John French and his wife manage a mixed farming enterprise north of Capella in Central Queensland.
John applied to the program with an idea to utilise farm grown chickpeas including chickpea gradings into convenient, ready dahl meal pouches. He wanted to add value to split and dehusked chickpeas that are considered defective for export in order to greatly contribute to the economic sustainability of their farming operation.
John entered the program to gain specific skills related to food technology and production, as well as a clear path forward for establishing a new venture. Initially, John identified an opportunity to appeal to consumers who would like to add more plant based protein to their diets as well as providing a local, Australian made product with full traceability.
Through the program, John was able to develop a minimum viable product to test with potential customers through a new Australian chickpea brand. The process allowed John to identify the key elements of the solution that would benefit his target consumers and overcome specific pain points they were experiencing with current alternatives.The idea pivoted from being a fully pouched ready meal to offering more convenient, chickpea based snacks.
The Ideas Program provided the framework I needed to test, refine and analyse the merits of my idea. The program content and mentorship was well delivered to help evolve ideas into actionable plans, channeling entrepreneurial enthusiasm toward real progress.
The Ideas Program Impact
The lean process of product development allowed John to feel confident in the solution he was building and get feedback quickly from potential customers. He was able to validate key assumptions he had about the market as well as extract insights by talking to potential customers to better understand key purchasing decisions.
Following the program, John is looking at different avenues to raise finance and exploring manufacturing, food safety requirements and packaging options for his chickpea products. Over the next few months, John has a goal to refine his prototypes ready for feedback from potential customers.