Tag: FIN entrepreneurs

Video: Naija Buka Is Always a Crowd-Pleaser

It's time for the second video in our FIN food business profile series! This week we are featuring Naija Buka: Chef Lilian makes delicious, authentic Nigerian cuisine. Try Naija Buka's popular jollof rice, as well as fried plantains, peppersoup, puff-puffs, and more. Check out their pop-up event at Project Feast's Ubuntu Street Café on March 9! Can't wait that long to get your fix? Visit Naija Buka's new website to see their menu and make your order. Then stay tuned for the next video in our business profile series.

 

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Video: Soozveen Mediterranean Catering Owners Cook With Love

We're excited to share the first of five videos profiling FIN Food Business Incubator participants! This week the spotlight is on Soozveen Mediterranean Catering. Sisters Sheelan and Zozan founded Soozveen because they wanted to share family recipes and stories. Try their dolmas, hummus, falafel, and other dishes made from scratch and flavored with the spices of Northern Iraq. And don't forget dessert -- their baklava and jasmine cookies are out of this world! Check out Soozveen’s menu, learn more about our Food Business Incubator, and stay tuned for videos featuring Sherehe Kenya Kitchen, Naija Buka, Mamá Tila Catering, and Taste of Congo coming out over the next four weeks!

 

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Our Food Business Incubator Is Making a Big Impact — and It’s Growing!

Our Incubator pilot program hit some big milestones in 2018! Participants share how it’s helped them in our new video; here's a breakdown by the numbers:

  • five new businesses launched since late 2017
  • over 55 catering orders coordinated through FIN
  • 21 farmers market days through our Taste Around the Globe booth at the Federal Way and Renton farmers markets
We're ready to build on this success and expand this valuable program! Tukwila Village Food Hall, now under construction and set to open next winter, will give the Incubator room to grow. Our new commercial kitchen will accommodate at least 20 food businesses, including eight that will rent retail stalls in the food hall. Learn more about this exciting project, and stay tuned for updates -- soon we'll recruit food businesses to join us at the new space!

Get involved

Big thanks to our funding partners

We're grateful to the Port of Seattle, Communities of Opportunity, and Seattle Foundation for their generous support of the Food Business Incubator and Tukwila Village Food Hall.

 

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New Volunteer Opportunity: Graphic Design and Marketing Consultant

Use your graphic design and marketing skills to help an emerging entrepreneur launch a new food business! Branding and marketing support is a vital component of FIN’s Food Business Incubator program, which assists entrepreneurs through training, mentoring, and affordable commercial kitchen space. Most program participants are refugees and immigrants with low household incomes. Learn how the Incubator helps participants improve their economic security and build community connections. Responsibilities:

  • Meet with an entrepreneur to develop their branding and marketing plan.
  • Collaborate with the entrepreneur to design a menu, and potentially a logo and business card.
  • Establish and develop the business’ presence on web/social platforms. Depending on the marketing plan, this may include Facebook, Instagram, and/or other apps and websites.
  • Ensure the entrepreneur is able to maintain their web/social presence and update their marketing materials independently.
Qualifications:
  • Experience in graphic design and business marketing is required. Formal training in these skills is preferred.
  • Commitment to racial and social justice is required. Experience collaborating with people from diverse backgrounds is preferred.
Time commitment: Initial commitment is approximately 20-40 hours (total -- not per week) on a flexible schedule from February through May, 2019. If you’d like, you may choose to continue volunteering with the entrepreneur beyond the launch of their business. You will also have the opportunity to volunteer with a new program participant who will join the Incubator later in 2019. Work location: Volunteer and program participant will meet at least twice in person at a South King County location of their choice. Additional meetings may be held in person or remotely. Support: FIN’s communications lead will facilitate an introduction meeting between volunteers and entrepreneurs, and will also be available to answer questions. About Food Innovation Network: We’re working to build a healthy, prosperous, and connected community in South King County. We do this through food. FIN is a program of the nonprofit organization Global to Local. For more information and to apply for this unpaid volunteer position: Contact Denise Miller, Global to Local's communications specialist, at denise@globaltolocal.org. To apply, please send an email indicating your interest in the position and your relevant qualifications. (Attaching a resume is optional.)

 

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Meet Ofelia Anorve and Her New Business, Mamá Tila Catering & Events!

