Sunday, December 14, 2014

Great new book: Zero to One by Peter Thiel

"Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar.  But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1.  The act of creation is singular, as is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange."

"Unless they invest in the difficult task of creating new things, American companies will fail in the future no matter how big their profits remain today.  What happens when we've gained everything to be had from fine-tuning the old lines of business that we've inherited?  Unlikely as it sounds, the answer threatens to be far worse than the crisis of 2008.  Today's 'best practices' lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried."

Amen.  Peter Thiel has made a great contribution to entrepreneurship with his new book, Zero to One.  I highly recommend this for anyone building new companies.

We don't need more stuff.  We need new ways to solve real problems.  The subtitle here says it all.  'Notes on Startups, Or How To Build the Future'.

Among my favorite quotes:  "If you've invented something new but you haven't invented an effective way to sell it, you have a bad business - no matter how good the product."

The opening pages set the right tone in my opinion.

Zero to One, by Peter Thiel

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Business challenges - taking your work to higher ground

"My experience — and most architects would concur with this — is that the best projects come from a crappy budget, a challenging schedule, a difficult-if-not-impossible client, and a really bad site. That makes you take your game to the highest level."

Edward Kuharski is an accomplished architect who has worked in the trenches of great projects for many years.

Among Mr Kuharski's credits, "...on-site architect for the construction of American Players Theatre (APT) in 1980. He spent 28 years at Marshall Erdman & Associates in Madison, then founded Green Design Studio in 2009."

Mr Kuharski was recently hired by the nonprofit group Occupy Madison to design the site for the village of “tiny houses” for the homeless, the first such effort integrating this kind of project into a neighborhood setting anywhere in the country, maybe the world.

There is a link below to a good recent article about Mr. Kuharski's contributions to the tiny houses project, and where I'm sourcing these quotes.

I like his honesty about turning challenges into opportunities to do your best work.  No startup launches under ideal conditions.  Start.  Adapt.  Find higher ground.  Repeat.

My favorite quote from the piece is about the village of 'tiny houses' he helped plan and develop:  "I like to refer to it as Dane County’s third gated community. We decided to skip the golf course."

Know your Madisonian:  Edward Kuharski

Photo is a Bald Eagle taking off from a farm field in Columbia County, WI.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Zero to One. Notes on Startups or How To Build the Future.

My entire career as an entrepreneur has been one long effort at making something from nothing.  

I've always thought that doing things the way others did them was a dead end.  For me, the 'best practice' for starting new companies and new enterprises has always been to create new paths that are new and untried.

Peter Theil is the  legendary co-founder and investor in some of the world's greatest companies (Pay Pal, Facebook, SpaceX, LinkedIn, and many others).  He's recently written a great book on starting companies that I can't endorse highly enough:  Zero to One.  Notes on Startups or How To Build the Future.

Here is as good of an entrance into this subject as I've seen on the subject (emphasis added):

"Every moment in business happens only once.  The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system.  The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won't make a search engine.  And the next Mark Zuckerberg won't create a social network.  If you are copying these guys you are not learning from them.

Of course, it's easier to copy a model than to make something new.  Doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar.  But every time we create something new, we go from 0 to 1.  The act of creation is singular, as is the moment of creation, and the result is something fresh and strange.

Unless they invest in the difficult task of creating new things, American companies will fail in the future no matter how big their profits remain today.  What happens when we've gained everything to be had from fine-tuning the old lines of business that we've inherited?  Unlikely as it sounds, the answer threatens to be far worse than the crisis of 2008.  Today's 'best practices' lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried."


And this from a review in the Atlantic Magazine:

"It's refreshing to hear a techie extol the virtue of sales, and Thiel is good at explaining both why nerds hate marketers, and why the nerds are wrong.  'Nerds are skeptical of advertising, marketing and sales, because they seem superficial', he writes.  'They know their own jobs are hard, so when they look at salespeople laughing on the phone with a customer or going to two-hour lunches, they suspect that no real work is being done.  If anything, people overestimate the relative difficulty of science and engineering, because the challenges of those fields are obvious.  What nerds don't realize is that it also takes hard work to make sales look easy ... If you've invented something new but you haven't invented an effective way to sell it, you have a bad business - no matter how good the product.'



Here's a link to Mr Theil's new book:  Zero to One.  Notes on Startups or How To Build the Future.

