The business of food

Entrepreneurship program grads share their creations and pitches

Sandra Larson | 11/22/2017, 10:29 a.m.
First piloted in Fall 2016, Food Biz 101 is an accelerator specially designed to address the nuts and bolts of ...
Kenya Madry of Scrumptious Food Truck dishes up a sample plate. Photo by Sandra Larson

In addition to Ngachoko and Forde, those pitching were Kenya Madry of Scrumptious Food Truck; April Teixeira of Corny Bread Company; Margarita Carreto of Mr. Tamole, Vincent Li of Eatable Popcorn, Joe Spagnuolo of Cini’s; and Faith Taylor of Confections by faith. Kamaal Jarrett of Hillside Harvest was not at the event, but gave his pitch via video.

The judges asked questions to determine how carefully the would-be entrepreneurs had thought about what their upfront costs would be, how much they would have to sell to stay afloat and what they would have to do to scale up from a farmer’s market table to getting their product onto the shelves of major grocery stores.

Some of the speakers couldn’t hide their nervousness, while others spoke with aplomb, but all showed pride in their culinary creations and a passion to be in the business of sharing their food traditions or inventions with the wider world.

And the winners are

In the end, special honors and cash awards went to three businesses.

In first place was Cini’s, owned by Joe Spagnuolo of the North End. Spagnuolo dreamed up his idea of selling mini-arancini, or Italian rice balls, while in prison for a marijuana conviction and missing his Italian grandmother’s home-cooked food. Cini’s has already been accepted into CommonWealth Kitchen’s roster of businesses operating out of its Dorchester kitchen facility.

Tied for second place were Mr. Tamole, a mother-son tamale and mole venture pitched by Mexican-born Margarita Carreto, and Eatable Popcorn, the snack Vincent Li developed by combining two of his favorite things: popcorn and whiskey.

Additional support for Food Biz 101 comes from the Boston Impact Initiative and Goodwin LLP, whose attorneys are among the industry experts that assisted the entrepreneurs during the program. The food sampling and pitch competition was held at Goodwin’s law office building at 100 Northern Ave.