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My Kitchen Incubator Journey

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My Kitchen Incubator Journey..is about sharing my challenges, lessons and wins this past year.

food 4 social change

My friend Denay Davis of Charlotte Pie Authority has challenged me to write about my journey of building a Kitchen Incubator. I have the vision, the dream and have been working on it for the past year, to make it happen.

Recently, I was at a community meeting, Thomas asked me, what have you learned the past year? That’s a deep question, as there are some days that I don’t know nothin’. That’s what it feels like sometimes. And sometimes I just want to slap people for the stupid responses I get back or the non-responses I don’t get back.

Here’s a few things I have learned about people who want to help:

1. If someone says, they want to help me, few weeks later I was ready for their help, they said to me “

They are too busy, then told me I wasn’t a tech co??

Duh, you knew this all along. This was a waste of time. I even was ready to even sign a contract..

2. I met this guy (Tim) online, we chatted on the phone a few times, (he does exist) I sent him my business plan he loved it and said let’s figure out what we can do together. Sounds good doesn’t it? As it turns out he found a building in Phoenix, AZ started communicating with the owners about my idea and his idea. He does SBA loans and has other partners that can help, when I am ready…

When I was ready I asked for help..he was too busy. They are just waiting for the funding to come through for their project. Did I miss something? Yep.

When people say “When you are ready call me.”.

Don’t Bother.

This is just a put-off.. go away little girl.

3. A partnership with a non-profit. I don’t know where people get the idea of partnerships are not cooperative or collaborative.

You build it Mari-Lyn and we’ll come use it, we don’t want to be partners as it’s going to take too much work on our part. So, when you get it built, we’ll come use it. Really??

4. The latest was a guy who wanted to get his business idea built, screw yours Mari-Lyn. His business plan wasn’t really a business plan, just an idea. Slap!

Although I have taken a few workshops, about what I need to know about raising money, meet other food entrepreneurs in industry meetings. Got the business plan and financials done. It still comes down to the root of it all, raising the capital for this project. I have been told to get traction and a co-founder, ok where?

It seems co-founders, where ever they are, interested in vesting their time on an app, not a kitchen development project. I guess this means the right person hasn’t arrived yet.

Even though people have good intentions by sending me to places and groups to get a mentor, or ask how to do something or how so and so, or meet this person..or talk to these people who got their kitchen up and running –

They are just doing what they think is helping me. Most of them haven’t even taken the time out to really understand what I am doing and how it’s going to really help other Food Startups.

This Kitchen project will serve farmers, value-added producers and the public + many others.

It’s in the middle.

No, it’s not a app.

No it’s not a product.

It’s a service that is critically needed. Other shared kitchens have wait lists.. This means a Food Startup has to wait to grow their food business. Without a kitchen, we aren’t in business.

What’s Next? is my question each day..

Oh, my win is I’m still in the game..keep going I’m getting closer. Until next time..

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