March was one of the most exciting months we’ve had at The Food Loft. We welcomed a few more companies into our office, and were able to pass on a lot of new value to members here. Here’s a recap:
After hearing from a number of founders that it’s hard to find mentors in food, we launched the Food Loft Mentor Network. 20 food entrepreneurs and startup service providers from companies like General Mills, Drizly and Silicon Valley Bank have joined to help food businesses work through challenges and grow. You can read more about the network on Bostinno.
We also participated in the Sustainable Business Network's 6th annual Local Food Trade Show at Northeastern University where we networked with food business and wholesale producers. If you haven't been to an SBN event you have to check them out: they have the most fun concepts all to benefit great causes and local producers. Read more about them here.
Then it was off to New York! We partnered with Millennial 2020 for their Future of E-Commerce conference and extended passes on to our members. The Food Loft crew zeroed in on the food and beverage stage and learned how to adapt marketing, sales, and company missions to attract millennial consumers. We heard from leaders in food innovation from companies like Chobani, Impossible Foods, Nestlé and Eataly as well as up-and-coming names making big waves in food like Imperfect Produce, Back To The Roots, Banza and Edenworks. The future of food is looking innovative, healthier, and delicious.
Back in Boston, we headed to Hotel Commonwealth for Journee's first conference outside of New York. Their mission is to bring restaurant professionals together to inspire and help them in pursuit of their dreams. They invited Food Lofters and our mentors to join in for free (thank you Sam!) In addition to eating one of the best donuts we’ve ever had, we spent the afternoon hearing from Boston restaurant greats, tasting wine and spices, and connecting with people from all corners of the restaurant community. We ended the day with a conversation on supporting immigrants in our communities both as customers and as food business owners. It was a great way to leave with a to-do that supports our restaurant ecosystem.
We wrapped up back at the office for a legal workshop with Food Loft mentor Cara and her colleague Ed from WilmerHale. We met 8 new food product companies and talked through topics like trademarks, incorporating your business, protecting IP and bring on employees. One thing we love about these workshops is how quick people in the room are to share advice with other entrepreneurs. Earlier stage companies were able to learn from people who were further along and had a lot of the steps to starting a business done already. Thank you both to Cara, Ed, and to everyone who shared their experiences with us - it was really helpful!
We had a lot of fun exploring more of the food world with our members. We’d love to share these opportunities with you, too. Click here to check out ways to get involved in The Food Loft.
We're happy to report that April is looking like it will be just as exciting... stay tuned!