Trinity Global Relations recently interviewed Iseult Ward (Founder & CEO of the Irish company Foodcloud).
1. What is FoodCloud and how did you come up with the idea?
FoodCloud is a social enterprise that connects businesses with surplus food and charities in the community who need it. It’s essentially a platform that lets charities know there’s food available, and allows them to collect it, eliminating food waste too!
It came about when myself and Aiobheann met at an event and ended up talking about the problem of food waste. Businesses were throwing away perfectly good food, while charities were buying it around the corner. We wanted to connect the two.
2. How did LaunchBox help turn it into a reality?
We had started FoodCloud when studying – I had to do it on a part time basis and it was difficult with no previous track record or accountability. We found it hard to get it off the ground when studying, and the original launch didn’t take off. I put it aside during exams and then wanted to work on it on a full-time basis after graduation but needed the support, which Launchbox provided. Along with two others, we were able to work on it full time and understand the problem and how to solve it. Really, LaunchBox allowed us to conduct proper market research, finding out who needed what kinds of food and how to get it to them. LaunchBox gave us the resources, mentorship and time that was needed.
3. What other supports are there in Trinity for entrepreneurs?
As a graduate, I’m still in contact with a lot of lectures from the business school who are always open and willing to offer their advice and time. In addition, LaunchBox has now expanded their services even further, adding the new entrepreneurial space! We ourselves are also based in the Trinity Enterprise Centre, in Dublin’s Silicon Docks. This provides us with access to services and connections with bigger companies at a reduced rate.
4. What’s been your favourite moment in your career so far?
We’ve had a lot of different moments we enjoy for different reasons. When there was just two of us and we got the first contract from Tesco, that was exciting. We knew then we were able to grow and expand outside of Dublin, that this could be a national service. Another great moment was receiving the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland award. The previous year we had attended and saw a lot of other social enterprises win it who we admired and we were delighted to win it the following year. Overall, a moment I love is seeing our team really grow and come together, which is very exciting.
5. What has been the biggest challenge in creating and managing UniTuition?
I think what’s interesting is that there’s been a lot of challenges along the way. Some of the challenges we initially faced – getting charities and businesses on board – seemed huge, but now those seem a lot smaller! Really the scale of the challenges changes, we’re now branching into the UK. The challenges grow but so does the team and the organisation. We’re very opportunity focused!
6. If you could give one piece of advice to your freshman self – what would it be?
I would say, get more involved in activities. Join as many societies as possible and find or two that you really love. Trinity has such an amazing community and such a diverse group of students. There’s really something for everyone. Throw yourself at anything you might find interesting and that you’ll love – you’ll make some of the best friends and have some of the best experiences.