Youth Entrepreneur Invents New Way to Package and Sell Ice Cream
Making a good ice cream cone using hard ice cream can be an awkward task, and thirteen year old inventor Hannah Pucci wanted to help her mom find an easier way. Hannah’s solution? Egghead Ice Cream—individual egg-shaped ice cream scoops packed in an egg carton, which eliminate the need for an ice cream scoop.
When she was 11, she entered her idea into the 2012 Connecticut Invention Convention, and won the Food Innovation Award from Whole Foods Market along with exposure in the local news. As a result of her recognition, Hannah was invited to Baskin-Robbins’ corporate office to learn more about the ice cream industry, and was a featured presenter at the Connecticut Women of Innovation® Awards and at the Connecticut State Capital.
“There is a real market for Egghead Ice Cream. My goal is to form a licensing partnership with an established ice cream company who can help manufacture, distribute and market it to grocery stores and other locations across America,” Hannah explained.
Plus I want to help motivate other kids to believe in their ideas, and use their creative powers and entrepreneurial skills to make their dreams come true. I did it and I know they can too.
After Hannah and her mother, Kim Pucci, secured a provisional patent application that was good for one year, they contacted the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) in March 2013. CTSBDC business advisor Denise Whitford gave Hannah and Kim the hands-on help and guidance they needed to power ahead and navigate the numerous issues involved in making Egghead Ice Cream (Egghead) a viable, thriving business.
Together they developed a strategic business plan, applied for a patent, secured professional direction to license the egg-shaped ice cream concept, compiled a list of potential wholesale customers and competitors as well as generated preliminary research and demographic data about who would consume the end product, who might purchase a license and who could make equipment.
Denise also engaged the approval and combined efforts of the University of Connecticut’s (UConn) School of Engineering’s senior students to design the egg-shaped ice cream mold; and UConn’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to formulate and make ice cream samples.
With proof of concept well underway, Hannah and Kim next needed an industry mentor to make Egghead’s eventual commercial launch successful. Denise introduced the Puccis to CTSBDC State Director Emily Carter and in January 2014, Emily and Denise contacted Dippin’ Dots founder Curt Jones. Emily and Curt both graduated from Southern Illinois University and had teamed up on several innovation-related projects when Emily worked with Illinois’ SBDC. Connecting Egghead with Dippin’ Dots was a natural choice, and Curt welcomed Hannah, Kim and Denise with open arms March 31, 2014.
“It was thrilling to see an innovative industry leader at the start of her journey,” Curt said. “And Hannah and Kim were model protégés. They were focused, eager and willing to work hard at what they want, which is exactly the attitude needed to create a successful new
“Over the course of our two day visit, many company leaders shared their ideas and advice with us,” Denise explained. “We enjoyed a Dippin’ Dots plant tour and learned about each aspect of the ice cream business and how it relates to Egghead, including cost and product accounting techniques and strategies, marketing options and research, product research and development, and quality assurance and product testing standards. We also got to sample Egghead Ice Cream made by the R&D team at Dippin’ Dots, which we loved! Dippin’ Dots went all-out to ensure we got the most from our visit.”
“Moreover,” Denise continued, “there is significant value to teaching and learning invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. It drives our next generation of problem-solvers. Here at CTSBDC, we want to build this pipeline to grow a more qualified, skilled workforce. Helping young entrepreneurs bring their concept to market, become our next generation of business leaders and stimulate long term economic growth—these ideals are at the heart of CTSBDC’s mission.”Go Back