Bakery, vegan sauce line, portable soup company: At MSU, a student-created food startup has found its place in Venture Kitchen, a fully licensed professional kitchen space on the second floor of the Union.
Officially launched this summer, the kitchen is an extension of the Burgess Entrepreneurship and Innovation Discovery Program and is free to use for food-based entrepreneurs within the program.
“We walk[students]through the elements of starting a business, and if they need to use the Venture Kitchen, they have it,” said Lori Fisher, director of operations at the Burgess Institute. “Once you’re ready to produce and sell, we can help you get your license.”
Marketing Jr. and OG’s Bakery founder Olivia Gargett fills orders for homemade treats in her kitchen almost every week.
“The Venture Kitchen space was great for me,” says Gargett. “The rent for something like that can be very expensive, so it was a great space for me to be able to fulfill orders and continue to grow while I was in school.”
Gargett went online during her freshman year and joined the Discovery Program during her sophomore year to meet people. This program is open to her MSU students of any major. A student entrepreneur receives funding at local, state and national pitch competitions and the Burgess Institute backs the opportunity to participate in her launch program.
“I entered the Burgess New Venture Challenge pitch competition as a freshman with COVID-19, so it was just to meet people. I had never met anyone else,” Gargett said. Told.
Gargett ended up winning first place in the competition and received funding to support their business growth. These funds helped her buy a ton of supplies, rent her space at Farmers Market, Vendor, and now in her hometown of Grand Rapids, her incubator, her kitchen, her space. It’s a schedule.
Madison Marsh, senior economist and author of The Cut cookbook, uses her Venture Kitchen space to develop an array of vegan sauces.
“I go out there and play with different recipes and really use the space so that I can figure out what I want in them,” Marsh said.
Marsh founded The Cut in May 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Originally, it started as an idea to create a recipe book to give my friends and family something to get them a little excited because they were going through such a tough time,” Marsh said. Before I knew it, the recipe book I was making had nearly 100 recipes on it, and I really enjoyed it.”
Last year, Marsh won $3,000 in a pitch contest and received a James Ian Gray Scholarship for Entrepreneurship Studies. She released her cookbook last November.
“The Burgess Institute has been very helpful in helping me grow my business,” Marsh said. “From day one, when I told them about the cookbook I was working on, they wanted to help me.”
Marsh now uses MSU products to achieve food safety verification in hopes of selling her vegan sauce at local vendors such as Campbell’s Market Basket, Horrocks Farm Market and Capital City Market in Lansing. We work with the center. Marsh and other Discovery members of her program sell products at Union’s pop-up shop in the space of her former Dairy store on game Saturdays and during special events.
Olivia Simone, marketing senior and founder of portable soup company Soup N’ Sip, said the support she received in developing the company prompted her to reciprocate that support as a venture capitalist after graduation. .
“The help and the community and support from the Burgess Institute is unlike anything I’ve seen or felt before,” Simone said. “They are some of the most hands-on professors and advisors I have ever met and honestly made my time at MSU very enjoyable and approachable.”
Simone founded the company last year after winning a pitch competition. She said she ventures to use her kitchen when her home kitchen is too small.
“Some time ago I had a dream of drinking (Soup ‘N Sip) in a football stadium, but the biggest problem I face now is how to make so much soup,” Simone said. rice field. “This is a very long-term decision that will cost a lot of money. …The Burgess Institute gave me a lot of funding, so I was able to do it. I’m looking for a full-time job after graduation, so I’m trying to see if that’s my next step.
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Meanwhile, Gargett said she plans to run OG’s Bakery full-time after college and is confident MSU will continue to support her company’s growth beyond the Venture Kitchen space.
“I plan to continue my ventures after college,” says Gargett. “I’m not looking for another job at the moment, so I’m going to do my best.”
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