While food entrepreneurs should be aware of the normal business priorities that a typical entrepreneur would, they also work in a relatively complex regulatory environment with an intricate retail atmosphere as well. This alone can make starting a food-based business a daunting proposition; but never fear! There are many resources to help.
NC RESOURCES FOR FOOD BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURS
- Starting a Food Business in North Carolina is an excellent website provided by NC State University that walks you through the process of setting up your small food business according to which regulations you will need to follow. All food entrepreneurs should start here.
- The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services publishes guides for new entrepreneurs.
- The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services’ Agribusiness Developer for Western NC is Robert “Bob” Grooms. He is available to help small farms and food businesses in their business planning and marketing. Call him at 828.670.7518.
- Find other resources at the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services website.
FEDERAL RESOURCES FOR FOOD BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURS
It is important to note that food products have public health significance, so food production is a serious endeavor. As a regulatory agency, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has a primary focus on food safety.
Once you have entered into the process of starting your food business, you should consult the websites of the FDA that give even more detail on your specific type of food business.
FDA does not offer financing or business tips for starting up and maintaining a business; however, it does offer information on food safety guidelines and regulations it has established that are required for informative labeling and the safe preparation, manufacture, and distribution of food products.
DEVELOPING YOUR PRODUCT & YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
In addition to the resources mentioned on starting a small business, there are many resources at the library, in books, and on the web to help you develop a business plan.
For food businesses in particular, several well established kitchen incubators in other parts of the country have developed a set of resources and worksheets to help you through the process of product development and business planning. We recommend that you explore these to help you develop your ideas and work through your questions:
- ACENet Food Ventures in Athens, Ohio
- University of Pennsylvania
- Cornell University’s Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship at the New York State Food Venture Center
BLUE RIDGE FOOD VENTURES CAN HELP, TOO!
Our experienced staff at Blue Ridge Food Ventures can help you fill in the missing pieces and work through the more complex issues that face entrepreneurs; specifically food business entrepreneurs. Contact us at Blue Ridge Food Ventures – we are happy to help!