Food Entrepreneurs

Food Entrepreneurs


Credit the lowly oat. When SPH student Jessica Lai heard friends complaining about having to eat yet another granola bar for lunch, she knew she was onto something—she and fellow SPH student Ta-Wei Lin and their friend and fellow graduate student Emily Potter, from the College of Engineering. The three realized that if they could get healthy food to students in a fast, cost-efficient way, they could fill a lucrative niche. So they teamed up to create YoMamaPackedIt, an online-ordering business that prepares low-cost, healthy, brown-bag lunches “just like mom used to make” and delivers them to students on campus between classes.

At least that’s the plan—the actual business is still in the works. But Lai, Lin, and Potter got a boost last fall when their project won the Organizer’s Award at the UM Ross School of Business Entrepreneur & Venture Club Business Model Competition. The $500 prize has helped them continue to develop their business, which they hope will ultimately provide busy students with an inexpensive, convenient, and nutritional way to refuel at breakfast and lunch.

The Sweetest Vegan

Yes, she misses dairy. But not enough to give up the vegan lifestyle that’s helped turn Tasha Edwards into an award-winning YouTube chef. The second-year health management and policy student—who posts recipes and videos at The Sweetest Vegan on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter—recently won $5,000 worth of video equipment from YouTube’s Next Chef global partner development program, which aims to “supercharge” the careers of tomorrow’s star chefs. Her winning video "pitch":