My focus on entrepreneurship in this blog

Thanks to the many friends who have supported this blog with their readership over the past 9+ years.

As you know I've been tearing into a new startup - Innovation Kitchens LLC - this year.  It's a great challenge, a great honor and, like all startups, scary and unpredictable.

For those wanting to follow that specific effort, I'm publishing the news of that startup on its Facebook link - from FB, search Innovation Kitchens LLC and 'like' the page to stay connected to current events there.

I'm going to keep the focus of this Sustainable Work blog on the practice of entrepreneurship in the 21st century.  I'm grateful for your support and the chance to connected through this blog.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

The U.S. is failing at entrepreneurship. Three decades of steady decline.

The number of startups in the U.S. has dropped by more than half from 1977 to 2010.  Startup propaganda says one thing.  Statistics say something much more troubling.

The Los Angeles Times recently published a good piece:  A drop in startups: In search of risk-takers

There is a big ongoing drop in startups in the U.S.  Sadly - stupidly - true.

However, there is a sharp rise in the role of entrepreneurship in our global societies.

My take is that the risk-taking part is a dumb way to describe the process.

I think effective entrepreneurship is about minimizing risk not increasing it.

This does not mean avoiding risk.  Just the opposite.  You minimize the risk first.  You experiment to find what's making you fragile.  Then you throw those pieces out.

You sift.  You winnow.  Then you get down to one model that you put your chips on.  Risk-taking?  Sure.  Smart, distilled risk?   Hopefully.


"Failing entrepreneurship is bad for the economy.  It means fewer jobs being created and a reduction in innovation that is essential to economic growth and rising living standards."

A drop in startups: In search of risk-takers   Los Angeles Times.  Written by Walter Hamilton

Photo is from Governor Nelson State Park, WI.  Summer 2014.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Welcome Chef Freddie Greer

Welcome new partners! A popular Beloit, WI chef is joining the Innovation Kitchens family. 

Initially, chef Freddie Greer will work with us to transform his wonderful Gyro Bites into products for sale in stores, event venues, and restaurants. Chef Freddie recently won first place on a Spike TV food show.

Gyro Bites are made from a blend of cabbage, tzatiki sauce, nacho cheese, gyro meat and a few secret spices wrapped in a deep fried egg roll.

We welcomed Chef Freddie Greer and his wife Theresa to the Innovation Kitchens family today. Great new friends, great new stories, great new opportunities.

Just wait until you taste these!

A virtuous cycle… The expanding array of new food products and brands being brought to the market by Innovation Kitchens is attracting increasing numbers of great chefs, dedicated farmers, smart entrepreneurs and the customers who support their work.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Welcome Chef Paul Virant

We welcomed Chef Paul Virant today.  ("No other chef working in America today utilizes preservation as robustly as Chef Virant.")

What a great visit.  Paul leads three award winning restaurants: Vie in Western Springs, IL, Perennial Virant in Lincoln Park, Chicago, and the new Vistro in Hinsdale.

Paul is also the author of a great cookbook, The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux (the first canning manual and cookbook authored by a Michelin-starred chef and restaurant owner).

Thanks Paul.  We look forward to working with you.

Paul Virant

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

West Africa needs your small loans to help support its entrepreneurs

The world needs the new solutions. The world needs entrepreneurs.

Among the places where solutions are most needed is West Africa.  As disease upsets their societies, new solutions to life's everyday problems - and the big new ones emerging in their future - will be needed.

You can utilize the organization Kiva to make small loans to entrepreneurs in West Africa and across the world.  Kiva aggregates your small loan (you can start with $25) with others to raise monies to loan to specific entrepreneurs who are vetted by Kiva Partners in that area.

I've made dozens of loans to entrepreneurs in dozens of countries all around the world through Kiva over the past few years.  My repayment rate is 100% thanks to Kiva's good work in this field.  Just this week I made two small loans to entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone.

The link below is directly to loans that are being sought by entrepreneurs in West Africa right now.  To participate, set up a Kiva account, put some money in that account and choose an entrepreneur or two to support using KIVA's web sites below.

Link to Kiva's current portfolio of entrepreneurs in West Africa seeking loans

Kiva's home page

Photo is of the group of farm entrepreneurs from Senegal one of my little loans helped fund this week.  This group raises and processes peanuts into peanut butter.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

New interview - Milwaukee Public Radio

Milwaukee Public Radio just aired a nice interview about our work.   The interviewer is Mitch Teich who is the producer of their award winning local affairs program 'Lake Effect.'

