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YES team creates hydroponic garden on a wall

Young Enterprise Scheme team GrowHydro unveiled the prototype of their hydroponic garden wall last week, pitching it as perfect for those green thumbs who do not want to get dirt under their fingernails.

Christy Tate came up with the idea and said the plants grow in gravel, so there is no soil required.

“To replace the nutrients plants normally receive from soil, we add a hydroponic liquid nutrient to the water.”

Water is pumped from the bottom up into the top planting box and filters down into a second box below.

It is solar powered, so works only during daylight hours and holds three litres of water.

The team, made up of students from Gisborne Girls’ and Gisborne Boys’ High Schools, received a perfect score in the first research and development stage of YES and did well at the business pitch evening held at Electric Village last week.

This puts them in a good position as they go into the final stages, which are advertising and promotion and sales.

GrowHydro is suited to apartments and council houses where garden space is limited.

“It is perfect for older people who love gardening but cannot get down on their knees any more,” said the team’s CEO Maddie Wilson.

It could also be an architectural feature in kitchens, or placed on patios or decks, she said.

“We applied for seed funding and received $300 from YES to create the prototype,” said Adam Whibley, who is in charge of finance.

The team built the plant wall in Christy’s garage and are now making some final adjustments to their product before it goes to market.

They hope to sell it for $150 a unit and will produce the first order themselves.

GrowHydro has an Instagram account to reach a younger audience and the product could also be sold using brochures and newspaper advertising.

Electric Village energy champion Katherine Evett was one of the judges at the pitching event and said she was very impressed with the standard of teams.

“Not only were the participants well rehearsed and clued up about every aspect of their business, they were also incredibly passionate about their ideas, which was encouraging to see.”

“We were delighted to support YES with the use of our venue, Electric Village.

“The Young Enterprise Scheme is about encouraging innovation, collaboration and teaching participants skills to adapt to changing circumstances.”

Growth business: GrowHydro is pictured with the prototype of their garden wall product that grows plants hydroponically. They are, from left Grace Bosher (design), Salustiano Rodriguez Ferrere (sales and marketing), Christy Tate (product developer and production), Adam Whibley (finances) and Maddie Wilson (CEO). Absent is Travis Mitchell (communications and social media). Picture by Rebecca Grunwell