Mother Earth Produce wins big in Tap The Future semifinals

Local food delivery service Mother Earth Produce, won big in the Tap the Future Atlanta semifinals last night. Photo courtesy of Mother Earth Produce

It may not have been quite as dramatic as surfer Mick Fanning‘s recent shark encounter, but one Western North Carolina business faced down a “shark” of its own last night and came out on top.

Farm-to-door produce delivery service Mother Earth Produce won big Tuesday evening in the the Miller Lite Tap The Future small-business competition semifinals in Atlanta, taking first place among five regional contestants (from a total of 30 semifinalists nationwide) and bringing home a $20,000 award.

Now in its third year, Tap The Future was created by Miller Lite to “empower [businesses’] passion, by providing the funding and resources needed to bring [their] vision to life,” according to Miller’s website on the competition. Semifinalists were selected from over 1,000 applicants, based on a written business proposal and description of their company and the motivation driving their work.

Each semi-finalist in the competition presented a live pitch to a panel of three judges, including fashion icon and marketing expert/”shark” Daymond John, a regular judge on ABC’s “Shark Tank” program. Contestants were judged on multiple aspects of their business model, including mission statement, marketing and branding strategies, financial organization and short and longterm goals for the company.

The DuValls, who founded Mother Earth Produce in 2012, beat out 29 other semi-finalists with their business pitch to a panel of judges, including mogul Daymond John.
The DuValls, who founded Mother Earth Produce in 2012, beat out four other regional companies with their business pitch to a panel of judges, including mogul Daymond John. Photo courtesy of Mother Earth Produce

“The competition was exciting and surreal,” says Andrea DuVall, who founded and owns Mother Earth Produce with her husband, Graham. “There were some incredible companies there that we were able to listen to and learn from along with the feedback and guidance from all of the judges.”

Founded in 2012, Mother Earth Produce partners with local farms to deliver organic produce straight to consumers’ doors. “Sometimes hectic schedules and geographic location prohibit us from visiting farmer’s markets and supporting CSAs,” reads the company’s website biography. “We knew there must be a way for everyone in the community to have the option to incorporate a local food lifestyle regardless of busy lives.”

The company works with over 20 local farms and food producers to deliver fresh food across Western North Carolina and the South Carolina upstate. Customers can personalize their purchase online, place orders and have their produce delivered free of extra charge to their doorstep.

“We had no idea that we would win, but we were so thankful to be able to spread the word about local food and our local farms to such a large audience,” says DuVall of their victory last night.

From here, Mother Earth Produce will advance to compete in the final stage of the competition as one of six regional winners from across the nation. The finals will be held in Chicago on Sept. 19, where each contestant will present a 20-minute live sales pitch to a panel of judges selected by Miller, similar to the set up of the “Shark Tank” television show.

Finalists will be judged on various aspects of their business plan as well as their live presentations. The grand prize winner will take home $200,000 dollars to help support and expand his or her business model.

DuVall says that they will spend the time leading up to the finals crafting an extended business plan, as well as practicing their live pitch on friends and fellow businesses.

“We feel so thankful to be able to meet the top five companies in the nation in Chicago,” she adds. “We will do our very best to represent Asheville!”

For more information on the Miller Lite Tap The Future business competition, a profile of past winners and information on contest rules and eligibility, check out mltapthefuture.com. To learn more about Mother Earth Produce and its mission, partners, produce and communities it serves, visit motherearthproduce.com.

MEP Logo

 

SHARE
About Max Hunt
Max Hunt grew up in South (New) Jersey and graduated from Warren Wilson College in 2011. History nerd; art geek; connoisseur of swimming holes, hot peppers, and plaid clothing. Follow me @J_MaxHunt

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.