Michigan Good Food Fund event fuels success of food entrepreneurs and awards two local Grand Rapids businesses with prizes
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 18, 2018 – Malamiah Juice Bar captured the $7,500 judge’s choice award and Royal Jelly captured the $2,500 audience choice award in the pitch competition that capped the three-day 2018 Grand Rapids Business Boot Camp, hosted by the Michigan Good Food Fund. Both prizes were provided by the Michigan Good Food Fund.
Upon winning the judge’s choice award, Malamiah Juice Bar Founder Jermale Eddie said, “We are shocked and surprised. Now we need to go to work and see what we can utilize from the Business Boot Camp to deliver what we promised—juices to the masses.”
Malamiah Juice Bar’s mission is to elevate community wellness through healthy products, local partnerships, and youth employment; Royal Jelly is a socially and environmentally minded catering company that celebrates human connections through food, sourcing much of it from Michigan growers.
They were two of six local food businesses selected to participate in the boot camp, which was held at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. The event involved intensive skill-building sessions, along with one-on-one coaching and peer networking from experienced facilitators and food industry experts.
“When deciding who to select for the judge’s choice award, we looked at a variety of factors, including sustainability of the business model, as well as the impact on the community,” said Dante Villarreal, Vice President of Business Services for the Grand Rapids Chamber and one of four judges at the competition.
Although just two businesses walked away with prizes, the boot camp gave all participating entrepreneurs skills and resources needed to take their business to the next level—from marketing and fundraising to financials and other business fundamentals.
“The Business Boot Camp was intense, but incredible. It’s amazing how well they structured all of the information in three days. It was a crash course on everything you need to know,” said Jenny Bongiorno, Royal Jelly Co-Founder.
A collaborative effort of Capital Impact Partners, Fair Food Network, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Michigan Good Food Fund is a $30 million loan fund created to provide financing and business assistance to good food enterprises that increase healthy food access and spur economic opportunity in underserved communities across the state. Since its launch in June 2015, it has invested more than $11 million in 30+ food businesses across the state, supporting or creating more than 420 jobs.
For more information on the Business Boot Camp or Michigan Good Food Fund, visit http://migoodfoodfund.org/.