Grand Rapids Business Boot Camp & Pitch Fest

MGFF_Icons-07Our Business Boot Camp brings together six good food businesses from across Grand Rapids for a three-day crash course on business fundamentals. The Boot Camp culminates in a public pitch competition and you’re invited! A panel of expert judges will select one $7,500 award winner, but YOU get to vote for the $2,500 audience choice award.

WHAT     Free Business Boot Camp Pitch Fest with $10K in Awards
WHERE   Grand Rapids Downtown Market, Banquet Hall
WHEN     Friday, Sept 14 | 4pm networking & reception | 4:30 competition begins
RSVP       Email and share the Facebook event with your networks!


Our Business Boot Camp brings together good food entrepreneurs, experienced facilitators, and food industry experts to give good food entrepreneurs the skills and resources needed to take their business to the next level. The three-day training blends skill building sessions, one-on-one coaching, and peer networking. Topics range from marketing and fundraising to learning financial health tools and how to tell your business story. Watch this video to hear from past attendees and learn the Boot Camp is all about.


  • Boot Camp: Wednesday – Friday, September 12 – 14 – Three full days of intensive training teach entrepreneurs the skills needed to take their business to the next level.
  • Pitch Competition: Friday, September 14 – Join us for the public pitch competition and networking at 4pm,  where entrepreneurs pitch their businesses in front of a live audience! A panel of expert judges will select one $7,500 award winner, but YOU get to vote for the $2,500 audience choice award.

Meet the Grand Rapids Entrepreneurs

  • Dreamgoats: A dairy goat farm transforming wild forage into fresh, organic milk.
  • Fresh Beets Urban Farm: A multi-site, urban vegetable farm directly connecting inner city residents of Grand Rapids to seasonal, locally grown produce.
  • Good Life Naturals: Artisan ketchup and granola makers that source from quality ingredients.
  • Malamiah Juice Bar: Local juice makers improving community wellness through local partnerships, youth employment, and healthy products.
  • The Only Bean: Plant-based food company creating healthy and delicious food products from beans.
  • Royal Jelly Foods: Socially and environmentally minded catering company that celebrates human connections through food.

We’re thrilled to welcome Dreamgoats to our pitch competition. While Forty Acres was unexpectedly unable to join this year’s boot camp, you can learn more about this new restaurant and our recent investment supporting its launch here.


Our Boot Camp instructors bring decades of experience helping entrepreneurs translate passion into impact.

Our Business Boot Camp is led by Jay Friedlander, the Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business at College of the Atlantic in Maine. Jay draws upon nearly two decades of experience with start-ups, natural and organic foods, and teaching sustainable entrepreneurship. He also brings hands on experience having served as the COO of O’Naturals, Inc., a natural and organic fast-food restaurant group.

Jordan Motzkin is the Co-Founder and CEO of Big Box Farms, a NYC-based startup. Jordan is also a partner at PitchWorks where he helps entrepreneurs prepare their companies for external financing.

Questions? Contact