From Idea to Business: Growlife Superfood created thanks to the “NEETS in Enterpreneurship” project
Domenico Francoforte's company produces micro-vegetables, seedlings of vegetables and aromatic species rich in nutrients.
Milan, 10 March 2021 - Helping young NEETs to transform their business ideas into concrete projects: this is one of the objectives of Junior Achievement Italy’s "NEETs in Entrepreneurship - Match the Future" initiative. The three-year NEETs in Entrepreneurship project that began in November 2018 will continue until mid-2021, with an ambitious goal: to involve 400 young NEETs nationally, creating 10 start-ups financed by Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein through EEA and Norway Grants’ Fund for Youth Employment.
GrowLife Superfood is the first start-up funded by the project: Domenico Francoforte, a young man from Palermo, after a few years of experience as a cook abroad, has decided to return to Italy and try to launch a personal project. In 2020, during Italy’s first lockdown, he discovered the Business Competition organized by JA Italia as part of the “NEETs in Entrepreneurship” project and decided to participate. After a first phase of training on entrepreneurship, he was joined by a mentor who helped him both in finalizing the project for his farm and, once he won the competition and the prize of 6,500 Euros, in starting the enterprise.
Domenico's goal is to introduce micro-vegetables into Italians’ meals: edible seedlings of vegetables and aromatic species harvested as soon as the first leaves have developed and the cotyledons are still tender. A type of vegetable that combines ease of cultivation, which takes place vertically indoors and in controlled environmental conditions, with a varied range of shapes, intense flavours and a good texture, which allows it to be used in different dishes. The micro-vegetables are also rich in nutrients: 40g of Red Micro Cabbage, for example, provide 60mg of vitamin C; 15 gr of Micro Radish correspond to 15mg of Vitamin E and 17gr of Micro Amaranth provide 80mg of Vitamin K. Together the 3 micro-vegetables satisfy the daily requirement of an adult for these three vitamins.
GrowLife superfood started its production in January 2021 and already supplies two local supermarkets. Thanks to the ease and speed of cultivation, Domenico Francoforte believes he will be able to serve large-scale distribution by the end of the summer.
"Before this NEETs in Entrepreneurship project, I had an abstract business idea. JA Italia allowed the idea to become concrete, first in my head, explaining me at an entrepreneurial level how a company works, how to develop a business plan. From there I made everything concrete and once I won the business competition, they continued to help me, addressing me on various aspects, from opening a VAT number to creating a brochure and helping me to realize my dream." – Domenico Francoforte, founder and owner of GrowLife Superfood
“Young people have many ideas that often fail to become real because they lack the entrepreneurial tools to turn them into reality,” said Miriam Cresta, CEO of Junior Achievement Italia. “Through the “NEETs in Entrepreneurship” project we want to teach young people in the difficult no work, no study situation to believe in their projects and equip them with the necessary skills to transform them into businesses. Domenico's idea immediately struck us for its originality and solidity. Now we can't wait to taste the micro-vegetables ".
In addition to the business competition with a prize of 6,500 Euros for start-ups, the “NEETs in Entrepreneurship - Match the Future” initiative in Italy includes e-learning activities, live streaming webinars, individualized tutoring paths, opportunities for coaching managers in the workplace and internship. Funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment, the project is active in the four European countries most affected by youth unemployment: Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Spain.