Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011!

The link below brings up a photo page of some of the pumpkins I've carved over the years.

Now, when I go to work, I'm surrounded by thousands of pounds of pumpkins destined to become delicious ingredients at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

What a wonderful time of year.

Boo to you all!

Some of my pumpkin carving through the years

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Welcome Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) to our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen!

This past week Mr. Wyman Winston Executive Director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) visited our Innovation Kitchen in Mineral Point.

Mr Winston brought along new and old friends from WHEDA. What a great visit!

We were able to show off the proven record and the growing possibilities our Innovation Kitchen has for making jobs, as well as starting and growing small businesses.

Our Innovation Kitchen business model has developed an experiment worth pursuing. We're proving this kind of processing facility can operate profitably for all involved.

This model can help rural and urban communities utilize local foods and smart, nimble business planning to build some valuable new economic development tools for Wisconsin and beyond.

Many thanks for a great visit WHEDA Executive Director Wyman Winston!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Join us next week - Rehabilitation For Wisconsin In Action 2011 Economic Summit

I have the opportunity to speak next week about our efforts at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen to create jobs for people with disabilities and low income people. I'll be joining the 2011 Economic Summit for Rehabilitation For Wisconsin In Action at Kohler on Wed. Oct. 26.

I really like the conference title: 2011 Wisconsin Economic Summit. From Poverty to Financial Security.

Here is a short piece from the conference site:

"There’s more to poverty than a lack of income.

Wisconsin’s overall poverty rate rose from 12.4% in 2009 to 13.2% in 2010. Wisconsin’s pre-recession poverty rate in 2007 was 10.8%. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of people in Wisconsin living in poverty increased by about 143,000.

But in Wisconsin, there IS an effort underway to find practical, hands-on solutions to increase collaboration between the private and public sectors to lift people out of poverty toward financial security."

Through the efforts of the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen and its parent organization, the Hodan Center, we're helping support over 90 jobs in Wisconsin. We've also created employment opportunities for more that 30 people with disabilities, while helping start and grow dozens of new businesses.

Join us if you can in Kohler, WI next Wednesday Oct. 26. Link to the RFW home page and their conference registration page is below.

Rehabilitation For Wisconsin Home page.

RFW In Action 2011 Economic Summit information.

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Hodan Center

Monday, October 17, 2011

Congratulations Innovation Kitchen partners Karen and John! Wisconsin's 2011 'Rising Star' Award winners.

Last week our Innovation Kitchen partners Karen and John were awarded Wisconsin's Minority Business Enterprise 'Rising Star' Award for 2011.

Congratulations Karen and John!!!

Karen and John utilized the Innovation Kitchen to launch their own private label food business.

No matter where you live, you can too.

They own a beautiful B&B in Elkhorn, WI and have their amazing recipes prepared, packaged and private labeled for them at the Innovation Kitchen.

The fact that they are helping make great jobs for my friends with disabilities through the Hodan Center in Mineral Point is a great bonus for all involved.

Thank you for the opportunity to help launch your wonderful commercial food business through the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.


Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Previous post about Karen and John's wonderful private label food startup

Hodan Center

Photo from Marketplace 2011. Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Minority Business Development - Congrats Karen and John!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Madison Food and Wine Show this Friday through Sunday - Oct 21-23

The Madison Food & Wine Show is coming up next weekend, Oct. 21 through 23.

Our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen Kitchen will be exhibiting under the Something Special from Wisconsin program.

We will be sampling wonderful jams from the Innovation Kitchen that can be given as holiday gifts to friends and for business gifts year-round.

You can even buy our great jams and jellies and have your own private label put on the jars. Your purchase helps support the employment needs of people with disabilities employed at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen in Mineral Point, WI.

The Madison Food and Wine Show is open to all food and wine lovers, 21 years of age and older. Join us!

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Photo is from last year's Madison Food and Wine Show, with my friend Christine Lindner, Wisconsin's 2010 Alice in Dairyland.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Visit Heck's Farm Market

One of our favorite Innovation Kitchen partners is the wonderful Heck's Farm Market near beautiful Arena, Wisconsin, gateway to the Wisconsin River valley.

Heck's Market is a valuable partner of the Innovation Kitchen. We are preparing some wonderful private label recipes for their great farm and market operations.

If you're in the greater Madison area, or making the drive on beautiful Highway 14 (University Avenue) west of Madison, stop in and visit. Links below.

