Photo by Rolf Hagberg

Minneapolis, Minn. — Kindred Kitchen gives aspiring entrepreneurs a chance to try out their food product idea in a commercial kitchen before plunging into the marketplace. The food business incubator offers workshops throughout the year and rental space for north Minneapolis food entrepreneurs.

Kindred Kitchen was developed by Catalyst Community Partners, a nonprofit that purchases and renovates buildings to bring jobs, businesses and revenue to North Minneapolis. The nonprofit surveyed community members and found a need for commercial kitchen space and technical assistance for food entrepreneurs. The fully-licensed commercial kitchen space, completed in November 2010, offers classes and space to more than 40 clients. Kindred Kitchen awards 20 scholarships annually for reduced-rate kitchen rental and workshops.

Terese Hill, Kitchen Operations Manager, says Kindred Kitchen offers two workshop series: “Know Your Product” includes sessions on food safety, nutritional analysis and labeling, packaging, market research, catering, sales, distribution and a field trip to Minneapolis food businesses. The “Know Your Plan” series focuses on business plan development, financing, contracts and food-show preparation. The series concludes with a buyer’s fair and food show attended by industry professionals who provide feedback on food products.

In February, one session included a two-hour presentation on labeling, nutritional analysis and AURI services by Charan Wadhawan, AURI food scientist. “Charan has been an invaluable resource … she is great for the technical (food analysis) side that Kindred Kitchen isn’t able to help with,” says Hill, who holds a B.S. in foods & nutrition and business from Saint Catherine’s University. Since the presentation, Wadhawan says she has received numerous phone calls and is providing 10 of Kindred Kitchen’s clients with AURI technical assistance. “This is a great opportunity for the north Minneapolis area,” Wadhawan says.

Kindred Kitchen’s weekly tours have given more than 250 people the opportunity to see the space, learn about licensing and food certification and speak with a business consultant. Eventually, Hill says she wants the nonprofit Kindred Kitchen to expand into a larger space with more workshop topics such as social media and financial bookkeeping and offer classes taught by local chefs.

For more on Kindred Kitchen, visit www.kindredkitchen.org.

PROJECT SNAPSHOT

AURI and Kindred Kitchen

AURI scientist Charan Wadhawan provided technical support and instruction to clients of this north Minneapolis business incubator.

Idea to opportunity

Provide space and resources to start-up food businesses to support business growth and job creation through food entrepreneurship.

Outcomes

At least 10 food entrepreneurs have received AURI assistance since Wadhawan provided training to Kindred Kitchen clients.