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Phyta surfs new wave of entrepreneurship in Newsweek opinion

June 11, 2019 • Erin Reitz • No Comments

Emily Kian, one-third of Phyta – a 2018-2019 CUBE venture – published a piece in Newsweek documenting the team’s journey as young, female entrepreneurs. Learn more about Phyta’s early origins here and click below to read Kian’s full article.

Three Female Entrepreneurs Built North Carolina’s First Seaweed Farm on a Foundation of Rejections
by Emily Kian

At first glance, social entrepreneurship might not seem like a young woman’s game. As my co-founders and I have been told on many occasions, the business world is no place for the naive, the faint of heart, or the wishful. Entrepreneurship is about cold hard facts. At the end of the day, companies succeed when they make money and fail when they don’t, no matter how inspiring or innovative the idea.

In spite of this simplistic view of creative business development, we’ve begun to create an ambitiously transformative organization. By staying focused on bringing our ideas to light, our team has demonstrated that entrepreneurship is exactly the right place for the hopeful.

In November 2016, my co-founder Eliza Harrison emailed ten researchers in the Triangle area inquiring about what skills and knowledge would be necessary to start a seaweed farm in North Carolina. The recipients either ignored her or scoffed at the idea. While we took their feedback into account, our research on temperate seaweed cultivation revealed that creating our own farm was worth a shot. Since then, we’ve spent the last two years installing the first seaweed farm in NC, filing a provisional patent, incorporating, and competing alongside five final teams in front of the United Nations for $1 million. If others wouldn’t provide us answers, we weren’t afraid to try to discover them ourselves.

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