November Conference to Inspire Food Entrepreneurs

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The Making It in Michigan conference is November 13. (view larger image)

The Making it in Michigan conference might be the final ingredient to turn a small business idea into a recipe for success.

Making it in Michigan, presented by the MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources, will take place Nov. 13 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lansing Center, in Lansing, Mich.

Matthew Birbeck, MSU Product Center supply chain specialist and conference coordinator, said the event will give current and aspiring entrepreneurs three main take-aways—information, networking and inspiration.

“People who have a secret recipe or a big idea can get their product off the ground on Nov. 13,” Birbeck said. “Product Center business counselors and the industry experts they need—financiers, packagers, suppliers, marketers, food industry representatives—will be ready and waiting to help them.”

The conference will feature four educational tracks that address common hurdles that entrepreneurs often encounter. Attendees can choose from business, regulatory, food or implementation topics such as food labeling, online marketing, business planning, local zoning considerations, and consumer health and wellness trends.

“We’ve planned a great range of educational sessions with dynamic speakers,” Birbeck said. “Michigan State University researchers, Michigan Department of Agriculture regulators and representatives from county economic development corporations are just some of our presenters.”

Eric Villagas, award-winning chef and host of the PBS television show “Fork in the Road,” is the conference keynote speaker. Villagas will discuss local food, from the consumer trend to growing commercial business interest.

“Eric coined the phrase ‘think global but buy and eat local,’ which really represents the opportunities out there for emerging Michigan entrepreneurs,” Birbeck said. “Consumers want to buy more local food, while, at the same time, there are so many opportunities for new products in the global marketplace.”

The conference will also offer an afternoon marketplace trade show. More than 60 organizations will display their products and offer information and counseling, including Product Center clients, business consultants, regulatory officials, and food and farming groups.

“We want people to leave the conference packed with practical knowledge, industry resources and the confidence to put them to use,” Birbeck said. “Our current clients will get a chance to show and sell their products and inspire the next generation of Michigan food, natural resource and bioeconomy entrepreneurs.”

More information and conference registration are available at Conference registration costs $60 and includes breakfast, lunch, educational sessions and parking at the Lansing Center.

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