Incubator program participant Ofelia Anorve brings authentic dishes from across Mexico to the Seattle area. Check out Mamá Tila's catering menu, and read on for our Q & A with Ofelia. Tell us about your business. My business specializes in traditional Mexican food. How did get the idea for your business?Ofelia Anorve prepares food A lot of people would tell me that my food was really good, and I should have my own business. Also, there was a lack of traditional Mexican food in the Seattle area. What makes you different from other catering companies? I take my time when I cook my food, and I do it with love. What do you like best about your work? What I think is best about my work is seeing people enjoy my food. What is something people might be surprised to learn about you or your business? I think people would be surprised to learn that my food is authentic, fresh, delicious and healthy. What’s your business’ biggest challenge? My biggest challenge is that if my business is growing fast, I can be under stress since I am running it alone. What would you say to other small food business owners thinking of working with FIN? I would say that FIN is really helpful and you learn a lot. Contact Ofelia: (206) 265-9746 or mamatilaevents@gmail.com

 

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“A Wonderful Time” at Community Kitchen Night

Last week, dozens of community members joined us to share food and stories at Community Kitchen Night, a quarterly event we co-present with the City of SeaTac. This time, we took the celebration outdoors for a barbecue at North SeaTac Park. [caption id="attachment_2492" align="alignright" width="300"]Nga Reh made delicious chicken at Community Kitchen Night. Nga Reh made delicious chicken at Community Kitchen Night.[/caption] Here's what Community Food Advocate Nga Reh said about the evening:

"I had such a wonderful time. It was a great idea to make it an outdoor activity, and I liked the way we shared foods from each of our communities. This was my first time serving food. At first, I was afraid that the people wouldn't like the foods I served. I'm glad that they did! And it was great that anyone could join. If I have another chance, I will participate again!"
Thanks to everyone who came out for this great gathering! Check out more pictures on Facebook. Then mark your calendars for our next Community Kitchen Night, which will be at SeaTac Community Center on Sept. 26.

 

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Meet Taste of Congo’s Owner and Chef, Caroline Musitu!

We're excited to introduce you to incubator program participant Caroline Musitu! Her new business, Taste of Congo, has been a hit at farmers markets in Renton and Federal Way this summer. Visit her at a farmers market, check out Taste of Congo's catering menu, and read on for our Q & A with Caroline. Tell us about your business. My business is a catering food service. I cook African food -- Congolese food. I make samosas, rice with vegetables, goat, chicken, salad, French donuts called beignets, and more. What inspired you to start this business? I am from Congo, from Kinshasa, a beautiful city where people like to dance and to eat. There’s lots of parties and celebration. When I was young, my mom used to do catering for weddings, parties, and church; I used to help her make things. But when I came here, my Congolese community would just cook food on their own for events. I said, Why not start a business cooking for them? Special events like weddings happen once in your life, and you have to have food that wows! What makes you different from other catering companies? I have the only Congolese food business in the area! Once people try Congolese food, they’ll know it’s good. It’s very fresh and healthy, too. What do you like best about your work? When my food makes people happy. What is something people might be surprised to learn about you or your business? I’ve cooked since I was 10 years old. When people visited, I’d go to the kitchen and cook for them. My siblings don’t like to cook, but I love it. My mom showed me how to cook, but I like to invent new recipes; I don’t like to do the same thing, I want to keep it fresh and different. What’s your business’ biggest challenge? I’m learning how the market works, and how to present Congolese food to people who aren’t Congolese. What services or programs have been helpful? Ventures and FIN have helped with the business side: the formal lessons, marketing, calculation, prices. What would you say to other small food business owners thinking of working with FIN? FIN are good people to work with; they help us small businesses to get started, grow, and even become big businesses. Contact Caroline: 206.778.5615, tasteofcongoseattle@gmail.com, Taste of Congo on Facebook

 

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FIN Entrepreneurs at Renton and Federal Way Farmers Markets

FIN entrepreneurs will sell delicious prepared foods at farmers markets in Federal Way and Renton this season! Mark your calendars to come visit us:

Renton Farmers Market, Tuesdays from 3 to 7 p.m.

• June 5, 12, 19: Sherehe Kenya Kitchen

• June 26: Taste of Congo

• July 31: Naija Buka

• August 7, 14: Naija Buka

• August 21: Taste of Congo

• August 28: Naija Buka

• September 18: Taste of Congo

Federal Way Farmers Market, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• June 9, 16, 23, 30: Taste of Congo

• July 28: Taste of Congo

• August 4, 11, 18, 25: Taste of Congo

• September 15, 29: Taste of Congo

• October 27: Taste of Congo

   

 

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Sherehe Kenyan Kitchen – Start Up Q&A

 