Mitch and I discussed the many ways our startup helps bring local and regional foods to the menus at hospitals, event centers, and restaurants.

Our focus is getting local and regional foods into the market year-round

We also got to talk about how we help food entrepreneurs launch successful new food businesses using our model, including folks we've talked about on this site.

Thanks to Mitch and to Milwaukee Public Radio - WUWM.    I appreciated the chance to visit and to tell our emerging story.

Listen to the interview  (14 minutes)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Milwaukee history, Southern roots, Midwest opportunity

Mr. James Ross to me represents a great new wave of food entrepreneurship.

I also love his Milwaukee history and his roots in the Mississippi delta.

James makes a spectacular southern style tamale recipe that was taught to him by his Grandparents while growing up in the Mississippi delta.

He and his Dad sold these tamales from a cart in St. Louis when he was a little older.

James had great careers with Harley-Davidson and Miller Brewing in Milwaukee where he raised his family.

This is a great, authentic American recipe.  We are working with James to bring his brand to your refrigerator.

Congratulations James.  Lead on!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Craft brewing's economic impact hits $34 Billion - Local foods will dwarf this.

The economic impact of craft brewing has reached $34 billion according to the Craft Brewers' Association.

When local and regional foods are equally well organized their economic impact will dwarf craft brewing. We’re at the start of that evolution right now.

The issues local and regional food systems face right now are similar to those the home brewers faced when they emerged from their early growth stages.

Effective new business models.  Reliable supply chains.  Distribution.  Marketing.

Those tools are emerging quickly for local foods.

Local and regional foods are creating amazing new opportunities for economic development in both rural and urban areas.   And the fun is just beginning.  Cheers!


Craft Brewers' Economic Contribution reaches $34 Billion 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

For startups to work, somebody's got to go down the hole. Entrepreneurship as spelunking.

Entrepreneurship is harder work and far less glamorous that what you'll read.

I'm always looking for ways to describe this subject.  I think I found a good one in a recent article about dangerous caves and the people who explore them in the New Yorker magazine.

The writer compared great caves to great mountains.

"Everest was the world's tallest peak long before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay scaled it.

But a cave is only officially a cave when people have passed through it.  Until then it's just another hole in the ground."

As a working entrepreneur for decades, I find myself in a world where people run around measuring holes in the ground and writing papers about where holes in the ground might lead, and - save us - getting grants to create theories about holes in the ground.

But that's not the way it works.  Somebody has to climb down into the hole and discover what's there.  Until then it's just another hole in the ground.

Climbing into those dark, muddy passages is daunting.  You get stuck.  You take wrong turns, you can get disoriented, or worse, get lost.

Everybody thinks entrepreneurship is an exercise in climbing mountains and reaching for starry new heights.

I like the idea that entrepreneurship is a series of dangerous steps taken into dark caves with the goal of discovering light.  Every now and then, if you persist through the darkness and difficulty, a sparkling new cavern will appear that no one has yet discovered.  Even better, the hint of more new unexplored passageways will appear and beckon.

Entrepreneurship has moved our species from caves to space exploration.  I love this story.

Entrepreneurship needs mountain climbing, but the reality is spelunking.


In Deep.  The dark and dangerous world of extreme cavers.  By Burkhard Bilger.  New Yorker  Magazine.  April 21, 2014

Photo is from NASA Photo of the Day - That's a blazing Aurora Borealis seen through a break in the cave ceiling.  July 22, 2014.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

200,000 page views

I'm so grateful for 200,000 visits to Sustainable Work.

I've been writing about entrepreneurship at this site since early 2005.

This weekend our total page views passed 200,000. 

For a kid who always wanted to write, it's a big honor.  Thank you to everyone who has followed this work.

Entrepreneurship has moved our species from caves to space exploration.  I love this story.


Statistics are from Blogger, where I post SustainableWork.  8/9/2014

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Innovation Kitchens to Pioneer 'Virtuous Food Cycle'. Method: Farm to Kitchen to Local Consumers.

Our work is helping to break new ground in local/regional foods commerce.  For new models to work, regional foods need to be safely stabilized and stored for year-round use.  Without this step, food, resources and opportunities are wasted.

