All it takes is an idea: imagine introducing your favorite recipe to others, creating a restaurant from scratch, or seeing your items on a grocery store shelf.
No matter which path you want to take in the food industry, Findlay Kitchen in Cincinnati is the place to start.
Findlay Kitchen supports those looking to start, grow and scale a food business. The organization trains future business owners (specifically women, immigrants and minorities) to ensure Cincinnati’s food scene is representative of the population.
“We are literally trying to change the face of who business owners are in the food world,” says Marianne Hamilton, director of Findlay Kitchen.
Business experience is not required, as Findlay Kitchen is the place to figure out if your idea is something you want to move forward with, Hamilton says. It’s like a test run.
Minority or low income applicants can apply for Findlay Kitchen’s scholarship program, Minority Food Business Incubator. If you’re selected, you’ll go through a business development program to gain basic knowledge and learn what it would be like to start a food business from scratch.
After completing the business program, you will spend 100 hours in the kitchen to test your concept. If you want to start a bakery, Findlay Kitchen can help you figure out how to scale a recipe like turning 24 cookies into 500.
During those 100 hours, you will also learn how to buy materials in bulk, use commercial grade ovens, where to sell food and how to package it. The next questions will be whether you are making enough money to grow the business, who to sell to and what the next step is.
If you choose to continue, Findlay Kitchen will pair you with a mentor who specializes in the specific food industry that you want to enter. Gigi’s Rolls, a former scholarship program participant, paired with one of the owners of Busken Bakery, then toured the facility and purchased discounted equipment to make her rolls faster.
Findlay Kitchen helps others gain connections, mentors, resources, and support.
There are a few more openings for the scholarship program this year. The application does not require a background check or statement of criminal history.
Before applying, visit Findlay Kitchen during a First Tuesday of the Month tour. You can see the facility, discuss your idea with a manager, get feedback and decide if it’s a good fit for you.
If accepted into the scholarship program, you will be required to get general liability insurance and take a food safety and sanitation class.
Reserve your spot by emailing: FINDLAYKITCHEN@FINDLAYMARKET.ORG