Save the Piggies

Three years ago, Matthew Rooda walked into the barn of a massive pig farm where he worked to find eight piglets crushed to death by the sow. It’s a baffling behavior that costs the pork industry more than $6 billion annually. Rooda, now a recent graduate of the University of Iowa, refused to accept this as a “sunk cost,” so he created a wearable device that, in the simplest terms, combines the technology of a fitness tracker and a shock collar, alerting both farm staff and the sow when a piglet is being crushed.

Related: 5 Tips to Inspire an Innovative Mindset

Save the Piggies
PROVIDED BY ENTREPRENEURS’ ORGANIZATION 

Rooda won the U.S. National Competition of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in March, an event hosted by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. He also represented the U.S. at the GSEA in Frankfurt, Germany, in April. The international competition was ultimately won by Julián Ríos Cantú of Mexico.

Rooda’s company, SwineTech, has raised more than $1 million in sales and competition winnings, and plans to continue vigorous marketing now that he’s no longer balancing the roles of full-time CEO and student.

Crediting his success to relationships and mentoring, Rooda offers this advice to young entrepreneurs: “Don’t be closed-minded. There are so many people out there who want to help you. Listen and create relationships. You’re much more likely to succeed when you reach out, find the right people and allow them to help you.”

Save the Piggies
PROVIDED BY ENTREPRENEURS’ ORGANIZATION 

Related: Why Mentors Are Vital to Your Success

 

This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

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Cecilia Meis

Cecilia Meis was the integrated content editor for SUCCESS magazine and SUCCESS.com. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism. A Kansas City native, Cecilia enjoys sand volleyball, new stationery and a heaping plate of burnt ends.

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