In January this year, Springwise selected 20 business and marketing ideas that they believe will provide entrepreneurs with plenty of opportunities in 2011. In case you missed or god forbid, forgot, we thought we would help you revisit the top 10. To see the top 20, click the link at the bottom. Each article will take you to the Springwise site for further reading.
1. Pop-up ‘MedCottage’ enables senior care at home
As the massive baby-boomer generation enters its senior years, a strain on long-term care facilities seems inevitable. Aiming to offer an alternative mode of senior care, Virginia-based N2Care has come up with the MedCottage, a pop-up, medically equipped suite that families can use on their property to care for seniors at home. The MedCottage is already authorized for use in Virginia and is designed to comply with local zoning ordinances throughout the US.
2. Vegetarian butcher serves up lupin-based meat substitutes
De Vegetarische Slager — the vegetarian butcher — opened a store in The Hague that’s dedicated to meat substitutes in the same way a butcher is dedicated to meat. The company’s main innovation is its own line of lupin-based, protein-rich products, developed by a Dutch team of scientists and chefs. De Vegetarische Slager is targeting the higher end of the market — consumers willing to pay as much for a meat substitute as they would for the real thing. As more people opt for meatless Mondays or cut out meat altogether, we wouldn’t be surprised to see vegetarian butchers pop up on main streets around the world.
3. On a bet, party people fill KLM flight to Miami using Twitter
DJs, promoters, label reps and ‘professional party people’ from the Netherlands have persuaded Dutch airline KLM to add an extra flight to its roster. In a new twist on crowd-buying, the initiators of Fly2Miami made a bet with KLM on Twitter to organize a non-stop flight from Amsterdam to Miami. Crowd clout and group buying — turbo-charged by social media — provide companies across industries with new opportunities to empower consumers while improving their bottom line or, at the very least, their brand image.
4. Indian courier service hires only deaf workers
India has one of the largest deaf populations in the world, but social stigmas have eliminated many job opportunities for the roughly 6 percent of the population that is affected. Aiming to empower this isolated group economically while tapping into a growth market, Mirakle Couriers is a messenger service that hires only deaf workers. The company puts a heavy emphasis on the training of employees — right down to the finer points of personal grooming.
5. Luxury women’s panties by curated subscription
Panty by Post is a Canadian venture that offers a selection of women’s underwear by monthly subscription. Customers can order panties individually, or they can sign up for subscriptions lasting two, three, six or 12 months. A different panty is then sent every month, each wrapped in an attractive mailing package. It’s a great example of subscription-based retail, offering curation alongside convenience. One to apply to a category you’re passionate about.
6. Buy-one-give-one indie eyewear sells for $99 per pair
The market for prescription eyewear has traditionally been dominated by high prices, little innovation and a few large competitors. That’s why we’ve seen online discounters emerge, and it’s also why Warby Parker has set its sights on the industry — so to speak — with a paradigm-busting model that aims to combine independent design, “buy one, give one” generosity and some long-overdue pricing transparency.
7. Fiat offers electric bikes as loaner vehicles
Showing smart thinking from a major brand, and tapping into the desires of eco-conscious consumers, Fiat now offers Spanish owners of its Fiat 500 an electric bike option while their car is in the shop. The service is available in various cities in Spain through a partnership with bicycle maker Trek. There’s no charge for borrowing the electric bikes, which have a 70 km range and recharge during braking as well as through plug-in power. Fiat hopes the loaner bikes will demonstrate its commitment to sustainable mobility. Since this is a relevant and appealing way to let consumers try out a product that’s still unfamiliar to most, electric bicycle brands would do well to seize the opportunity and initiate similar partnerships in other countries.
8. Tapping professional skills of micro-volunteers via iPhone & web
San Francisco-based Sparked by The Extraordinaries is an online platform that seeks to make it easy for altruistic consumers to support an organization or cause. It enlists both individuals and groups of company employees to contribute their expertise to a nonprofit in even the smallest chunks of time. Requests by nonprofits might include translating a page of a document into Spanish, for instance, or helping to choose a new logo. The organization neatly combines people’s desire to give back to society with another prevalent trend: their need for convenience.
9. Cleaning product sold in cartridges, diluted at home from the tap
Forward-thinking manufacturers are working to decrease the amount of packaging used for their products. Some offer concentrated formulas, others sell refills in bags instead of containers. Now, a Canadian startup has come up with an innovative solution: refill cartridges that consumers dilute at home. Developed by Planet People, the iQ line of household cleaning products features small cartridges of plant-based concentrate. Consumers fill a spray bottle with ordinary tap water and pop in a cartridge. The coloured concentrate visibly mixes with the water, and voila: a full bottle of cleaner.
10. A fresh take on online memorials
1000Memories provides a place for friends and family to gather and remember deceased loved ones. While the field of online memorial services is a crowded one, many of those sites were clearly created in the early days of the web. With its fresh design and more current feature set, 1000Memories sets itself apart and could attract a sizeable audience. (One to launch in other countries!) The concept is part of a wider trend in web publishing, whereby it’s becoming increasingly simple for non-geeks to build beautiful websites, often in 10 minutes or less. Other examples include Flavors.me and Tumblr.