ACTION TANK- FOOD ENTREPRENEURS

On April 23, Babson’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) and the Lewis Institute for Social Innovation hosted a unique event that emphasized Babson’s Entrepreneurial Thought and Action®. They called the event ‘Action Tank’. The unique concept of this event was that four food entrepreneurs presented a unique business problem that they are facing currently and the audience members, who are broken up into small groups, have to work together and present possible solutions to the problems.

The four food entrepreneurs were:

  • Pranav Chaudhary – Mission Root which sells ayurvedic and herbal drinks.
  •  Martin Angulo Karam and Rafael Belloso – Farmer’s Crate which sells fruit chips made in South America.
  • Mariana Robina Galatas and Alonso Hidalgo – Mango Wine sells wine made from Mexican mangoes.
  •  ­­­Emily Lagasse – FedWell which is developing human-grade food for dogs.

The event was action packed with the entrepreneurs getting excellent feedback from the audience and judges, including Babson’s new entrepreneur-in-residence Gail Simmons. The recommendations that were shared are very useful for any food entrepreneur. Here are the key takeaways:

  1. The packaging of your product is a very important way of communicating your product’s positioning to your prospective customers. If your market positioning and product packaging are a mismatch the product will be a disaster.
  2. Define your target market accurately. You may feel that a certain segment of the consumers is your target market but that segment may not be the right target market for your product. So, consult with entrepreneurs and experienced personnel before setting your target market.
  3. For a start-up or small business, managing your relationship with suppliers can be a big headache. In the starting phase the business may not have necessarily have sufficient volume to entice the supplier. The supplier may not provide good service to you since you are a small volume customer. Therefore, building a relationship with the supplier can be really helpful.
  4. As a start-up or small business you have limited resources and these resources need to be used very intelligently. Marketing is one area where a lot of entrepreneurs use up a good amount of their resources. However, by using modern technology and smart, cost-efficient ideas rather than traditional methods, the huge costs for marketing can be avoided. Use of social media and tie-ups with credible businesses is recommended.
  5. Test the product several times before launching it in the market. Ask experienced chefs and other food entrepreneurs to give their feedback on your product. This feedback can really improve your product and make it a favorite amongst the consumers.

Being an entrepreneur is always a struggle. Being a food entrepreneur in particular can be hard as there are many obstacles to overcome. Consider these points before you go to market to increase your chance of succeeding even in an already competitive market.