With the ideas for new businesses in the food space sprouting faster than a Chia pet, food business startups today need more support than ever, and at every stage of development. Clearly, there’s a demand for innovation in the global food system. With a growing population, those demands cover everything from a sustainable food supply to newly-generated “wants” (vs needs) created by crafty food entrepreneuers.
The Food Lab at the University of Texas at Austin recently presented a Food Challenge startup competition, receiving more than 120 entries from across the country. The range of business ideas covered everything from mass consumption of insect protein to edible, biodegradable packaging and kitchen robotics. Ours is one of many food startup competitions around the country and Europe pulling in food entrepreneurs by the truckload.
Within the past two years, the art and science of crowdfunding has become a vital step in the launch of hundreds of thousands of businesses across all industries. The Food Lab at UT recognizes its benefits, therefore, developed a partnership with Barnraiser, a pioneer in crowdfunding and community building for food innovators. Clearly a win-win for users of Barnraiser and the growing Food Lab network, it is one of a number of partnerships we’ve developed to continually support and motivate food entrepreneurs during their crucial startup periods. A partnership network that includes our friends here at Food+Tech Connect who provide amazing benefits through an array of services and tools from news analysis to online and offline education and networking events.
Kickstarter alone reported $529 million pledged in 2014. Another article in Forbes noted that worldwide crowdfunding could hit $10 billion last year (across all platforms globally). Navigating the crowdfunding landscape can be dizzying, so if you’re thinking joining the fray, be prepared.
Food+Tech Connect’s Crowdfunding for Food Entrepreneurs E-course (available in May) will give you the skills to succeed. They’ve brought in the expertise of Lisa Q. Fetterman, founder and CEO of Nomiku, who raised $1.3M for the sous vide immersion circulator startup. Attendees will walk away with invaluable insights and an action plan to help get their projects funded.
Armed with crowdfunding know-how and a business plan, consider entering your bright idea or startup in the Food Lab’s Second Annual Food Challenge Prize. Finals take place February 6, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Check our website for more information including submission dates and criteria.
Robyn Metcalfe is the Founder & Executive Director of The Food Lab. Desert running and a PB&J sandwich—what connects these topics? A tenacious curiosity to see what you can learn by just jumping in! The same sense of wonder that called Director Robyn Metcalfe to run the great deserts of the world has led her to take on the task of mapping our current food supply. A historian, desert distance runner, and food futurist with a lifelong hunger to take on irrational challenges, Robyn Metcalfe marvels at what it takes to simply create a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.