360 KidsCommunity October 5, 2016

Senior Projects 2016 – Mountain Made

A look into startup business and entrepreneurship


High School: Community School

Plans for Next Year: Middlebury College

Project Title: Mountain Made: A Look Into Startup Business and Entrepreneurship

Max Polito’s project involved creating a new sports recovery drink much healthier than those on the current market by refining chocolate milk to maximize its benefits while removing ingredients that hinder its potential.

Excerpts from Max’s project:

The prior research I did proved to be valuable early on … because it helped me create a plan to execute right away. I did a lot of research to understand the concept of the ‘Lean Startup Model’ and the ‘Lean Canvas,’ which both became objectives to complete during project. The creation of an MVP, or minimum viable product, was taken from the Lean Startup Model and became the first goal … The MVP would be the recipe for our recovery drink after the first initial testing. As it turned out, more research during the project led the first MVP to a tasting at Community School before it was further refined. The second attempt called for a necessary change to the recipe to yield the proper ratio of carbohydrates to protein. By going through this process, there is now an MVP that has had … little money and … a great deal of time put into its creation. With an MVP (called Mountain Milk) in hand, we can progress into initial marketing phases by taking the product to a small market and gauging the interest for this product based on people’s reactions.

Senior project … allowed me the opportunity to see what the real world of business and entrepreneurship is like. What felt important to me was exploring the opportunities and uses this drink could have in schools and for athletes. At multiple points along the way there were moments that felt like we had the ability to fundamentally change some element of our target group’s current process. As an athlete I struggle to find the best after-workout nutrition that pairs ease of consumption with intake of vital nutrients. This drink, coupled with knowing exactly what was in it, was a relief. After learning about the relatively loose regulations nutrition labels are subject to, the concept of a product I can trust and believe in was pivotal in the creation of the drink. The understanding behind why and how ingredients and claims end up on the final product are important hooks to educate the population of people who could be interested in consuming this product.

Mountain Milk is a product born and raised in the Wood River Valley. That fact alone could help to support and stimulate the local economy. During project, we met with a local organization that … helps local small businesses and startups get going. Mountain Milk hopes to draw interest to the Valley and help promote other businesses and startups and their connections with bigger production means. Another hope is that if Mountain Milk does well, it could inspire other businesses and startups from the valley to take off. Hopefully this will inspire younger students to take up entrepreneurship and make attempts at startups with ideas they come up with. Additionally, the population of the valley is often looking for the next best health trend. Giving people a product they can trust and believe in is one of the goals this company has set out to accomplish.

This article appears in the Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.