Turning Childhood Science Experiments into a Business 


For another powerful example of young ambition making an impact, look no further than Fenugreen and its remarkable founder, Kavita Shukla. At age 12, while visiting family in India, Shukla made the mistake of accidentally drinking the tap water. This would have made her very ill, had her grandmother not given her some homebrewed spice tea— which warded off the ill effects of the water.

After returning home to Maryland, she tried to re-create the tea and its accompanying benefits, mixing kitchen spices in jars of pond water and then applying them to produce. “I was this weird kid with rotting strawberries in my garage,” says Shukla, now 30.

The idea grew and changed shape finally evolving into spice infused sheets of paper. Shukla even created her own paper blend, using $25 worth of materials from a craft store. Now Fenugreen, based in Columbia, Maryland, makes FreshPaper, which keeps food fresh by inhibiting bacterial and fungal growth. The possibilities for scientific and humanitarian causes are endless.

Kavita Shukla, image courtesy of Greg Kahn and Inc.

Kavita Shukla, image courtesy of Greg Kahn and Inc.

Her full story, including how she financed herself at 17, her foray in manufacturing, and the ambition and innovation that keeps her going are featured in an Inc. series “How to Launch for Less Than $10,000.” It’s well worth the read for STEM students, entrepreneurs, and pretty much anyone who eats food.



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