Thriving Alumni Businesses Succeeded After Finding Support at Temple

Bucha Bio and Simply Good Jars want to change the way we dress, design, manufacture and eat. The two companies are pushing the boundaries of biotech and culinary technologies, and they aim to not only improve the lives they touch but to also reduce environmental impacts associated with their industries.

The companies have another thing in common: They were started in North Philadelphia by Temple students.

Both Zimri T. Hinshaw, CLA ’20, of Bucha Bio and Jared Cannon, FOX ’16, of Simply Good Jars got their business ideas off the ground with help from the Blackstone LaunchPad, a program housed in the Office of the Vice President for Research designed to support students and alumni wishing to develop innovative ideas.

“I was trying to start companies at Temple since my junior year, and I had lots of ideas,” said Hinshaw, who majored in economics and grew up in Okinawa, Japan. “The Blackstone LaunchPad really helped me vet and think about a lot of different ideas.”

Hinshaw’s original concept for Bucha Bio was radical. He wanted to use environmentally friendly materials to grow clothing, such as jackets, in molds. The key component to make this possible, Hinshaw said, is the bacterial nanocellulose that makes up scoby, an ingredient used to make the beverage kombucha.

With the help of a few students from Thomas Jefferson University, Hinshaw and his team further developed the concept of growing an entire jacket out of the material, which they then entered into the Innovative Idea Competition, a yearly entrepreneurial contest hosted by the Fox School of Business.

Read the full article here.