Snow Hill company receives statewide entrepreneurial grant
By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector
Saturday, May 12, 2018
A private foundation focused on supporting entrepreneurs and creating economic advancement awarded a grant this week to a Snow Hill-based company.
Glean, which uses “ugly” vegetables to produces flours, powders, purees and natural snack foods, received a $50,000 NC IDEA SEED grant to help in several areas of the company, said Will Kornegay, one of four founders and co-owners of the company.
“That grant is going to enable us to invest in equipment, infrastructure and to really be able to implement some creative marketing strategies … and also to help us grow brand awareness about our business,” he said.
Kornegay, his sister Laura Hearn and partners Stacey Ham Thomas and Kris Radford started Glean in July and launched its first products, flours and powders made from sweet potatoes, pumpkins and beets in October.
“Our goal is to take the produce that farmers can not typically sell on retail shelves because of a odd shape or size and make innovative foods to use technology to make it into the flour,” Hearn said. They hope to launch other vegetables later this year.
“We call all our products goodness,” Kornegay said. “They are functional for uses as a flour but they are also very functional beyond baking. Soups, sauces, smoothies, breaders, use can use them to add a little bit of nutrition to what you’re cooking. It’s a very functional product.You can essentially rehydrate it and it becomes a puree.”
Kornegay adds broth to the pumpkin flour to make pumpkin soup. He uses sweet potato flour, combined with spices, to bread shrimp for frying. It’s different from traditional fried shrimp, he said, and really cool.
All are gluten free and are allergen free, Hearn said, making them suitable for people with food allergies or food intolerances.
Glean’s products are manufactured at Natural Blends Vegetable Dehydration in Farmville. They also work with Ham Farms.
Part of the company’s mission is to donate one pound of product to fight hunger for every pound it sells.
The partners learned about the NC IDEA SEED grant when Hearn was participating in an entrepreneurial program at East Carolina University.
NC IDEA is an independent, private foundation that works to promote business growth through multiple grant and assistance programs. NC IDEA SEED has awarded more than $5 million in grant to 132 high-growth companies.
Distributed twice yearly, this spring’s SEED grants when to seven startups chosen from 12 finalists. According to a foundation news release, this year’s pool of applicants was its larger and most geographically diverse.
Hearn said they were thrilled when they learn Glean received a grant.
“We are kind of a unique company for them because we represent eastern North Carolina as well as agriculture,” she said.
“It’s something that our company is really passionate about and I know NC IDEA is excited about being able to foster some growth and excitement in eastern North Carolina,” Hearn said.
“Agriculture is one of the top industries in our state,” she said. “It’s something that a lot of people aren’t aware of and I think there is a lot of opportunity for growth and creating exciting things in this part of the state through one of our biggest industries.”
Individuals interested in learning about Glean or purchasing its products can do so by visiting its website https://liveglean.com.