Posted: Sat 23rd Feb 2013
Business planning, marketing and the nuts and bolts of running a small enterprise were all on the menu for the 100+ start-ups and growing businesses that packed the inaugural StartUp Food event last Thursday.
Hosted by StartUp Britain at the Market House in Kingston upon Thames, the day of talks, panel discussions and Q&As introduced aspiring foodies to the challenges and opportunities they face as they get their business up and running. Our own Emma Jones (pictured above) chaired the event and was joined by a plethora of successful food entrepreneurs and experts, including Cook Wrap Sell author Bruce McMichael, Yvonne O'Donovan from The School of Artisan Food and Daily Bread founder Tim Roupell. Their advice ranged from the practical to the inspirational and was at times very direct: "Some people think they have great ideas of what they want to do but don't think about how they are going to scale that business," said Tim Roupell. "My motto is KISS - 'Keep it simple, stupid'. The thing I always think is 'How can I simplify this?'. And don't be average - if you're going to be average, what are you going to sell?"
A passion for fine food
Though their businesses were at different stages, the attendees all shared a passion for good food. "I wanted to find out a bit more about starting a food business and the challenges in the industry," said Funke Omisore, finance professional by day and writer of the Appetizer blog by night. "I've always taken an interest in creating different types of dishes and for years I've thought 'I've got to do something with this'. I'm hoping to move it to the next stage in the next few months and I've found today very useful in terms of what types of businesses are out there and the types of things people do to get attention." Forensic scientist Lucy Neale was also looking to make the transition to small-business owner, with a plan to bring a continental touch to food shopping in her home town of Dorking in Surrey. "I feel passionately about food that's wholesome and nutritious and not led by supermarkets, and I want to bring a feel of how they shop in France and Italy to the UK," she said. "I found this morning useful - brilliant. I think if you look for the right opportunities they are there to be found, and it's about understanding that."
Get the foodie start-up bible from just Â£5
Cook Wrap Sell by Bruce McMichael has everything you need to know to run a successful small food business from your kitchen. It's available as a downloadable ebook or a print book from the Enterprise Nation shop - just click on the link below. [product id="56584"] Photo credit: Simon Wicks