The Times of Mineral Point (WI), just published a good story on our work in their July 2014 issue.  It was titled, "Innovation Kitchens to Pioneer 'Virtuous Food Cycle'.  Method:  Farm to Kitchen to Local Consumers."

Here's a quote, "Rick Terrien believes that by combining the capacities of regional farms with the output from a professionally managed commercial kitchen, and adding a retail outlet for food sales, new opportunities for business development will spring up."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Creating a 'smart grid' for regional foods

Not many people know that Wisconsin is now the second largest vegetable growing state in the nation (behind only California) and that we typically plow under (waste) more than 1/3 of the total crop each year. This is  because there is no system or facilities in place to process those foods for year-round use. Some years it’s fully half the total Wisconsin crop. 

It’s crazy dumb - and highly wasteful, especially given all the issues around helping family farms succeed, as well as food insecurity for many consumers.

Our model is upending regional food systems, creating new ways to market and preserve the value of regional foods for all involved.  A common problem with farm markets we’re helping solve is little understood by many consumers. If produce doesn’t sell at these markets, farmers don’t usually have anything they can do with what’s left and it often gets thrown out. 

In our case, we bring fresh local produce to our own markets.  If it doesn't sell but still tastes great, we can take it from our markets to our Innovation Kitchens. My friends there can freeze it, puree it, pickle it, dehydrate it, etc. 

Our system turns great regional foods that would be otherwise wasted - still perfectly delicious and nutritious - into regional ingredients or foods that can be used year round. I’ve been calling it our virtuous cycle. I don’t know of any other regional foods organization that can claim this kind of capacity. 

We're working hard to change the system and wire up a 'smart grid' for regional foods.  We're scaling up and making it work.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Our delicious new startup

I've been away from posts about startups because I'm doing one.  

It feels like it's going to be my best effort yet.

One problem we're solving:  How do you create and serve markets for sustainably raised local and regional foods in areas with limited growing seasons?

The solution we're offering:  Help regional family farms find markets for their fresh produce, but also lightly process and freeze so that consumers, restaurants and food service folks can offer delicious local and regional foods year-round.

With the help of an investor dedicated to creating new options for regional and local foods, and a great business partner, we've launched Innovation Kitchens LLC.

I'll continue posting about entrepreneurship and startups, but I'm going to bring our work at Innovation Kitchens into this blog with some frequency.  

My specialty is not just opening new businesses but also utilizing those new enterprises to create new markets that solve real-world problems.

This is going to be a great ride.

As part of this effort we've just opened a unique new produce market located in Middleton, WI.  We'll serve consumers of course, but our Middleton Produce Market will also serve as a 'tasting room' for wholesale customers who can order bulk quantities of local and regional family-farm raised produce for serving on their menus year-round.  If you'd like to see the news from this specific part of our venture you can like us on Facebook at 'Middleton Produce Market' (below).  

This photo is from our first offering - wonderful, juicy local strawberries.  Yum.

Our plan is for the Middleton Produce Market to be the first of many.  I hope to be able to share news about a much bigger venue shortly.

Stay tuned!

Innovation Kitchens LLC.   Web

Innovation Kitchens LLC.   Facebook

Middleton Produce Market.  Facebook

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Happy Ninth Anniversary Sustainable Work

Forty+ years of entrepreneurship.  Nine years of writing about it.  I'm whittling away at my goal of helping create a million new small enterprises...

Happy 9th anniversary to our Sustainable Work blog. 

I wrote the first post, What I'm trying to do, 9 years ago working late one night in Dubuque.

This is the 545th post since launching the blog.  

I was doing a startup then and I'm doing one now.  Life is good.

Happy 9th Anniversary Sustainable Work!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Wiring up our startup. 'Good bones' create great bodies of work.

No startup will succeed without continuously building better internal structures - aka 'good bones'.

Without good bones, you've got no body of work.

Our startup was funded in mid February.

I'm proud to say we were selling - live fire in front of customers - in under a month.

Selling is most critical.  However, the heavy lifting for the launch of any startup is behind the scenes.

Wiring up your professional relationships as wisely and quickly as possible is essential.

The key components of good startup structure (good bones) are:

1. Data management - How do you capture, retrieve, and manipulate data?  Is it scalable?
2. Accounting - Who is your CPA?
3. Insurance - Who are your insurance pros? What are your underlying coverages?  Umbrellas?
4. Banking - Who is your community banker?
5. Legal - Who is your lawyer?

