Hatch TEK Program 1
8 Aug 2022
Samantha Wan is a multi award winning wool industry specialist, having worked in the industry, based in Victoria, for more than a decade. She’s been described as someone who “lives wool 24 hours a day” and although not born into the sheep and wool industry, after getting her start with Elders, Samantha said she has built her life around wool through her support role, advocacy, community work and involvement in industry programs. She is no stranger to innovation, known for her innovative approach and ability to introduce new tools and techniques in her business role to improve commercial outcomes.
During the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020/21, like many Victorians, Samantha embraced home gardening. She has since relocated to a rural location and immersed herself in gardening for food production on a broader scale. During the course of this developing horticultural interest, and through discussion with others, Sam realised there was a significant problem with pest control for damaging slugs and that the use of wool, with its scaley fibre was a potential natural solution. At the same time, Samantha was tussling with the issue of a lack of viable markets for a particular segment of wool fleeces, sometimes sold for often less than $0.10/kg at auction, as well as the challenge of utilising waste wool.
The idea of pelletising a wool based slug treatment was formed with some validation of the idea having been taken up in Europe. Biosecurity protocols prevent these solutions from import to Australia and Sam was unaware of a comparable Australian product.
Hatch TEK Journey
Sam has been one of the stars of the HatchTEK program, having diligently completed the work activities and customer discovery and engaging as a highly coachable participant in both group sessions and through 1:1 coaching. She has completed extensive customer validation interviews and realised that the application of a wool based soil pellet is not limited to slug pest control but potentially as a soil enhancement for water management, nutrition, compaction treatment and pest deterrent.
Samantha’s key customer segments include:
-millennial balcony gardeners and home-based plant food producers with a focus on natural regenerative solutions, and;
-the horticulture industry, such as market gardeners and nurseries .
Samantha’s product now has a formative identity, as “IWOOLGROW” and she is establishing connections with potential services providers who may help her to prototype a solution ahead of proof of concept field trials.
Samantha has completed and refined multiple Lean canvases for her customer segments and is well progressed through this initial ideation stage. Sam has developed a robust customer value proposition and is ready to progress to the next stage with her start-up idea.
Samantha’s innovative solution addresses not only a problem for her customer segments, but also an industry problem with the development of an alternative, value adding market for high micron / coarse / medullated crossbred wool styles (for example, dags or stained crutch) that are currently difficult to sell in the Australian supply chain.
The perfect supportive safe environment to test ideas and work through assumptions with structure that leaves you with incredible clarity.
Samantha’s three month plan following this Hatch pre-accelerator program focuses on continuing to validate assumptions and learn about her customer segments, developing a prototype product and undertaking proof of concept trials, as well as establishing initial business model concepts, particularly around distribution, go to market strategies and costing models.