Michigan’s First Kitchen Incubator is in Business!
The Starting Block, Inc., Michigan’s first kitchen incubator, is open for business in Hart, Mich!
The building houses a commercial, USDA-certified kitchen designed for innovating and developing agriculture and natural resources products. Other businesses involved in food systems are also located in the incubator to help entrepreneurs get started.
“We’re incubating new entrepreneurs, or just as importantly, new ideas or new products for existing businesses,” said Ron Steiner, the Starting Block director.
For a small kitchen rental fee, anyone within a 90-mile radius of Hart can come in and test out their latest idea, from jams and jellies to herbal seasonings, from jerky to baked goods, including residents of northern Ottawa County, northwest Kent Co., and Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Manistee, Lake and Newaygo counties. But, anyone who is willing to drive the distance from anywhere in the state is welcome!
A lot of people are interested and already knocking on the door, said Steiner. Twelve entrepreneurs are currently renting space in the commercial kitchen. The building has been open for office services for several months, and five businesses are now set up to help with product startup and promotion. For a $110 monthly fee, these startups and other companies receive high-speed Internet service and all of their utilities except long distance phone.
The project has been a long time in the making but is finally up and running in full. Michigan Food & Farming Systems – MIFFS received a USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant and contributions from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in 2003 to research and develop a kitchen incubator to help farmers turn their ideas into successes.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s been a labor of love,” said Steiner.
For more information about The Starting Block, Inc., contact them at (231) 873-1432 or email@example.com. A video, produced by Michigan Farm Bureau in their quarterly video newsletter, FB Update, is available for viewing online at www.michiganfarmbureau.com/video/
For more information on how the incubator kitchen project got started, click here.