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The Enterprise Center boosts local food entrepreneurs

May 8, 2015 Category: Purpose

Thirteen food entrepreneurs are participating in The Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation’s 2nd Cooking Up Success fundraiser. The event will take place on May 19 at the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises (CCE) and will include a competitive element, the Philly Made Culinary Competition.

The Enterprise Center, founded in 1989 by the Wharton Small Business Development Center, provides access to capital, building capacity, business education and economic development opportunities to high-potential, minority entrepreneurs.

“Cooking Up Success was created to give the food entrepreneurs in Philadelphia a chance to showcase their products and to give them the funding and some support from the Enterprise Center to help grow their business to the next level,” said Carissa Merritt, special events manager at The Enterprise Center.

“The Enterprise Center has its own fundraiser in October, ‘Passing the Torch,’ but we decided to have a fundraiser for the community development corporation because there are a lot of entrepreneurs that we don’t necessarily focus on at ‘Passing the Torch,’” Merritt said, adding that those entrepreneurs include community and food entrepreneurs. “The CDC focuses a lot on food, and the community, and the Walnut Hill community, so we wanted to create an event that would showcase those food entrepreneurs.”

Attendees will cast their vote and choose which of the finalists will receive a portion of a $50,000 grant, provided by The Enterprise Center Capital Corporation (funded by a variety of different sources) and kitchen time at the Center for Culinary Enterprises. Finalists will compete in the following categories:

  • Innovative Food Creation for culinary visionaries with an inventive food product;
  • Emerging Food Business for up and coming entrepreneurs who are looking to grow or establish their brick and mortar establishment;
  • Innovative Collaboration, in which teams show off their collaborative food product or business (one member of the team much be a Center for Culinary Enterprises client).

“The collaboration category came about, really just so there was something that we could distinguish for our clients of the Center for Culinary Enterprises. We wanted make sure that there was a way that they could still feel like they’re participating in the competition,” Merritt said.

From our Partners

The winner in the ‘Innovative Food Creation’ category will receive 15 hours of kitchen time at CCE to be used for food production, as well as more than $2,000 to fund licenses, certificates, and insurance. Winners in the ‘Emerging Food Business’ and ‘Innovative Collaboration’ categories will win a portion of the $50,000 grant and additional funds to acquire the necessary certifications, insurance and labeling needed for their food business or product.

Image via The Enterprise Center

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