Battle Creek Business Boot Camp & Pitch Fest
Six Battle Creek good food businesses spent three days in November 2016 in a Business Bootcamp with industry mentors and fellow entrepreneurs. Hosted by the Michigan Good Food Fund, this training gave enterprises the skills and resources to take their businesses to the next level.
Participating businesses included:
- EZ 2 Go Salads & Wraps, Springfield: A family-owned business serving affordable, healthy lunch options using locally sourced produce
- Farmers on the Move, Battle Creek: A cooperative of Hispanic farmers with a mission to provide locally grown, sustainable produce
- Great Scott Ice Cream, Springfield: A producer of frozen treats utilizing locally sourced ingredients as much as possible
- Green Gardens Farm, Battle Creek: A diversified, 20-acre farm with a CSA producing vegetables, herbs and flowers
- Sunlight Gardens, Battle Creek: An urban farm with a goal to cultivate health and consciousness through growing and educating the community
- Torti Taco, Battle Creek: A family-owned restaurant featuring authentic cuisine from Mexico using local, fresh ingredients
The Bootcamp covered topics such as marketing, telling your story, financials, solving business challenges, and more.
Sunlight Gardens won a $10,000 award at the culminating pitch fest, where participating entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to a panel of judges. This Washington Heights-based urban farm aims to cultivate better health and consciousness through growing and educating the community about wholesome and locally grown food. They will use the award to purchase a tractor to boost production.
In its first year of operation, Sunlight Gardens sold at the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo farmers markets, as well as a neighborhood farm stand run by Sprout Urban Farm. It is owned by Olivia Jayakar and Devon Wilson.
“This Bootcamp was a great opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs in the community and grow our understanding of how to run a business,” said Jayakar. “Beyond the tractor, which will be a huge support, the knowledge we got around entrepreneurialism is going to help us go into our second year strong.”