Tag Archives: startup

More from Launching a Food Business on a Lean Budget Event

Here’s an excerpt from the opening remarks made by Alex Ginsberg, Founder of Lean Food Startup, at last week’s inaugural Lean Food Startup event hosted by Union Seminary:

First, some introductions are in order about who has helped organize this event:

Columbia Food Lab is a new group out of the business school dedicated to making Columbia the top school for food entrepreneurship, help students launch food businesses. Make sure to keep an eye out for our conference April 12, here at Union Seminary. We have early bird tickets available in the back after the panel.

Lean Food Startup NYC is a group on meetup.com that you should go join. We are seeking to apply concepts from the Lean Startup movement in the tech world to the food world.

The Columbia Union-Kitchen is a joint venture between the Food Lab and Union Theological Seminary to create a kitchen space open for local entrepreneurs to develop and produce their products without investing in their own commercial space.
And now, on to the main course of the evening. We’re all here because we’re interested in helping increase the success rate of aspiring food entrepreneurs.

The Lean Startup movement has its roots in the tech world, where it advances practices that get startups to focus on only those actions that add value to customers, so that entrepreneurs don’t spend precious time and money building something that nobody really wants.

Constantly improve your understanding of what customers want through frequent experimentation is at the heart of how lean practices can help entrepreneurs eliminate waste. A key component is to make tweaks to your product, business model, sales pitch, marketing, and other business operations based on measurable feedback. Instead of building the perfect, all-encompassing product right away, lean advocates building the minimum viable version that can test the riskiest parts of your idea and business model.

One of the big premises of the Lean startup movement is that it’s easier and cheaper to experiment, learn and start up a company in the tech space than ever before. While much of the Lean philosophies seem to be applicable to food, it is unclear whether the premise that experimentation, learning and starting up is cheap and easy applies to the food industry.

I would argue that new business models such as food trucks and pop-ups, and resources such as incubator kitchens are making learning cheaper. But, do these lead to sustainable businesses? This panel (and the Lean Food Startup as a whole) is going to address some of these topics and this question as a whole.

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