Last Updated: Saturday, September 27, 2014
A University of South Florida graduate student is behind a new product called Aquamelon that is slated to hit shelves in a few days.
Aquamelon is essentially watermelon juice. Desmond Williams thought of the idea last year after taking long jogs with his girlfriend.
"It came up by us habitually eating watermelon after a run," he said. "And we decided one day to drink the juice."
But he wondered: How could this be mass produced?
That's where USF's Student Innovation Incubator stepped in. The program put Williams in touch with the right people to explore his dream and help turn it into a legitimate business.
Less than a year later, the dream is a reality.
"Ultimately, we have a product that tastes just like you're biting into a fresh slice of watermelon," Williams said.
Part of the challenge was learning how to squeeze juice from such a delicate product. Most other juices require heat pasteurization, Williams says. And watermelon can't handle that process.
It will hit shelves first around the university area.
The success impressed USF President Judy Genshaft so much she invited the Aquamelon team to her annual address, during which she told a crowd of hundreds about the product. She hopes this is just the beginning of the success for several other student businesses getting a jump start through the incubator.
There are 24 new student start up companies hoping to have the same success this year at USF.
The Princeton Review just named USF 13th in the nation for entrepreneurship.