Leggett Announces First Stage of Montgomery County Kitchen Incubator Project ; Goal: Helping Start-Up Food Entrepreneurs

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For Immediate Release: 10/29/2014 Leggett Announces First Stage of Montgomery County Kitchen Incubator Project ; Goal: Helping Start-Up Food Entrepreneurs County Executive Isiah Leggett today announced the kick-off of Montgomery County’s kitchen incubator project at the Marriott Teaching Kitchen at the Universities at Shady Grove. Envisioned as a way to help entrepreneurs take advantage of the growing demand for artisan food and the expanding buy-local movement, the kitchen incubator will provide equipment and workspace, technical and business training and help companies gain access to new markets. Leggett was joined by Karen Roberts of Karen Kay Cakes, Jonas Singer of Union Kitchen (which is already engaged in a similar project in D.C.), Stewart Edelstein of the Universities at Shady Grove, County Chief Innovation Officer Dan Hoffman and Economic Development Director Steve Silverman. “This facility will foster the growth of small businesses and provide new workforce opportunities for our residents. Part of what makes this project so special to me, personally, is that it represents our commitment to creating economic opportunities for all facets of Montgomery County,” said Leggett. The project’s pre-development phase will be led by Union Kitchen, of D.C., along with their partners at Streetsense, a Bethesda-based firm. The team was awarded the first-phase contract through a competitive selection process. Union Kitchen will provide a scope of work that includes evaluating different management structures for the incubator, looking at various sites within the County, and identifying workforce and training opportunities that will address the County’s entrepreneurs’ unique needs. The team will also work with partners such as Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove as well as local start-ups and non-profits. “Beginning the path to launching a food incubator is a wonderful step for Montgomery County, where we have seen an explosion in interest in start-up, locally owned food businesses,” said Jonas Singer of Union Kitchen. “A food incubator allows people to not just dream, but to achieve, creating economic wealth, jobs, and businesses that bring all of us, as customers, great food and experiences. Union Kitchen is thrilled to be a part of the process where we can continue to grow our impact and support neighbors in building the communities that they want to live in. Plus, we’re hoping to enjoy some delicious meals along the way!” The Montgomery County kitchen incubator will allow me and so many small businesses such as myself to get to the next level,” said Karen Roberts of Karen Kay’s Cakes. “ It will set an example for the Washington area. I would like to thank Ike Leggett and his staff for moving this forward.” “We frequently get calls from people who have a family recipe or a special culinary skill that they want to scale into something bigger. In addition to space, they really need business questions to be answered and mentoring from experts in the field,” said Steve Silverman, County Director of Economic Development. Silverman says the kitchen incubator will build local entrepreneurs’ capacity to respond to the demand for locally produced goods. “The Union Kitchen team is operating its own facility in the District, which happens to have a long waiting list that includes several Montgomery County businesses. This real-world knowledge of our local food entrepreneurs’ needs will have a huge impact on the success of the facility,” said Dan Hoffman, the County’s Chief Innovation Officer. # # # Contact: Patrick Lacefield 240-777-6507, Dan Hoffman 240-777-2553 # # # Release ID: 14-391


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