Food Business Boot Camp Coming in April

The Door County Economic Development Corporation announced a four-day financial management boot camp for food manufacturing entrepreneurs.

With funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the local boot camp will be held for four days April 4-7 at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor. Financial management boot camps combine industry-specific training, peer networking and one-on-one consulting to provide the tools necessary to build a more resilient food business.

The camp will be provided by the Food Finance Institute (FFI) and the Small Business Development Center at UWGB (SBDC). Both programs are part of the University of Wisconsin System Administration’s Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship.

The curriculum and approach were developed by FFI Director Tera Johnson over the past two years in working with businesses and organizations all across the country.

“The ever-growing global food and beverage industry is being driven by trends for products that are healthy, source-verified, safe, sustainable and locally branded — an edge for Wisconsin’s ag-driven economy and businesses,” Johnson said.

Sessions include instruction on optimizing a business model, developing a financial plan, forecast sales, prepare an investment pitch, and much more.

“As we developed our Strategic Work Plan at DCEDC, we identified food and beverage manufacturing as an area where we can catalyze economic growth and diversification,” said Jim Schuessler, executive director of the Door County Development Corporation (DCEDC). “Tera Johnson is renowned for her success and innovation in the industry with Tera’s Whey. To be able to bring her here for a four-day intensive seminar with our local companies, and at no cost to the businesses, is fantastic.”

Due to the specialized one-to-one training, only 10 businesses will be chosen for the Door County boot camp. Applications will be accepted until March 1. Apply here>>

The food and beverage industry is a strong component of the Wisconsin economy with more than 1,400 companies, and food processing generates $67.8 billion in sales, according to data from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Wisconsin’s food industry jobs are changing. Nearly 3,500 food industry jobs were lost to closures from April 2016 to March 2018, including 1,800 in food retail establishments such as convenience stores and supermarkets and 800 at major plants (Kraft Heinz Foods and Tyson).  

The Expanding Food Manufacturing in Wisconsin Initiative responds to that challenge in two ways: 1. creating higher-paid manufacturing jobs for displaced retail workers who already have industry-specific skills. 2. Boosting rural economic vitality at existing food companies located in rural areas.

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