GAINESVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--UF Innovate | The Hub, a leading business incubator in the University of Florida business incubation system, announced that resident client aha Pure Foods, a vegan soup company, is the 2018 winner of the Cox Business’ Get Started Gainesville Business Pitch Competition.
Cox Business selected five finalists out of more than 40 local business applicants who pitched their businesses to a panel of experts in front of a live audience on October 23 at the Florida Museum of History in Gainesville. The finalists included Palmetto and Pine, Qu Parking, Niekaab, and Precision One Health. aha Pure Foods was awarded the Grand Prize of more than $27,000 in cash and prizes. The company also received the People’s Choice Award, as voted on by the audience.
aha Pure Foods is a plant-powered health food company spreading the philosophy that food is the ultimate medicine. Founded by Naturopath Wayne Garland and Chef Alfie Crescentini, the two men decided to replace artificial ingredients, high levels of sodium and added sugars commonly found in canned soups with organic, healing whole foods that are rich with vitamins and minerals.
Rising to the Top
At the business pitch competition, Samantha Bove, CEO of aha Pure Foods, delivered a two-and-a-half-minute pitch describing the soup’s medicinal value, marketing strategy, expansion plan, and current customer base. The organic, vegan soups are available through Lucky’s Market, Ward’s Supermarket, hospitals, independent grocers, and doctors’ offices, as well as the company’s e-commerce website.
aha Pure Foods is currently seeking $2 million which will be directed toward improving capital equipment, expanding distribution, increasing the team, and marketing and sales.
“Our soups are so popular we can’t keep them on the shelves, and if we can’t keep them on the shelves we can’t grow,” explained CEO Bove. “This prize allows us to continue our expansion and service more customers. To be able to utilize the resources of UF Innovate | The Hub has contributed greatly to our progress. We are also grateful for the ample support we’ve received from Cox Business and the Gainesville community.”
“This was another year of outstanding applicants and ideas,” said Harbin Bolton, Vice President of Cox Business in Florida and Georgia. “It’s always very encouraging to see the talent and entrepreneurial spirit coming out of the Central Florida area. I’d like to thank and wish best of luck to all of the businesses who participated this year and congratulate aha Pure Foods for rising to the top.”
Mark Long, Director of UF Incubation Services, said, “We congratulate aha Pure Foods on receiving this award and look forward to their expansion. The company is an excellent example of how UF Innovate | The Hub offers entrepreneurs resources and support services that ably assist their growth and success.”
aha Pure Foods soups are currently available for pre-order in select states, in stores in select states and in stores throughout Florida. Visit ahapurefoods.com to find out more.
About aha Pure Foods
aha Pure Foods is a plant-powered health food company spreading the philosophy that food is the ultimate medicine. Founded by Naturopath Wayne Garland and Chef Alfie Crescentini, the dynamic duo decided to replace artificial ingredients, high levels of sodium and added sugars commonly found in canned soups with organic, healing whole foods that are rich with vitamins and minerals. aha Pure Foods satisfies the need for a conveniently prepared health food that is cooked, rather than ultra-processed. Each of the company’s soups is free of gluten, nuts and preservatives.
Currently, aha Pure Foods’ line of refrigerated soups include:
- Lion’s Mane - Adaptogenic mushrooms (including lion’s mane and reishi) pair together to reduce stress and boost cognitive function
- Fire-Proof – Turmeric, ginger and root vegetables combine to benefit joint stiffness and inflammation
- Lucky Bones – A plant-based bone broth alternative formulated with deep-sea minerals and 24 grams of plant protein per jar, designed to soothe the digestive tract and promote gut health
- Sweet Chi - Butternut squash bisque made with bitter melon, yacon root and Thai spices combine to promote pancreatic health and weight management
aha Pure Foods soups are currently available for pre-order in select states and in stores in select states and in stores throughout Florida. Visit www.ahapurefoods.com to find out more.
About UF Innovate | The Hub
UF Innovate | The Hub is a University of Florida business incubator with a mission to build, drive and support innovation. The incubator is recognized as a major catalyst in helping propel the university city of Gainesville, FL, to become one of the top energized tech communities in the Southeast. The “hub” of the North Central Florida entrepreneurial ecosystem has a global outreach. The 100,000 sq. ft. incubator provides state-of-the-art wet laboratory, light manufacturing and office space, with advising, mentoring, education, programs and amenities to help entrepreneurs and innovators succeed. Resident and affiliate programs are available to assist startups, small business and growth companies.