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3rd edition of Foodpreneur cohort graduates 25 participants

The third edition of the Foodpreneur cohort, a program of the Kingbird Innovation Center, housed in the Carolina Campus of the Ana G. Méndez University, graduated 25 participants, who are looking to innovate the gastronomy, culinary arts, and food service ecosystem.

The entrepreneurs will empower their projects with insights gained from experts in the 12-week workshop that covered a wide range of topics, including accounting and finance, food labeling, recipe development, permits and regulations, revenue management, branding and marketing, among other courses focused exclusively on the food industry, organizers said.

“We congratulate this class of entrepreneurs for taking the first step in developing their products,” said Anthony Rivera, vice chancellor and CEO of the Carolina campus. 

“This initiative fulfills our mission to promote entrepreneurship, focusing on the culinary arts and gastronomy, an important engine of economic development for the island,” said Rivera.

Rivera also explained that this third edition of the program had a record number of participants, proof of the initiative’s effectiveness.

Foodpreneur formally trains those entrepreneurs who are interested in developing a product in the food business, including those who are at the very early and conceptual phase, as well as those who already have a business and seek to strengthen it in certain areas, such as achieving their distribution goals, among other endeavors.

As part of the program, the participants benefited from one-on-one mentoring and advice from professionals active in the industry, who led courses and workshops covering a wide range of topics such as: alternatives for access to capital, how to organize the company, social networks as a sales tool, processes to scale a product, customer service strategies, logistics and distribution, co processing plants, and investment procurement, among others.

The graduation ceremony also included a conference offered by Chef Nelson Serrano, manager of innovation and at Ingredion, a US multinational supplier of ingredients that mainly produces starches, non-GMO sweeteners, Stevia, and Bean protein.

Businesswomen Carla Haeussler-Badillo from Carla’s Sweets and Ailed González-Quintana from TastySmart headed a discussion panel in which they addressed new trends in the food sector and the importance of culinary innovation in Puerto Rico.

Including this cohort, there are already 44 entrepreneurs who have graduated from the Foodpreneur program since the effort began in 2021.

Among the graduates of this third edition of the initiative is Yeira M. Valdez-Pimentel from Cooknnecting.

“Foodpreneur III will give me the opportunity to participate for the first time in a targeted approach within the industry,” said Valdez.

“This will enrich my journey as an entrepreneur, as well as maximize the experience of my guests,” said Valdez.

“The Foodpreneur program has not only been an extraordinary tool for knowledge and learning for Made by Cooks, but it has also provided confidence in our processes as businesspeople,” said Angélica Marrero from High Kitchen.

“The work carried out in the Foodpreneur program is commendable for the island’s business community,” said Marrero.

Foodpreneur focuses on providing its participants with access to a range of essential resources and services to develop competitive and sustainable companies related to the food, hospitality, and gastronomy industries.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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