Grand Rapids Business Boot Camp & Pitch Fest

Grand Rapids Business Boot Camp & Pitch Fest

In September 2018, six good food businesses from across Grand Rapids spent three days with industry mentors learning the skills needed to help their businesses grow. The Business Boot Camp culminated in a public pitch competition where two winners took home a total of $10,000 in prizes.

What is a Business Boot Camp?

Our Business Boot Camps bring 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. Michigan Good Food Fund has previously hosted Business Boot Camps in Flint and Battle Creek.

The Grand Rapids Entrepreneurs

Six good food enterprises joined the Business Boot Camp and pitched their business for the chance to win the $7,500 judges choice award and $2,500 audience choice award. The businesses included:

  • 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.

Meet the Pitch Competition Winner

After impressive pitches from all participating businesses, the judges deliberated and audience voted.

Malamiah Juice Bar captured the $7,500 judge’s choice award and Royal Jelly captured the $2,500 audience choice award.

“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.


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