Sherehe Kenyan Kitchen

[caption id="attachment_2022" align="alignright" width="300"] Graduation day at Ventures.[/caption] Service Area: King County, Tacoma, and North to Everett Availability: I deliver Friday through Monday and prefer a week's notice Contact: 253 332 1615 or lucykamau2002@gmail.com     Q: Tell us about your business? I cater home-style Kenyan food and drinks. You can't miss my signature Chai, brewed with fresh ginger, honey, and international award-winning Kenyan tea. My snacks include samosa a meat or vegetarian filled pastry, wrapped in mild tropical spices. All my meals are stewed in fresh natural fibers and herbs for flavors. I am the oldest of nine and developed my cooking experience and skills while helping my mother to cook for our large family. My siblings and family started expressing how good my food tasted and would always look forward to my next meal. I am a mother of one adult son and I noticed he too would comment positively about his mom’s cooking. He recently joined me here in the United States where he graduated from college and has been very helpful in supporting my business startup.   Q: How did you get the idea for your business?  While I was living in Kenya and working in an office in Nairobi Kenya’s capital city, I started volunteering at church as well as community events, then I moved to the United States and continued to volunteer at my church and certain community events, people in the community noticed that my food was tasty and encouraged me to cater small events for them, my church also put me in charge of food and beverage organizing during special occasions. The requests grew to where I have catered community weddings between 200-400 people.   [caption id="attachment_2024" align="alignleft" width="225"] Lucy at her citizenship swearing in ceremony.[/caption] Q: What makes you different from other types of Kenyan restaurants? I am passionate about what I do, I care that people enjoy what I cook and I get great fulfillment from seeing them enjoy my food. I am creative and health focused.  Working as a caregiver, I have the opportunity to feed healthy food to the seniors on my shift. They love and wait for my soups because they have not had any other employee treat them so special. I buy special containers for them so they can feel good about their food and they look forward to the days that I work. My employers are aware of this and I work hard to encourage my co-workers to pay special attention while feeding our seniors.   Q: What do you like best about your work? The opportunity to share my ethnic food and social culture with other people, the chance to feed my clients special healthy meals and improve their health and quality of life. I enjoy interacting with others through food.    Q: What is your biggest challenge and where have you found help? Time, I have a full-time job as a caregiver and it is not easy work either, I put so many hours of work in a week that I don’t have enough time to do my business tasks in time. Venture’s program “building business, changing lives” and also their coaching activities have been helpful. Startzone is currently helping me develop my business documentation, costing, pricing and invoicing.   Q: What is something people might be surprised to learn about you? That I have a social life with close Christian friends and somehow, we find time to get together, pray and have fun singing Christian songs and supporting community events, and that am changing lives through food.    Q: What would you say to other small food business owners thinking of working with FIN? I would highly recommend it, every immigrant interested in a food business ought to know about FIN, I would never have thought of growing my business without their help, I would still be cooking only for my familiar community. FIN staff has been so helpful in the process and I am gaining more confidence because of their encouragement.

 

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Maraki – Start-Up Q&A

Maraki

Maraki, established in 2016, is an Ethiopian coffee and catering business. Business partners Fanaye Gebeyaw and Lidia Tadlla provide Ethiopian coffee and healthy snacks through the traditional ceremony that is perfect for social occasions.   Service Area: Seattle and King County Availability: Call us anytime Contact: (206) 832-5979     Q: Tell us about your business We come to you and make Ethiopian traditional coffee. You will be able to see how a very tasty and original Abyssinica coffee is made, from roasting the fresh beans to brewing. You'll taste our coffee with a healthy snack in the comfort of your own home or at an event. Maraki began catering with the support of Food Innovation Network. In Ethiopia, the traditional way to drink coffee is around coffee stands that hold cups where friends and family members gather, chat, share ideas and have coffee. Maraki pairs traditional coffee with high-quality healthy snacks in the homely and relaxed atmosphere of a client's own space. We meld pure socialization with our traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. With high standards and reliable delivery schedules, we have been able to build and maintain a solid customer base within a short period of time in King County. As founders, we are both experienced in Ethiopian and western foods, give high priority to quality and healthy food.   Q: What inspired you to start this business? We were inspired to take the influential culture from Ethiopia and do the same in our local atmosphere. The major inspiring factor for Maraki to start the business was the lack of culture we, as Ethiopians, noticed in the US. With this business, there will be more cultural festivities and an atmosphere just like Ethiopia. Q: What makes you different from other types of coffee businesses? Maraki provides unique service to its customers, we serve Ethiopian coffee with its traditional ceremony. The client watches as we roast the coffee bean which is directly imported from its origin, Ethiopia. Coffee catering is suitable to any social gathering- family, work or public. Our coffee ceremony highly facilitates social interaction. It creates a friendly and relaxed environment while enjoying our tasty coffee and healthy snack.   Q: What do you like best about your work? We enjoy working with clients and like to see customers satisfied with our service. It's always a pleasure to socialize with people during the coffee ceremony and seeing them smile.   Q: What is your business’ biggest challenge? Our biggest challenge so far is working capital. We would like to reach out many customers and participate in festivals but the working capital is a major challenge to meet that demand.   Q: What is something people might be surprised to learn about you or your business? One interesting thing is that both owners are health professionals promoting healthy lifestyle and equity. When we initially established Maraki it was to introduce healthy Ethiopian food and coffee ceremony to the Western community. We believe we can create a healthy community through socialization and understanding each other’s culture.   Q: What types of services or programs have been helpful? FIN services have been helpful for the success of Maraki as a catering service. The Network has supported us in accessing a commissary kitchen, creating a forum to network with potential customers, and facilitating us to get our business license and health permits.  

Want to brighten up your next social event?

Call Lidia & Fanaye today!

 

 

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