Jola Venture

Fifth- ​​year stu­dent Drew D’Agostino spent his co-​​op last year in Cameroon working for Jola Ven­ture Inc., a social enter­prise founded at North­eastern that helps farmers be more pro­duc­tive and prof­itable though low-​​cost tech­nolo­gies and edu­ca­tion. He per­formed market research about African farmers’ busi­nesses and the ben­e­fits of food preser­va­tion. His co-​​op also focused on helping to launch Solpod, a solar-​​powered food dehy­drator devel­oped by North­eastern engi­neering stu­dents as a cap­stone project.

Through his experiential-​​learning oppor­tu­nity, D’Agostino said he real­ized the food preser­va­tion prob­lems for farmers make for volatile food mar­kets. He noted that this lesson also pro­vided a greater overall per­spec­tive on global business.

Dif­ferent mar­kets have very dif­ferent prob­lems, and you can dis­cover new busi­nesses and oppor­tu­ni­ties by get­ting out of your com­fort zone,” he said. “When you spend your whole life in the same market, or the same country, you are only aware of the prob­lems right in front of you.”