Hard not to love a farm when their 3 year old granddaughter, potentially their multi-generational family farm's future leader, is giggling and blowing kisses at her Grandparents during our meeting.

I've bought many of my carving pumpkins from Heck's for years. While I was at Heck's last Friday I got the best one I've found in years. If you're looking for great carving pumpkins this year, you should check out Heck's.

Thanks Heck's Farm and Market in beautiful Iowa County, Wisconsin!

The Innovation Kitchen is honored to support our local farms and help preserve their artistry as growers into new food product lines that can be sold year-round across big regions.

Heck's supports Badger Honor Flights

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Iowa County Wisconsin economic development

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Marketplace 2011. Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Minority Business Development - Oct. 13. Green Bay - Join us!

Join us in Green Bay next Thursday, October 13 for a great day of business connections.

This is the 30th Annual Wisconsin Minority Business Enterprise Conference. It is a landmark event celebrating decades of MBE achievements in Wisconsin!

One of our favorite Innovation Kitchen partners, Karen and John of Maxey Lynn and Ye Olde Manor House B&B are in the running for one of this year's MBE Rising Star Awards.

This award recognizes an emerging for-profit business that shows great promise as an innovator, either by virtue of its product or service offering, or shows promise of strong competitive advantage and growth because of its business model.

Among the event's sponsors are many I admire, including a couple of organizations I've worked with directly.

Harley-Davidson Motor Co.was the first major corporation to take a a chance on our work in my last significant startup. Here are two posts about my work with the great Harley-Davidson: 2005 and in 2007.

The investment Harley-Davidson made in our technology was a huge boost to our startup. This led to our winning the Wisconsin Governor's New Product of the Year Award twice, and in 2005,our being awarded the United Sates Small Business New Product of the Year Award.

This great event is also being sponsored by WHEDA - our Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. I'm looking forward to catching up with WHEDA friends from around the state. Also, all of us at the Innovation Kitchen are very much looking forward to a scheduled visit by Wyman Winston, WHEDA's Executive Director later this month. We can't wait to show off the place!

Lastly, our Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen booth is being sponsored by good friends from Heartland Information Research. Thanks!

Join us next week in Green Bay for Marketplace 2011 and the Governor's Conference on Minority Business Development!

Marketplace 2011 Conference Link

Photo credit:
2010 MBE Wisconsin awards. Thanks

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Welcome Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers!

The Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producer's Association toured the Innovation Kitchen on Saturday.

Their group is dedicated to improving the ability of its members to produce and market the finest maple syrup in North America.

We think our Innovation Kitchen can be a great tool for building creative marketing options for your wonderful product.

Thank you WMSPA friends. I really enjoyed our visit!

Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producer's Association

Bob's Bitchin' BBQ. "It was the start of a new business."

Bob Page and his wife Judy are excellent culinary entrepreneurs who have found a home at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.

I love the slogan for their new barbeque sauce company: "So good you'll lick your napkin."

I think their story makes great sense for other folks who want to expand food enterprises by having their products made for them safely in a state-inspected, professionally staffed processing kitchen.

A recent article in the Wisconsin State Journal featured Bob's work (emphasis added): "For many, giving homemade gifts — pretty jars of cookie mix, quince preserves, cherry brandy — is an annual tradition."

"For former caterer Bob Page, it was the start of a new business."

"'I always give my employees for Christmas some handmade gift, a food gift,' said Page, who runs the cafeteria at Land’s End Corporation Headquarters in Dodgeville."

"Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ launched on July 1.... 'I believe in doing flavors that are going to make the food stand out more than the sauce,' Page said. 'You’re tasting the food — you get a little burn (from the habaƱero) as it’s going down your throat, but it’s not so much that you’re going to need a glass of water.'"

"More recently, Page has added a Honey Chipotle version (with 'a little more sting to it') and a dry rub made with paprika, cumin, chile, seasoned salt, cayenne, garlic, brown sugar and onion."

As with all new enterprises, there are many new challenges for all involved. I love their attitude: challenges = opportunities to learn and grow.

“There’s definitely growing pains,” he added. “We’re learning as we go.”

We're grateful to Bob and Judy, and the opportunity to help grow their amazing food lines. They are helping us grow as we help them grow.

Congratulations Bob's Bitchin' BBQ! Your friends at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen are cheering you on!

Dodgeville man finds the spice of life with BBQ sauces. Wisconsin State Journal. Sept. 27, 2011

Bob's Bitchin' BBQ

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen