We missed him last week, but Jamie White’s back with another Guru Contributor piece. This one is about the entrepreneurial potential of a CNY-based food processing facility. It focuses on the difference this could make for “foodie-preneurs” who often reside outside the traditional private capital investment model. Interesting stuff. Let’s see what Jamie has to say:
In the world of entrepreneurship, seeing an idea through to fruition is a matter of time, energy, and wits. Each step of the process has guides, advisers and resources available to leap an approaching hurdle or accelerate toward the marketplace.
Success is measured by scalability and exit strategies. The faster an idea grows, the quicker it can be refined and scooped up by wealthy investors. Once that occurs, the cycle is complete and begins again.
Of course, there’s an entire segment of entrepreneurs that don’t fit into this process. Time, energy, and wits can push an idea to the brink of success but without certain infrastructure, prosperity can be difficult to attain. These entrepreneurs rarely rely on hefty infusions of cash from investors or take time to contemplate how they’ll sell a certain percentage of equity in exchange for capital.
Foodie-preneurs face a different set of challenges. In most cases, developing the product is the easy part. Passion oozes into the recipe, the quality of the meat, the taste of the sauce. Processing, production on a significant scale, marketing, and administrative resources are an uphill battle. These are the barriers to success for the small-scale food business owner.
Enter the Growing Upstate Food Hub.
A collection of farmers are working with public and private funders to create our own regional food processing plant, located in Canastota. The facility (which already exists, it would just need to be equipped and staffed) would bridge the divide for foodie-preneurs searching for a way to move their insanely tasty tomato sauce from the kitchen to the store shelf.
Moving product into retail-ready state, marketing services, salespeople, and administrative assistance will be incorporated inside the walls of the 45 thousand square foot building. In an effort to bolster the vibrancy and accessibility of our regional food system, Growing Upstate Food Hub is the logical next step in foodie-preneurship and innovation for our community.
The USDA’s local food guru Kathleen Merrigan wrote about the importance of food processing facilities for the Atlantic Cities in September of last year, and the Agriculture Department came out with a lengthy report on the role of food hubs in marketing local food products just last week.
Central New York is ripe with agricultural resources, however without a processing hub that can realize the potential of the local food movement, we are missing an opportunity to lead in a trend that is sweeping the nation.
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