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New York City Economic Development Corporation today announced the four winning businesses of the first ever City-sponsored competition designed to send New York City-based food manufacturers to an international trade show in Washington, DC. The four winning food manufacturers—Taste of Ethiopia, Morris Kitchen, Chulita’s Famous, and Davidovich Bakery—will each win a booth sponsored by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) at the National Association of Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) Summer Fancy Food Show, which is being held in Washington next week. For each winner, NYCEDC will fund and coordinate the design, marketing and promotion of the booth, as well as cover travel costs to Washington and NASFT 2012 member dues. The 2012 show, which runs from June 17 to June 19, is expected to attract more than 15,000 buyers from around the world to source products for their stores and restaurants for the coming year.
“Food manufacturing continues to be a critical piece of the City’s industrial sector, providing tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs to start businesses and create jobs,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “Through this competition, several promising entrepreneurs will now have increased access to national and international markets, allowing them to build upon their early successes, transform and expand their businesses, and ultimately strengthen the City’s economy.”
“The specialty food industry is thriving, and it is being fueled by passionate entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. Our Summer Fancy Food Show will provide the opportunity for these emerging New York manufacturers to connect with buyers looking for the latest innovative products,” said NASFT President Ann Daw. “As a New York City-based trade association devoted to food manufacturers and entrepreneurs, we are particularly pleased to work with the NYCEDC to help foster growth for these wonderful companies.”
The competition to participate in the NASFT Summer Fancy Food Show was designed to help address challenges faced by local food manufacturers, including limited resources to plan for growth; difficulty in fully accessing local, regional, and national markets; and access to technical assistance services. In preparation for the Fancy Food Show, the four winning companies will receive promotional services as well as expert marketing and technical assistance to help them refine their pitch, display, and business plan to successfully obtain and fulfill larger contracts.
Taste of Ethiopia is a family owned business located at HBK Incubates, a City-sponsored kitchen incubator operated by Hot Bread Kitchen at La Marqueta in East Harlem. They produce ready-to-eat Ethiopian meals that are sold at grocery stores across Manhattan and Brooklyn.
“I founded Taste of Ethiopia with the goal of making Ethiopian food as popular and widely eaten as sushi. After starting my business at the kitchen incubator at La Marqueta last year, Taste of Ethiopia has already grown to having five full-time employees. Going to the Summer Fancy Food Show will hopefully allow my business to expand even further by connecting to new buyers who might not know about Ethiopian food and can bring it to new markets,” said Hiyaw Gebreyohannes CEO of Taste of Ethiopia.
“We are thrilled that Hiyaw has been selected as a winner of the Summer Fancy Food Show Contest. This prize will bring him new, well-deserved opportunities to grow his business. His selection is further proof of our program’s effectiveness and we hope that his continued success will both draw attention to the other fine businesses in HBK Incubates and inspire growing business to join our community,” said HBK Incubates Program Director Sandra Vu.
Morris Kitchen is an artisanal syrup company that operates in Williamsburg. They produce small batch syrups, sourcing ingredients from local farms whenever possible.
“The goal of Morris Kitchen is to provide quality products that are made with genuine care, by hand. We are excited to win this competition and gain the opportunity to bring our unique products to new markets,” said Kari Morris, owner of Morris Kitchen.
Chulita's Famous is a Latin seasonings company that operates out of the BAO Organic Incubator in Long Island City, and sells all-natural sofrito and spices for time-strapped home cooks. The sofrito has no MSG, artificial preservatives, thickeners or fillers.
“Having come from an immigrant Hispanic family, I was always exposed to a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Now, I get to share my recipes to a larger audience at the Summer Fancy Food Show in D.C., and I really feel like I’ve made my family proud,” said Gloribell (Chulita) Taveras.
Davidovich Bakery is a Queens-based wholesale bakery specializing in top quality artisan bagels made from all natural ingredients.
“We are thrilled to have been selected as a winner of this competition and look forward to attending the Summer Fancy Food Show where new buyers will learn why all other bagels wish they were a Davidovich Bagel too,” said Marc Fintz, our Director of Business Development at Davidovich Bakery.
The winners were determined by a judging panel of representatives from NYCEDC, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, East Williamsburg Valley Economic Development Corporation, Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation, Industrial Technology Assistance Corporation (ITAC), Queens Economic Development Corporation, the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation, and Dufour Pastry Kitchen. Each business was evaluated on its growth potential, ability to expand its market, and suitability for the NASFT Summer Fancy Food Show. In addition to the winners, three runners up were selected to receive a one-year membership into the NASFT, sponsored by NYCEDC. These companies include Bocce’s Bakery, Mama Oh’s Premium Kimchi, and We Rub You Korean BBQ.
The competition was originally launched in October 2011 at the first ever City-sponsored food manufacturer business expo and networking event which was attended by over 100 New York City-based food manufacturers. The expo was a result of both the Mayor’s immigrant entrepreneur initiatives and the Speaker’s FoodWorks initiative, which is part of a larger effort to grow the local food economy by supporting the city’s food manufacturers. There are nearly 1,000 food manufacturing firms in New York City, employing over 14,000 people.
The City has taken a number of steps over the past year to support and grow the City’s food manufacturing industry. Two kitchen incubators, the Entrepreneur Space in Long Island City and HBK Incubates at La Marqueta, were launched in partnership with the City in January 2011. Together these incubators provide over 8,000 square feet of low cost commercial kitchen space where small food manufacturers can start to grow their businesses.
The food manufacturer business expo was also one of three new pilot initiatives announced in March 2011 by Mayor Bloomberg to support immigrant-owned businesses to start, operate, and expand their businesses in New York City. The other two pilot initiatives, include a new series of free NYC Business Solutions courses in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Russian, and Haitian Creole; and Competition THRIVE, a business plan competition designed to address the challenges faced by immigrant entrepreneurs, including access to credit, financial management, language barriers, and access to business networks. The initiatives were the result of a year-long series of roundtables with community groups and are part of the City’s agenda to support immigrant communities to grow and create jobs.
So far this year, NYC Business Solutions courses have been offered in Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Haitian Creole in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. Each course was attended by nearly 20 people. Courses in Chinese and Korean are planned to be offered before the end of the year. As part of the first year of the program, approximately 11 NYC Business Solutions courses have been offered in five non-English languages across all five boroughs.
In September, the five finalists of Competition THRIVE were announced. The five selected finalist organizations were ACCION USA, Business Outreach Center Network, Inc. (BOC Network), Make the Road NY (MRNY), Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), and Washington Heights Inwood Development Corporation (WHIDC). Each of the finalists received seed funding of $25,000 were given six months to pilot their programs. In May, QEDC was selected as the winner of a $100,000 grant to expand its Home Improvement Contractor Training Program into additional languages.
New York City’s immigrant population has more than doubled since 1970 – from roughly 1.4 million to 3 million – and immigrants now represent nearly 40 percent of the City’s population and 44 percent of the City’s labor force.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.