Food maker invests $500K in accelerator kitchen


Courtesy Battle Creek Unlimited

A food maker has signed an “institutional partnership” to form an accelerator kitchen in the region.

Battle Creek-based Kellogg Company said it has formed a partnership with Battle Creek Unlimited to help launch the Southwest Michigan Accelerator Kitchen, a facility that is proposed for downtown Battle Creek’s Tiger Room, 30 W. Van Buren St.

Kellogg is contributing a gift of $500,000 to the project via the Kellogg Company employees’ 25-year fund — $250,000 of which was pledged to support the project in December 2016. An additional $250,000 will be provided when funding for phase one of the project is secured, for a $500,000 total gift.

The company also will contribute employees’ volunteer technical expertise to support the accelerator kitchen.

“(W.K. Kellogg’s) legacy lives on today across the globe more than a century later, and nowhere is that legacy more prevalent than right here in our hometown of Battle Creek. We are a proud member of the community, a responsible corporate citizen and an active part of the local food ecosystem,” said Kris Bahner, senior vice president, global corporate affairs for Kellogg.

Accelerator kitchen details

The accelerator is meant to nurture the growing small food business sector in West Michigan, serving graduates of incubator kitchens with accelerator services to grow past the startup stage.

Its services will include access to capital; culinary design and food manufacturing/safety expertise; marketing support; accounting and legal services; and other services to help startups grow and create jobs.

Kellogg contributions

In addition to its financial support, Kellogg will lend technical support via employees volunteering in the following capacities:

  • Providing subject matter expertise and support to accelerator participants — both in the form of live demonstrations in the company’s new Kellogg Center for Innovation (food safety, culinary food design and prep, sensory testing, regulatory guidance) and onsite at the accelerator as experts-in-residence with regular programming
  • Exploring small-scale manufacturing support to accelerator participants via Kellogg’s pilot plant at the W.K. Kellogg Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Battle Creek
  • Serving on the accelerator’s board of directors

Joe Sobieralski, president and CEO, Battle Creek Unlimited, said the “sheer magnitude” of food knowledge … and resources” at Kellogg will be of great importance to supporting the city as a growing “food entrepreneurship hub.”

“Battle Creek Unlimited is excited to collaborate with Kellogg, their employees and resources at the W.K. Kellogg Institute for Food and Nutrition Research, along with the new Kellogg Center for Innovation, to grow and expand Battle Creek’s food ecosystem,” he said.

BCU is currently seeking grant funding for building renovations.

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