Spotlight: Food and Beverage Pitch Competition in Muskegon
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
The MEDC’s Regional Prosperity and Pure Michigan Business Connect teams hosted the 231 Food & Beverage Pitch Challenge in Muskegon to help businesses amplify their products
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), along with a regional partner group, hosted the 231 Food & Beverage Pitch Challenge on May 16 at the Muskegon Farmers Market.
The competition provided food and beverage businesses in Lake, Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties an opportunity to pitch their products for a chance to receive customized support service packages that would help start or scale their businesses.
The regional partner group included the City of Muskegon, Greater Muskegon Economic Development (GMED), Lake County Economic Development Alliance, Mason County Chamber Alliance, Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD), Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, MSU Product Center, Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership, Oceana County Economic Alliance, SCORE, The Right Place, and West Michigan Food Processing Association (WMFPA).
The judges panel included Matt McCauley, MEDC’s Senior Vice President of Regional Prosperity, as well as representatives from MDARD, MSU Product Center/Center for Regional Food Systems, Nestle/Purina and SCORE.
Each of the seven businesses participating at the pitch were awarded support service/technical assistance packages.
The top-scoring participant was Sanders Mobile Shop, which will receive an award package that includes up to $5,000 in legal services to help further establish business setup, $1,000 in marketing and branding support from Taste the Local Difference and up to 40 hours of use of professional commercial kitchen space.
Father-daughter team Brian and Bre’Onna Sanders, who will be opening a food truck operation, currently provide catering services and use commercial kitchen space where available. Sanders Mobile Shop will provide a variety of meals inspired by Sanders’ cookbook, which was developed during his incarceration. Upon his release, he and his daughter decided to open a business together.
Recognizing the great need for diverse food trucks to serve as vendors at festivals, carnivals and around Muskegon, Sanders Mobile Shop will be able to service various locations around the city and West Michigan.
The other awardees for the 231 Food & Beverage Pitch Challenge included:
Carson Family Beef in Hesperia is a third-generation family dairy farm run by Eric and Brittany Carson that raises and processes beef. The business was awarded a prize package that includes up to $5,000 in marketing & branding/paid advertising services through Taste the Local Difference.
Crucible Salts & Seasonings is a disabled veteran-owned business in Fountain, offering spice blends and mixes. The business won a package that includes up to $5,000 in marketing & branding/paid advertising services through Taste the Local Difference.
Mommy’s Treats, owned and developed by brothers Christopher and Nathan in Muskegon, sells lactation cookie mixes to help mothers with breastfeeding. The business received a prize package that includes up to $5,000 in marketing & branding/paid advertising services through Taste the Local Difference.
NOVA Super.Natural.Bakery located in Muskegon specializes in hand-crafted chocolates, pastries and baked goods developed by Chef Addy that are soy free and gluten free. The bakery’s prize package includes up to $5,000 in marketing & branding/paid advertising services through Taste the Local Difference.
State & Main, a redevelopment residential project at a historic building in Scottsville, plans on adding a coffee shop/café operation to its street level space. Their prize package includes up to $5,000 in marketing & branding/paid advertising services through Taste the Local Difference.
The Woven Trifecta in Muskegon, which includes a small, certified, naturally grown farm producing mixed market crops, cut flowers, assorted eggs as well as some value-added products. The Woven Trifecta won a package that will include up to $5,000 in professional services for HR and accounting support.
“As we look to grow Michigan’s economy, fostering the success of our small businesses is a key piece of the pie,” said McCauley. “These seven businesses are a testament to the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit thriving in West Michigan. It will be exciting to see how the business owners utilize these resources to make their communities more vibrant and more delicious.”
In October, PMBC will partner with the City of Southfield to host the Wellness & Beauty Consumer Product Summit, providing a space for wellness and beauty brands to learn and connect with industry professionals and buyers. This event will promote Michigan micro-makers and manufacturers looking to promote more robust and lasting business connections within the ecosystem.
To contact a business development specialist, click here or call 1.888.522.0103.
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