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.
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!
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
- Make a tax-deductible gift. Your contribution to our Tukwila Village Food Hall capital campaign will help expand the Food Business Incubator and support entrepreneurs’ access to affordable kitchen space.
- Volunteer to help aspiring entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses. Next month, three more food businesses will join our Incubator. We're looking for volunteers with graphic design and marketing skills to help entrepreneurs develop brand assets and establish a presence on online marketing platforms. You can read the volunteer position description here, and please help us spread the word!
- Hire FIN entrepreneurs. Check out their menus and make your catering order now! Then stay tuned to this site, where we'll release a new video profile of each food business over the next five weeks.
Big thanks to our funding partnersWe'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.
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.
- 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.
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? 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 email@example.com
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.[/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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, Taste of Congo on Facebook
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