By Michael Futch The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.
WWR Article Summary (tl:dr) The "Food-trepreneur" summit focused on growing food trends and opportunities for entrepreneurs interested in starting and expanding in the food industry.
The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.
Katlyn Rocap seems eager to relaunch her home-based cake business.
The 27-year-old Rocap has been in Fayetteville for three months. Her husband, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Rocap, is stationed at Fort Bragg.
After relocating from Germany, she's reopening her Katie Cakes business here. "I only baked with German products. I'm relearning a lot," she said.
On Wednesday morning, Rocap was among the 60 or so people who attended the fifth annual Food-trepreneur Summit held in an auditorium of the Cumberland County Extension Center by the Crown Center.
This year's conference, sponsored by the Women's Business Center at CEED, focused on growing food trends and opportunities for entrepreneurs interested in starting and expanding in the food industry.
"The reason why we started it? Sixty percent of the people we're talking with are looking at starting a food business," said Suzy Hrabovsky, the executive director of the Center for Economic Empowerment & Development. "We're bringing agencies together to assist entrepreneurs, and also give you more resources to look at and answer the questions you did not know you have."
During the morning's opening panel, speakers included Carl Miller, who is department chairman of Culinary Arts at Fayetteville Technical Community College.
He urged the crowd of aspiring business people that, in terms of a restaurant menu development, they should "go back to the old way of doing things." This includes visits to the area's farms and talking to the farmers about their food crops.
"Fresh products, more wholesome products, products other people in the area don't have: You have to grow your business," he said.
Prospective small business owners, Miller said, also must decide the personality of their restaurant by answering the question, "What is your style?"
Rocap said opening a small business can be confusing. She cited CEED as helping her navigate through the laws, zoning ordinances, and required permits and licenses.
With a little laugh, she said her husband loves her cakes.
"He started running more often," she noted, "because he's been trying my cakes."