. I’ll be the first to admit that business is not my strong suit. It’s not an area that I have a lot of background in. However, after watching the talk I think I have a better idea of how our team’s venture can be successful.

Despite being an optimist I often doubt not in the project, but in myself. The portion of the talk where Kawasaki said “don’t let the bozo’s get you down” made me think about my own attitude about our project. As long as I am dedicated to our work, there is no reason why I cannot make progress. I shouldn’t let the planning get in the way of the actual doing. My own self doubt, being the ‘bozo’, should not get me down.

Another piece of advice that will be helpful for our team if not our project is the 10-20-30 rule. I noticed that we got too caught up in the things we planned to say to say what we meant to say. I think the less slides and the less words we will have on our slides the more freedom we will have to talk about a project that we know so much about. We have been doing the work, and documenting our process, it shouldn’t be difficult to present what we have done. We are the infected people that Kawasaki mentioned. We simply have to have a conversation about our passions.

Lastly, and of utmost importance, MAT! Simple and easy to understand, I honestly think that the MAT ideology will make our venture a success. Milestones, assumptions, and tasks. Right now the milestone is getting a grow bag to begin, the assumption that we need to test is that our methods and process for spawn jars here will also work in Sierra Leone, and our task is to make sure that our assumption is correct, and more importantly to have backups in case it is not. This simple idea really helps focus a team and insure that the energy that we are putting into the project is being allocated to the parts of the venture that need it in the most. It’s all about productivity.

  1. In partnership with one or at most two team members, present a business model canvas for your venture.

Blog Post #7/8


Our target customer varies depending on which business model my team uses. One being selling the MPS and mushroom growing knowledge to entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone and the other being starting our own venture and employing those looking for employment, not necessarily to start their own venture. At the beginning at least. my team agrees that it would be easiest to start the venture ourselves, and expand from there. This would mean that our original target customers would be local markets and super markets. We would also be looking to appeal to people looking for a steady source of income.  We should take into account that we will be hiring and selling. This introduces two sort of markets that we will need to tap. I think the main assumptions that we should make are not to stereotype. To have as few expectations of this going into the project as we can. I believe that we will be pleasantly surprised by work ethic and eagerness to accomplish goals, however take this with a grain of salt because I am an optimist.


The most important hypotheses that will be tested upon arriving is that mushrooms will more or less sell themselves if they are made available. Another is that the mushroom house that was built last summer will be easy to repair, and more importantly that it is what we want. I have some concerns about the ventilation of the hut and the dark color will only make things worse. The drying of the grains has been done by hand up until this point and it is possible that the humidity in Sierra Leone will make this more or less impossible. We will also need to test a few materials. I think it would be interesting to run a water test and see what type of fungus lives in water. Using water to wash things may be an ineffective way of doing things. This may or may not lead to the need for isopropal alcohol and I do not know how abundant this product is in Sierra Leone.

3. What do you think you bring to your team? How has your perception of your own strengths and weaknesses changed over the course of the class? Please be specific.

I seem to have taken on the role of “organizer” or “secretary” in my team. This plays to my strengths of liking things organized and clear. If you don’t have a real purpose than you can’t really accomplish anything. I also have a fresh set of eyes and enjoy learning by doing so I think I have a fresh take on our work which can be helpful while we are determining where to go with our procedure. I am aware of my weaknesses also. “Don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough” is a phrase that I need to be aware of. I am also optimistic to a fault occationally so I will need to learn that it is okay to pivot.