Northeastern alumni Josh Trautwein and Daniel Clarke renovated an old school bus into a mobile farmers market to serve Boston neighborhoods that lack access to health food. Fresh Truck opened for business in July, following a successful Kickstarter campaign. We asked Clarke to reflect on their experience founding Fresh Truck and how Northeastern helped them along the way.
What made you start your business and how did you get to where you are now?
Josh was working at a Massachusetts General Hospital health center in Charlestown, running educational programming on topics such as food, health, and nutrition. At the end of the curriculum, he sat down with the participants to collect feedback. One mother explained that she felt empowered to make healthier decisions but the landscape of her community didn’t enable her to shop for healthy foods on a regular basis. This conversation inspired Josh to envision a mobile healthy food market to serve fresh, affordable healthy foods to areas of the city that didn’t have easy access to grocery stores. He and I have spent more than a year fundraising, connecting with city stakeholders, gaining support for our company, and building the first Fresh Truck—which launched in July. Support from IDEA and Northeastern has helped us navigate throughout the entire process and insightful guidance has really helped expedite our timeline to launch.
What were the biggest lessons you learned while trying to build your business?
One lesson is to not be afraid to ask for help. We have received so much support and assistance from organizations, groups, and individuals throughout this process simply because we asked for it. Another lesson is to plan and prioritize. There are so many moving parts when starting a business that rely on each other, and it can seem very overwhelming at times. But planning out and listing action items to most efficiently tackle all the necessary steps to reach the end goal makes it seem much more manageable and helps to avoid unnecessary road blocks.
How has Northeastern helped you along the way?
Northeastern has been incredibly helpful throughout the entire process of starting Fresh Truck. For one, our Northeastern education provided the necessary tool kit we needed to execute our plan. Josh graduated with a degree in sociology, and I studied finance and entrepreneurship, so we each had diverse skill sets that complemented each other and allowed us to tackle challenges together. Early on, we also connected with IDEA, which provided us with mentorship, guidance, connections, gap funding, and other support. The Northeastern community has helped us in other ways too, from allowing us to present our company at campus events to making connections through social media.