I proud to say we've wired in some wonderful new partners.  Pictured is our community banker, Dale Hatfield, at our community banking partner, Farmers Savings Bank.

My startup report:  within about 6 weeks:

1. Our database is now living in the cloud and working on all local devices - firing on all cylinders.
2. We've moved our accounting into a great small business CPA firm.
3. We've got comprehensive insurance coverage including extensive umbrellas.
4. We're proud to partner with a leading regional bank that supports rural business.
5. We've got the right lawyers in the right places for the specific tasks at hand.

When I started writing this blog almost 9 years ago, one of the very first posts I wrote was 'Good Bones'.  I've been through startup and small business fights for decades and the 'Good Bones' list is universal.  I've linked to the original post below.  It's more relevant than ever.

Without good bones, you've got no body of work.  Thanks to our great new business partners!

Good Bones , April 2005

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Anyone interested in locally prepared, regionally grown foods and ingredients...

We’ll be exhibiting at the Midwest Foodservice Expo in Milwaukee next week. Anyone interested in locally prepared, regionally grown foods and ingredients should stop by or get in touch. The 2014 growing season is almost here. If your business plan calls for more year-round local and regional foods, we can make your plan work.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Warren Buffet - "I have not, however, made my last mistake..."

Warren Buffet continues to blaze new trails with his proven business model.  (1)  "I have not, however, made my last mistake..." and,  (2)  "..invest ... as you would in a farm."

Growth comes from trying many experiments and from keeping the core mission front and center.  Some experiments don't pan out but the mission thrives.

The Washington Post reported on Warren Buffet's 2014 annual letter and predictions for the economy. 

"Investors eagerly await Warren Buffett’s letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders each year for its plain-spoken insight into the billionaire’s financial strategy and economic predictions. Buffett had plenty of good news to discuss Saturday..."

I love the way Mr. Buffet talks about investing using the model of building a farm:  “So ignore the chatter, keep your costs minimal, and invest in stocks as you would in a farm.”

My favorite takeaway from Mr. Buffet's annual letter is this:  "I have not, however, made my last mistake ......   Not everything works out as planned.”

"Buffet Speaks:   Highlights from his annual letter".   March 1, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Martha's Pimento Cheese - Martha rocks!

Martha's Pimento Cheese is a gift to the world and a vacation to the South for those of us in Wisconsin.

My friend Martha is a fearless entrepreneur with delicious, award winning products you should know. 

Martha’s Pimento Cheese took first place, the Blue Ribbon, and Martha’s Pimento Cheese with JalapeƱos took second place, the Red Ribbon, in the 2013 American Cheese Society competition.  

Making scrambled eggs with Martha's Pimento with Jalapenos has been a wonderful way to survive this winter.

Congratulations Martha on all your accolades and thanks for your leadership role developing artisan foods in Wisconsin and beyond.  Forward!

Learn More about Martha's Pimento Cheese at Mighty Fine Food

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Innovation Kitchens - Celebrating our new startup!

I'm helping launch the best startup of my life - Innovation Kitchens.

Innovation Kitchens is being built to help develop and grow the artisan food industry. This is a time of great opportunity.

Our company helps create great jobs and opens new markets for regional and specialty foods.

The photo is with friends at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen.  We're not only co-workers, but I get to share in their wonderful annual party as the bingo caller.  It's a highlight of my year and this was a great way to celebrate the launch of our new business!

I'll report news of Innovation Kitchens here.  We're not just starting a very cool new business.  I also think we have a good shot at helping launch a big new market.

Innovation Kitchens will be a highlight of my career.  Forward.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Top Ten Food Trends for 2014 - Consumers and retailers

Our Innovation Kitchen model supports something directly connected with every one of the top 10 food trends for 2014.

The Top Ten Food Trends for 2014 is an ongoing survey published by Facts, Figures and the Future.

The complete article is linked below.

I've taken descriptions from each trend to directly highlight something our Innovation Kitchen model supplies to that trend.

Top Ten Food Trends for 2014

1. The Emergence of the “IndieWoman”: ...look for more brands to offer more semi-homemade meals that use fresh, high-quality ingredients.

2. Better for You Snacking: ... healthier on-the-go offerings.

3. Brands Reach Consumers Locally Through Cause Initiatives: ... brands will find greater purpose in serving the larger community.

