Contest aims to find next hot 'foodpreneur'

May 16, 2012
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

It seems fitting that “foodpreneurship” is heating up nationwide. After all, where there’s smoke …

In this case, the fire is in the kitchen—lit by countless entrepreneurs looking to find a recipe for business success. Consider the explosion of food trucks and farmers’ markets, burger bars and brewery bites. Economic woes or not, people have to eat.

As IBJ reported last month, Indiana has joined about two dozen other states in allowing home-based food vendors to sell certain products with minimal state oversight, making it easier—and less expensive—for would-be entrepreneurs to explore the marketplace.

Now local food-business incubator Indy’s Kitchen is teaming up with equipment supplier Reliable Water Services to sponsor the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge. About 60 aspiring entrepreneurs entered the regional competition, which will award prizes worth $3,500 to the winner.

Finalists will participate in a June 19 showdown at Indy’s Kitchen, which rents space in its Central Avenue commercial kitchen to food businesses of all kinds. The top competitors also will be invited to show off their products at the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce’s June 20 SchmoozaPalooza event at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where attendees will choose a “People’s Choice” winner.

Indianapolis resident Becky Eaton is excited to be one of the four judges. A foodpreneur herself, Eaton launched Becky’s Healthy Kitchen part-time early last year and says interest in her healthy cooking classes has been encouraging. She's eager to help others find their niche, even if it means more competition for her.

“People are coming up with good ideas all the time,” she said, but financing them can be a challenge—particularly for food-related businesses.

So the $2,500 in seed money that comes with the grand prize (along with a $500 gift certificate for professional cookware and $500 worth of consulting and commercial kitchen time) is a big draw, she said.

“We are so excited to help local entrepreneurs who have an innovative food-business idea but need resources to get started,” Reliable Water President Lynne Robinson said in a prepared statement.  “It’s very gratifying to know we can help kick-start someone’s culinary dream.”

The Milwaukee-based company, which provides water heaters, boilers and water softeners to commercial enterprises including restaurants, has a service center in Indianapolis.

Joining Eaton on the judging panel: Ian Kille, executive chef at MCL Restaurant & Bakery; Emory Constanios, executive chef at Hilton Indianapolis North; and Jan Chronic of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
  1. "This was a very localized, Indiana issue," he said. As in, Indiana failed to expand Medicaid to cover its poor citizens resulting in the loss of essential medical services, including this EMS company. Well done, Indiana GOP. Here are the real death panels: GOP state governments who refuse to expand Medicaid for political reasons.

  2. In the "one for all, all for none" socialist doctrine the sick die...this plus obama"care" equates to caucasian genocide plus pushed flight to cities thus further eroding the conservative base and the continualed spiral toward complete liberal/progressive/marxist America.

  3. There is a simple reason why WISH is not reporting on this story. LIN has others stations in different markets that are affiliated with CBS. Reporting about CBS blindsiding WISH/LIN due to CBS's greed and bullying tatics would risk any future negoations LIN will have with CBS in other markets.

  4. My best always! Dave Wilson

  5. How did Columbus, Ohio pull off a car share service without a single dollar of public subsidies? They must not have a mayor who is on the take like Indianapolis. Daimler Benz offers Columbus residents their Smart Cars on a market-driven basis: "This has some neat features. Cars don’t have to be picked up and dropped off at fixed points. You find one with your smart phone based on GPS, and drop it off anywhere in the service area you can find a spot – even at a meter. These cars aren’t required to feed the meter so you get free on street parking while using them. I was told this system was put in place on a market basis without subsidies – and that the vendor actually pays the city for the use of the meters."