Course Aims To Help Chefs Become Successful Business Owners

By Richard Thompson
The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A new pilot program is getting underway in Louisiana to help sharpen the financial know-how of budding food entrepreneurs. The ultimate goal is to help small businesses (whether it is a food truck or a restaurant) navigate the ins and out of the managing credit and debit, cash flow and retaining customers. For women in business in La. listen up! Individuals who are accepted into the program and complete the course, could receive up to $75,000 in grant money.

The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.

Coming up with ideas for new dishes usually isn’t the hardest part of the job for startup entrepreneurs trying to gain a foothold in New Orleans’ bustling dining scene.

The real challenge often is outside the kitchen: mastering the business side of running a restaurant or other food venture.

A new, four-month pilot program is being unrolled to help sharpen the financial know-how of local restaurant owners, as well as chefs, caterers, food truck operators and professionals in charge of culinary schools and food markets.

The initiative, called the Catapult Fund, plans to offer extensive training and grant funding to a dozen applicants.

The 16-lesson program is being offered by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, in partnership with Capital One bank, the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, the Ashé Cultural Arts Center and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center.

It’s the second phase of a pilot program that began in 2014 and initially served arts entrepreneurs.

To reflect its new direction, the curriculum includes a range of speakers and topics addressing issues central to starting and running a new food business, from developing menus and business pitches to managing credit and debt, preparing food outdoors, handling cash flow and retaining customers.

By the end of the four months, participants will have learned how to craft a business-growth plan and hone their pitch. They’ll also be eligible for some of $75,000 in available grant money; foundation officials are still deliberating over how to divvy it up, whether on a merit-based scale or giving an equal share to everyone who completes the program.

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