4. Click to Cook: ...the ability to select a recipe, order ingredients and check-out directly from mobile devices.

5. Supermarkets--The New Culinary Schools: ... “community cooking centers” where shoppers can collaborate and learn from each other.

6. The Retailer Becomes the Brand: ... shop at a particular retailer because it has good store brand products.   ... consumers will see more private label brands creating new unique products.

7. Rise and Shine--The New Way to Start Your Day: ... convenient breakfast options.

8. Packaging Evolves to Share More with Consumers: ... Using a mobile device, shoppers will learn more about an ingredient or health claim by simply focusing the device on the label to tell where the ingredients come from, who prepared the food, the company’s history...

9. Millenials Make the Supermarket Social:  Next up: “click to buy” for consumers looking to purchase ingredients for a recipe on Pinterest and have them delivered to their homes.

10. International Restaurant Flavors At Home: look for all shoppers to be eating more international inspired foods.


We see these trends emerging every week in the work we do.  Farms and buyers are in a great position to supply this significant new demand.

Our Innovation Kitchen network can create high quality regional ingredients that serve every one of these top food trends for 2014.

Top Ten Food Trends for 2014.  Facts, Figures and the Future.  December. 2013

Friday, January 10, 2014

Congratulations new University of Wisconsin System President Dr. Ray Cross.

Congratulations new University of Wisconsin System President Dr. Ray Cross.

Ray was selected by the UW Board of Regents yesterday and will soon take charge of the operation of all 4 year and 2 year campuses as well as the UW Extension and Colleges.

In addition to a distinguished academic career, Ray has been an engineer and small business owner in the past.

Importantly, Ray has direct, hands-on experience in the kind of work we are doing in regional food systems.  I had a good long discussion with Ray about our Innovation Kitchen work when he visited us in Iowa County (photo).   I also had the opportunity to talk about how to deploy our Innovation Kitchen business model with Ray later on at his UW office.

Ray will have big agenda items to deal with as UW System President, but I'm confident we have a knowledgeable, empathetic leader in place who knows the value of effective regional food systems to our state and our region.

Congratulations Ray!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

"Kale, Kale Everywhere, but Only Cheetos to Eat"

 A new article in the Atlantic discusses how difficult it is for everyone - including farmers living and working in the heart of our growing regions - to make use of farm products directly.

Smart, nimble commercial food processing kitchens can take nutritious, regional foods and make them ready for quick meals for busy people.

End users shouldn't be made to choose between Cheetos and a bushel of dusty kale or unwashed carrots.

Regional commercial kitchens can make these products 'table ready' and put a big dent in this dumb dichotomy.

Innovation Kitchens

 Kale, Kale Everywhere, but Only Cheetos to Eat  The Atlantic, Jan. 8, 2014 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

"Why Immigrants Should Invest In The Coming Midwestern Food Renaissance"

Rich Schell is an Illinois attorney and a very good writer on the subject of food and agriculture businesses.

Rich just posted a new piece to his blog, Schell Acres titled, "Why Immigrants Should Invest In The Coming Midwestern Food Renaissance".

A core of his idea is that there are four vital pieces for any entrepreneurial venture:  Founder/mission, Marketing, Making, and Money

Along with our Innovation Kitchen work, Rich brings in some very well known names in the world of entrepreneurship and enterprise into his piece:  Peter Drucker ("The man who invented management" - Businessweek), Ernesto Sirolli (The Sirolli Institute),  Paul Ray (Cultural Creatives) and Jenny Kassan, (Cutting Edge Capital).

Good company!  What I'm most proud of are the good words Rich shares about our work (emphasis added):

"Marketing:  Niche markets and a lot of them made possible by the fragmentation of the mass market in food and agriculture and the rise of the internet and foodies."

"Making:   Wholistic, Bio Based Organizations that are nimble, quick and niched like Rick Terrien's Innovation Kitchen that allows for the "Democratization of Food"-- small runs of batch products that are still FDA compliant. The internet makes it possible to fragment the mass market into a million pieces, and put the pieces and products together in new and profitable niches that have a margin, and that people buy to be different and not the same as everyone else."

This is exactly the path we're taking with our work at Innovation Kitchens.  We've been able to set up the pathways and maps that allow small farms, food businesses and entrepreneurs to create profitable niche food lines and new brands.  Both farms and consumers benefit and it's making some great jobs for people with disabilities along the way.

Thanks to Rich for the good words!