Yesterday I attended the annual alumni homecoming event for my alma mater Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. I am biased of course but I think DelVal is the ultimate stronghold of agricultural entrepreneurship in this part of the country. Many of the region’s farm and food company managers are fellow alumni.
I sat with a classmate from the agricultural school with the same age and major. He and his wife listened to my story of seafood expansion at Money Island. Then I asked them what they did. They are both retired from a local pharmaceutical firm. Here I am just starting out in a new business venture at age 57. Classmates are retired. The contrast hit me hard. Our paths over the past 35 years since we parted at commencement in 1982 led to vastly different positions in life.
We discussed the challenges of Nantuxent Seafood: dealing with government, rising water levels, Sandy recovery, and capital needs. They listened to my comments and offered words of encouragement “We know you’ll be successful”. Then they asked “How can we do to support you?” All I could suggest was that I am active on social media and that I am working on several crowdfunding ideas. We discussed why I thought crowdfunding was important to a venture like this. Community support for the future of sustainable aquaculture is as important as the funding itself. This conversation added to my inclination that I am ready to take the next steps in developing a support base through crowdfunding.
During the day I received valuable bits of advice from the former college president, the former dean of the agriculture school, and a successful business person who was a wrestling teammate. I take it all quite seriously. By the end of the day I left with a short ‘to do’ list to help bring Nantuxent Seafood to the next level. This coming week I expect to complete my HACCP federal seafood safety training certification, talk with existing environmental partners and open discussions with new potential financial partners.