The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Food Processing Center offers a nationally recognized and unique program to help potential entrepreneurs start a food business.
Marcia Vodehnal of Burwell recently completed the Food Entrepreneur Assistance Program and started Country Neighbor Foods. Her first product, Country Sweet Onion Dressing, can be found in more than 100 Nebraska stores.
"The University of Nebraska Food Processing Center gave me the information and tools to make my product a reality. They answered all my questions and guided me through any obstacles I might have had, although there were hardly any," Vodehnal says.
The program begins with a one-day "Recipe to Reality" seminar. The seminar explores the key issues in deciding to start a food business. Discussion includes business planning, labeling, product development and food safety, promotion, costs and pricing and many more topics.
"The seminar helps participants understand the basics of starting a food company including the challenges they will need to overcome," says Jill Gifford, manager of the program. "This seminar allows attendees to understand and determine if starting a food business is the right choice for their situation."
Following the seminar, participants can choose to enter "Product to Profit." This second phase of the program provides entrepreneurs with confidential and individualized assistance in starting their own food business and bringing their product idea to the market.
"Recipe to Reality" seminars are offered throughout the year. The seminar will be offered this summer on June 3 and Aug. 19.
Pre-registration is required. To register for an upcoming seminar or to receive an information packet, contact Gifford at: Food Processing Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 143 Filley Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583-0928; phone 402-472-2819 or e-mail her at [email protected]. You can learn more at www.fpc.unl.edu.