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“1 MORE PROTEIN”, a low sugar, fast-absorbing, plant-based protein that encourages many bodybuilding enthusiasts with lactose intolerance, created by a team led by Hsin Hua Ai  (艾欣樺) of the Department of Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management, National Chi Nan University, was selected the Phase 2 finalist of the Youth Development Administration's U-Start Plan. 

Building muscles and sculpting a perfect body shape often require a high-protein diet in addition to working out. However, whey protein is generally animal-based, and individuals who have lactose intolerance symptoms have to stay away from it.About 80% of the population in Asia suffers from lactose intolerance. When the “1 MORE PROTEIN” project members, Hsin Hua Ai, Jhen Hui Lu, and Chi Jui Wu, were exercising to maintain healthy weights, in order to increase their metabolic rate, they needed to take protein supplements to build muscle.

However, the protein supplements used in the fitness industry were all animal-based and contained milk, for example, Impact Whey Protein Powder, ALLMAS Classic Whey Protein, MARS low-fat Whey Protein, American ON Gold Whey Protein, etc. The project team members suffered from diarrhea and abdominal pain after consuming the whey protein products currently on the market, which motivated them to research low-sugar, low-fat, plant-based protein.

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Proteins solidify quickly when they are exposed to high temperatures. After a great deal of trial and error, their hard work finally paid off in the product development stage and the project team found the best formula parameters. Hsin-Hua Ai mentioned that the most challenging part of the entire process was writing the business proposal and creating the business model structure. Students typically lack experience in market operations and product commercialization.

Fortunately, the team advisor, Associate Professor Yu-Chih Huang (黃裕智), and teachers in the NCNU Entrepreneur Incubator offered suggestions, helped to amend and refine the written business proposal, and provided multiple resources and coordination. Finally, comfort, health, desired body shape, and tastiness found an intersection, which is no longer just a good idea in the mind; instead, it’s the beginning of an entrepreneurial dream.

Hsin-Hua Ai talked about the transformation of participating in the U-Start Plan for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the past year. On the one hand, she is a junior with heavy schoolwork, but on the other hand, she is an entrepreneur.

To make full use of her time, she organized tasks with batch planning and has learned to be responsible for herself, though it was a little tiring, she truly enjoyed the process. “Hard work is worthwhile when you are on the path towards the realization of your dream.” She also stated, “The market won’t be forgiving when you make a mistake. Success and profit are never guaranteed with startups, but I didn’t want to regret not giving it a try!”

She advises younger students who want to start a business: “Many ideas are great, but timing is everything. If you miss the opportunity, it may never show up again. Seize the moment and go forward bravely!”

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