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Aspiring entrepreneurs attend annual Food Entrepreneur Round Table

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On February 23rd, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City’s Spice Kitchen Incubator hosted the third annual Food Entrepreneur Round Table (FERT). The event brought together members of the community with expertise in small business growth alongside New American entrepreneurs—both participants in Spice Kitchen Incubator programs and the broader public—to participate in workshops, panel discussions and networking focused on owning, operating and expanding small food businesses in Salt Lake City.

The FERT showcased diverse entrepreneurs from around the community: "Our conference is an opportunity for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, from any background, to be connected with the tools to achieve their goal of a profitable food business," explained Carolyn Meyers, food business scale-up AmeriCorps VISTA.

Spice Kitchen Incubator, a program of the International Rescue Committee in Salt Lake City, hosted the annual Food Entrepreneur Round Table for refugees and New Americans.
Matthew Phillips from The City Library meets with aspiring entrepreneurs to discuss resources available to small businesses. Photo: Maggie McCormick/IRC

Over 35 participants attended the event learning more about business sales and income tax, nutrition and menu labeling, cash flow, permit applications and more. Panel discussions and workshops were led by local community partners, including Creminelli Fine Meats, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, and Whole Foods Market, and the Women's Business Center of Utah

Aditionally, representatives from other local organizations, such as The City Library, Eat Fresh Tech, and Salt Lake Small Business Development Center, attended the networking session to provide attendees with additional information and resources available to entrepreneurs as they begin and expand their businesses. Interpreters were available for Spanish and Arabic speakers, ensuring they had equal opportunities to connect with partners throughout the day. 

Roxana, a Salvadoran entrepreneur working with our Spice Kitchen Incubator program since January and passionate about tropical flans and other desserts, attended workshops on managing expenses and taxes. The topics covered at FERT “helped [her] unscramble a couple of things [about my business hopes].”

Sama, an entrepreneur from Iraq focused on customized portioning and healthy, nutritious Mediterranean cuisine, found the nutrition and menu labeling workshop particularly insightful as she embarks on her journey of owning and operating a small-scale food business to deliver a week’s worth of prepared meals for individuals working on their fitness goals. 

Spice Kitchen Incubator, a program of the International Rescue Committee in Salt Lake City, hosted the third annual Food Entrepreneur Round Table.
The networking session allowed entrepreneurs to connect with each other and learn about resources and services available to them in Salt Lake City. Photo: Maggie McCormick/IRC

“Events like [the Food Entrepreneur Round Table] are beneficial to bring all resources you can utilize for your business into one room. It’s great to make contacts in your field. This event is a great way to celebrate food businesses in Utah,” commented Ashleen McGirk, minority outreach AmeriCorps VISTA with the Women’s Business Center of Utah.

We’re grateful for our supportive community partners who continue to prioritize opportunities for low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs in Salt Lake City, including refugees and other New Americans. By sharing their talents and expertise, they ensure a more welcoming community, and new home, for all.

We would like to give a special thanks to our partners who made the FERT possible:   

USU Extension

Microbusiness Connection Center  

Women’s Business Center of Utah  

Suazo Center  

Creminelli Fine Meats

Salt Lake County

You can learn more about the IRC in Salt Lake City’s Spice Kitchen Incubator by visiting SpiceKitchenIncubator.org.