FoodBiz101 Pitch Competition

Economic Justice

CommonWealth Kitchen and the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice 

Announce Food Biz 101 Pitch Competition on May 1st

Food Biz 101, a food business start-up accelerator developed through a partnership between CommonWealth Kitchen and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice invites you to attend their Food Entrepreneur Pitch Competition on May 1 in Boston.

The 12-week program is taught by a dynamic range of industry experts, including pro bono attorneys from Goodwin,  who guide aspiring entrepreneurs through the complex challenges associated with successfully starting and scaling a wholesale or retail food business. Classes tackle issues such as recipe scaling, cost of goods, labeling regulations, licensing, permitting, marketing, and business entity formation.

The food industry offers a range of opportunities for people from all walks of life to create  businesses and work in a field with meaningful career opportunities regardless of background or education.  However, food businesses are also incredibly challenging, with low margins, complex permitting and licensing rules, expensive infrastructure requirements, confusing sales and distribution systems and enormous price sensitivity.  Food businesses are particularly challenging for low-income people who often lack access to funding needed to start and prove their concept, and lack access to business connections needed to scale. In 2016, CWK and the Lawyers’ Committee teamed up to develop this Food Biz 101 accelerator program to provide the education, training, and resources needed to help level the playing field and to close the opportunity gap.

The current 15-person cohort was selected from a competitive pool of 40+ applicants, and includes a diverse mix of participants, including 60% women and 90% people of color. 

The 12-week Food Biz 101 program culminates in a pitch competition where all of the participants have the opportunity to share their business ideas with a panel of industry experts. The winner from the inaugural summer 2016 class, Teresa Maynard, owner of Sweet Teez Bakery, launched her business out of CWK last fall. Contestants from the current cycle include entrepreneurs making Ethiopian mead, Caribbean and Irish baked goods, and Southern homestyle BBQ. The May 1st Pitch Competition will include time for networking and tastings from 10 entrepreneurs, including Wendell’s incredible cheesecake, Ishana’s chicken tikka masala, and much more.

FoodBiz101 was featured on NECN’s “The Take with Sue O’Connell.”