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Kitchen Incubation

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As the local movements are happening to support food businesses, Food 4 Social Change is moving forward with Kitchen Incubation.

street art by nuxuno

One of the many challenges of Incubator is a model that they can be supported financially. There are facility costs, design, scheduling,regulatory compliance issues, utilities, administration and attracting high-quality food Entrepreneurs.

Why would anyone want to venture off to do something like this? Answer: To benefit the community at large.

I believe that it is possible to have a successful venture. It takes working together to make it all happen.

There are a couple of successful ways that it can. If you look at FoodLab in Detroit, they have designed a program that drastically reduces the cost of operation by taking advantage of existing resources, strengthening connections between food Entrepreneurs and the communities they serve. It’s taken them three years to develop this.

DetroitLab is more of a connector between the commercial kitchen and the food entrepreneur. Daniel and contractor Devita Davison began talking to food Entrepreneurs and owners of commercial kitchen space to figure out a system that would work.

Here’s five steps that helped them do this.

#1. Understand the nature of the demand
They determined how many kitchen hours per week were needed by each Entrepreneur, the equipment needs and types of product was going to be produced and the ability to pay rent.

#2. Understand the nature of the supply
They keep the costs low for Entrepreneurs, the kitchens who had a desire to work with organizations to build up the local economy and community. If kitchens are only interested in profits DetroitLab, doesn’t want to work with them

#3. Develop a workable financial model
Even though the kitchens didn’t expect a profit, they did need to cover the costs.

#4. Establish a workflow
Foodlab serves primarily as a designer and catalyst for Detroit Kitchens Connection program. DetroitLab manages the day-today operations.

#5. Develop and provide Incubation support services
FoodLab provides educational programs, workshops, information on sourcing, financial management, business plan development and marketing.

This model is just one way to provide Kitchen Incubation for Food Entrepreneurs. Food 4 Social Change, is expanding it much further by providing Culinary Skill training for the homeless, youth at risk and ex-cons.

Will have a Bakery / Cafe, Catering services, Education for Food Entrepreneurs, a Community Garden project, a Gleaning program plus other food related services.

We hope you come join us, by contributing your time, talent, expertise and even funding our programs. Maybe if so moves you that you join the Steering Committee.

If you have any connections that you would like to share or help us to continue to move forward – we welcome them.

Love to hear your ideas and suggestions.

Mari-Lyn Harris

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